Movie Review: Watchmen Morality Review

Watchmen Movie Review


Watchmen Movie Review
Watchmen Movie Review



Length: 2hr 43Min
Director: Zack Snyder
Producer: Warner Bros, Paramound Pictures, Legendary Pictures
Featuring: Jeffrey Dean Morgan (Comedian), Jackie Earle Haley (Rorschach) Malin Akerman (Silk Sceptre), Carla Gugino, Patrick Wilson (Nite Owl), Matthew Goode (Ozymandias), Billy Crudup (Dr. Manhattan)
Story: Based on a Novel. In an alternate world based around 1985, Richard Nixon is president and the Cold War continues. A crime fighter named “The Comedian”, is killed when thrown off a building. Other fellow crime fighters rise to find his killer. The main characters are Rorschach, Dr. Manhattan, Nite Owl, Silk Spectre II and Ozymandias.

(Disclaimer: I have not watched this movie, this is just a collection of reviews from several websites quotes of reviewers.)

Watchmen came out March 6, 2009 in over 3,500 theaters. Another exciting comic book adaptation? State of the art CGI and faithful to original comic! Sounds exciting? Before you jump in with the family, here is the quick morality summary.

The Quick Movie Morality Review

SEX: Lots of sex scenes. One lasting over 3 minutes. Opening violent rape scene. Does not add to the movie plot or storyline.
NUDITY: Full nudity of man (though he is blue and glowing). Images of breasts and buttocks. Content does not add to the story at all, it’s just there.
VIOLENCE: Gratuitous and Graphic gore and violence. Lots of violence. Creative dismembering (metal grinder). Can become very disgusting.
POOR ROLE MODELS: Flawed heroes – sociopaths, fetishist, bigots, rapists, murderers. They smoke, drink, swear nonstop.

Quotes from reviewers:

“To say violence, gore and sex is ‘graphic’ is an understatement of HUGE proportions. The previews you see on tv are not even close to showing what this movie is really like. Parents, please take my advice and do not take your children to this movie. It is a VERY adult movie and not in any way a child’s comic book super hero movie. While you’re at it, you may want to think twice about seeing it yourself.”

“It should have an NC-17 Rating”

“This is the strongest R rated movie I’ve ever seen… I don’t need to actually see someone getting hacked in the head repeatedly with a clever… inmate get both his arms cut off with a metal grinder”

“Not only is it extremely violent, graphic and horrific in its display of violence it is also very strongly sexually explicit! This movies deserves a rating of ‘MA’ for Mature Audience.”

“The violence in this movie is, indeed, over the top, and I rarely ever say that. Dr. Manhattan has supernatural powers that basically allow him to explode people, and you’ll see that in detail. By detail, I mean blood and guts sticking to the ceiling afterwards. There’s a near rape scene which is interrupted before the sex starts, but goes on long enough that the woman is slammed onto the ground, a pool table, punched several times, and at the end is quite bloody.”

Where has the world come to?
These review quotes below are upsetting to me. They really show how much media violence, sex has become more acceptable and infused into our culture. We now believe we are more than capable of handling the media and what the measuring line of what is acceptable and unacceptable has degraded significantly. We say “save the kids” but deem movies such as these “watchable” by adults.

“I was expecting it to be really dirty compared to what people are saying. Probably 2 min scene of sex…. I’ve seen a lot of movies with sex scenes it seemed the same as those. The blue guys penis is actually showing for about a total of 30 secs. Just do what I did and don’t look at it”

“When the DVD comes out, you can easily fast forward the sex and foul language parts and not miss the story, so I would probably wait for the DVD, which I’ll probably buy being a fan now of the Watchmen”

Excerpt from Review Site discussing the theme of “power” in Watchmen.

Violence as an expression of power is central to the understanding of the movie and the characters. In an interview, Alan Moore stated, “And yes, Watchmen came to be about power. About power and about the idea of the superman manifest within society.” The idea of a Nitzschean “superman” is perfect for the conception of a superhero. Similarly, power and the “superman” is what “The Dark Knight” is about as well. In that film, power is wielded by criminal gangs, by the police, by Batman, and by the Joker. Each of them has a different ethic in their use of violence. The police are deontological, placing the law above all other considerations. The criminal gangs and corrupt police officers are utilitarians: whatever action benefits them the most is the best action. Batman operates on virtue theory: the action must be “right” because it is intrinsically the right thing to do, whether it is legal (deontological) in the eyes of the law or beneficial (utilitarian) to him doesn’t matter. The Joker is non-ethical. He is the supreme nihilist and doesn’t even recognize a value system with “good” or “bad” as descriptors. Seen from this perspective, societal conflict is a conflict of value systems and force.

“Watchmen” is similar to “The Dark Knight” in that way. There are power constituencies (the military, the police, the heroes, the Russians, etc.), all of whom use force in accordance with their ethics. Moore stated in another interview, “We tried to set up four or five radically opposing ways of seeing the world and let the readers figure it out for themselves; let them make a moral decision for once in their miserable lives!” It is important to know that Moore is a self-proclaimed anarchist. Anarchism as a system of thought is a radical left ideology which is anti-authoritarian. This is why in Moore’s “V for Vendetta” and in “Watchmen” there are characters who wish to recreate a new order by first destroying an existing order, as in the prison riot. Toward that end, Moore gives us moral “choices” on the philosophical use of violence.

Those moral choices are represented by the kind of “hero” we identify with. Rorschach is described as a psychopath, but in fact he is the movie’s legalist, the deontologist who adheres ruthlessly to the strict letter of the law. The Comedian is perhaps a hedonist, doing only that which gives him pleasure, though it may not be “good” for him. Nite Owl, like his doppelganger, Batman, is an aretaic; he wants to do the right thing in any given situation, as does Silk Specter, although that sometimes means crossing the law. Ozymandias is a utilitarian, willing to sacrifice some to save many. And Dr. Manhattan is the ultimate existential materialist: he exists in Time, not Space, and sees life itself as matter. At one point, he argues that a dead body has the same amount of matter as the living one, and he speculates what benefit life is to the universe.

Full Article at Christian Spotlight.

Clean Cut Media Movie Review Purpose

Hope you find this post useful. This post is not intended to review how good the movie is or how great the plot is. As a matter of fact I hear the CGI is amazing and it is a truly a work of art. But here in Clean Cut Media, our movie reviews are more to check on the the moral ethics within the movie and how it goes about influencing and impacting our culture and the minds of every viewer. Hopefully it has been helpful in gaining a better understanding on what the movie entails.

If you have seen it or know of any information about the Watchmen, please comment below!

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  1. Hi

    I appreciate your article and the purpose of your website. I am a Christian and appreciate those who are looking out for people’s eyes and ears. I do, however, want to take a moment to correct some misinformation you’ve been given. I have read the actual comic book series and seen the movie. I happen to be a professional filmmaker and have had to wrestle with these conversations about morality and the movies countless times. As a result of how I make my living, I have a responsibility to pay attention to what is happening out there and keep in touch with trends. I also happen to love great film making and can recognize the hallmarks of it a bit more readily than many people of faith because I speak the language and understand the pathos. Undoubtedly, my stomach is much stronger and my ability to withstand immoral content is vastly more than yours. I do not expect you or anyone else to agree with or adhere to my moral standards in regards to what I watch or listen to. That is between me and God. I would like to comment though. Having read the comic, I can say that the source material also included the nudity and the abbreviated rape scene. I would disagree with people who would say that these two are unnecessary to tell the story. While rape is bloody, uncomfortable and a purely evil act, it happens all too frequently in our world and too often we would turn a blind eye to that fact. Perhaps we might (very uncomfortably) find something of ourselves in the characters involved and that forces us to ponder not only the evil at hand, but our own morality. Remember that Christ said “even if you look on a woman to lust after, you have committed adultery in your heart” (my paraphrase. As for Dr. Manhattans nudity, it made me uncomfortable for sure, but then I realized why – do you recall how God called out for Adam in the garden and Adam said “I Hid and was ashamed because I was naked” and what was God’s response? He said: “who told you you were naked?” Think about this. The character in the movie is supposed to be basically omniscient. Why would he care if he wore anything? that is not his natural state. Remember – we are talking about people telling a story here – filmmakers and producers who are not Christians and probably have very little moral fabric in general but they do posses a tremendous sense of how to tell a story and present it artistically. That is their job. They are also paid to find ways of attracting publicity for the movie and what better method than to p-ss off a bunch of moralist Christians right? It’s guaranteed publicity and it never makes the movie people look bad – it just makes Christians seem backwards, prudish and most of all – culturally clueless. (which let’s face it, a lot are)

    I will, however, agree with one point. The three minute sex scene in the middle of the film was depreciated in the comic but completely unnecessary for the film. They could have easily shoehorned this unabashedly soft porn materiel into a directors cut. Which brings me to my point – They could easily done the film as a PG 13 and gained a much wider audience. Although they were faithful to the comic book, they could have saved all the sexual grittiness for an expanded directors cut and given general movie going fans (among them the tens of thousands of kids and teenagers who will obviously end up seeing this) a chance to enjoy the story such as it is without having to worry about getting bombarded by messages they don’t want to/need to/shouldn’t see. Of course, these are gray lines and maybe one of these producers would argue that I am censoring art. On the contrary I would say – I am allowing art to be seen by a great many more people. Although who am I kidding? sex sells. We all know this. It’s just a shame. It would be nice if a few more people in Hollywood had a moral bone in their body.

    My take: I wish they would have saved the sex scenes for the directors cut. Otherwise, it’s a work of art and a film that’s about something. I can agree or disagree with it’s general worldview(s) but I cannot dismiss the fact that it deals with a lot of issues. I am in the process of writing an article on my blog about the movie, which you can find here. I borrowed from myself a little here, as you will see. (I wrote this response and liked it so I used some of it in my article)

    its an amazing movie in some ways. I love the character Rorschach. He is the one most Christians would ultimately relate to. He cares about morality at all costs. Unfortunately, life is not that simple.

    At least not since the garden.


  2. Hey Scott,

    I appreciate the thoughtful and long response.
    I tried to reciprocate on your on your blog but it seems like it isn’t setup for public commenting. My guess is that it wasn’t intentional…

    Below is most of what I would have posted.

    I do want to clarify that the content of the post above was mainly snapshots and quotes of the type of discussion and reviews going on around the web. I was merely hoping to bring more awareness of the heavy content of the movie as most viewers (as they are unfamiliar with watchmen), seem to be going with their families thinking it’s just another superhero movie like spiderman and batman, only to be horrified at what they (and their children) see. There is a general lack of awareness about the movie.

    Though i do not work in hollywood (though I certainly wish I did!), I do a lot of local videos work for different occasions and I definitely appreciate the art and beauty of many movies despite the content. I do appreciate it when movies show hard truths about life without sugarcoating the details however I do believe that lot of the messages of movies can be done in much more classy and cleaner way (as I am sure you would agree). I too am upset hollywood is so focused on the money and what “sells” that they don’t think about the type of impact they are having in our society. I also am a firm believer that images and messages from mainstream media has a very strong effect on our worldview, no matter how firm or strong people may feel. I think it is human nature to underestimate our capacity to sin and be influenced by external things. Having said that I agree that some people are able to handle more than others, I just prefer to stay on the safe side.

    Again I appreciate your thoughts and glad to get a viewpoint from someone who works in the field. Come comment again!

  3. My wife and I went to see Watchmen at the theater for our anniversary. We had seen the movie previews on TV and were excitedly expecting something like The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. We had never read or knew anything of the Watchmen from 15 years ago. We seen several families with children as young as ten years of age in the theater watching this movie. I, too, was uncomfortably shocked by the rape scene, the profanity, the violence, the nudity, the graphic sex and absolute degrading value of human life in general. I will admit that rape, profanity, sex, etc. exists in the world today, but that doesn’t mean that I condone it in the manner which this movie does. I recall that the Lord told us that we should be in the world but not part of it. I am not ashamed of my body, perhaps mildly embarrassed, but I don’t go to my child’s parent/teacher conference in my birthday suit! It’s difficult to “look elsewhere” in a big-screen theater when there is 1000-foot-tall naked blue man with his groin centered in the shot. I could accept one or two brief glimpses, but continuously throughout the movie? What was the point in that? Is this movie a portrayal of what the world is coming to? Several people in the audience were very dissatisfied with the movie, including my wife and I. My wife called it “soft porn.” At one point, toward the end of the movie, the actor states “It never ends….” and a man two seats behind me yelled “Like this movie!” Nearly three hours of unending senselessness. I was seriously considering walking out half way through the movie. It was nothing at all like the previews. I’m glad that we didn’t take our two teenagers to see it. I don’t recommend the movie to others. If you do see it, take this advantage that we didn’t get: BE FOREWARNED!

    1. Hey Richard,

      Thanks for sharing your experience!

      I think it helps really validate my observations that lot of families are going to this movie only to be quite shocked at what they see. The trailers and marketing only highlights the intense action making the movie seem like a spectacular superhero action film in the lines of Xmen or Spiderman. The intense violence and constant nudity? Who knew? Not the parents who are taking their children and teens apparently.

      Yes many will say it is the responsibilities of the parents to do some research on the film! But lets not forget also the people who insert such things into the film so it “sells” and the careful way it is marketed.

      Thanks for your contribution!

      Media Influence

  4. Probably very late to the party, but I would like to point out that the big blue man’s big blue groin, as silly as it sounds, was very important. It was a metaphor for his lack of humanity, his distance from what made him human. If they had removed it a layer of characterization would have been lost. Though in the comic it was more like a greek statue where in the movie I think the actor might have included a little padding.

    As for the poor role models statement, I think you might have missed the point. Watchmen is a deconstruction of super heroes and hero worship, that they are in reality flawed. That they are humans, not ubermensch. While the sex scene was overdone, its existence was necessary as the solidification of Nite Owl II and Silk Spectre’s relationship, of the end of her relationship with Manhattan and his ultimate fate.

    The almost rape scene was also necessary, both to display the inhumanity of the Comedian (And a very important part of his character is just how monstrous he really is) as well as, in a round about way, Manhattan’s motivations towards the end of the movie.

    I think the worst thing this film did is it didn’t quite properly display the important message of Watchmen. The elevation of the nuclear war plot from background to secondary plot was probably partly responsible for this. The heroes in Watchmen aren’t heroic. They’re not meant to be. They’re a deconstruction of common Super Hero archetypes, the all powerful super man, the gruff private investigator, the hero following in the family business, the rich boy living his dreams, the super genius, the super agent, and how these people would interact with the world if they were really humans and not just archetypes, how they would react to dealing with the stress of some of the things they have to deal with in their life (Rorschach and the Comedian in particular).

    Though it is good that you are reminding people that this isn’t a child’s movies. There’s a lot of people who get the impression comic books are all sound effects and Superman beating up those wacky nazis, and a lot of people who aren’t aware that comic books/graphic novels/whatever you want to call them are a medium. Not a genre.

    To Scott, I think maybe you should reread the comics. Rorschach wouldn’t be some one Christians could relate to. Rorschach sees the world as empty, meaningless, a canvas which to express his own moral system. If anything Rorschach is much like Manhattan in that both of something of a “A God Am I” type thinking, just Rorschach’s mentality is heavily based on his absolute moral system. Though again, the movie is a bit at fault here in that they don’t go in depth with just how utterly broken Rorschach is, such as the scene where he nearly kills a woman in front of her kids for insulting him.

    Again, while it’s good some one is pointing out that Watchmen isn’t a bring the family super hero action romp fun yay heroes win type movie, but I think you might be a little confused about the purpose of the story. That me be the fault of the director and less the story itself, however.

  5. Just wanted to mention that my 20 yr old daughter and 17 yr old son and his girlfriend walked out of this movie; came home and told me how despicable it was. They put it out on facebook so that other kids wouldn’t go to see it. I don’t care about artistic license or the movie business purposes… our world doesn’t need this crap. Is this what we want to fill the minds of our children and youth with. come on! Angered mother.

    1. Hey Rhoda,

      Wow. Ronda, you should be proud of your kids willing to walk out of a movie theater on their own initiative because they thought the content was bad. I sure would be! Very hard to find anyone, let alone younger teens willing to do such a thing. Hopefully this would be a great learning experience for them to do some research before going to watch a film.

      Thanks for sharing!

      Media Influence

  6. Honestly, yes, we should want our children to learn these stories. Perhaps not quite so harshly if they’re not yet adults, but these are stories people MUST learn. These are stories not promoting, but condemning these activities. These are in essence morality stories, critiquing the prevalence of hero worship when in fact they are humans. They are people. People have flaws, we cannot ignore them nor pretend they are not human. It is a lesson people must be taught so they are wary, for some very vile men rise on hero worship.

    It is a grave mistake to assume that which displays violence also condones it. 1984 and Brave New World do not condone the all controlling, empty societies depicted in them. Even the bible describes some very horrible acts. With Sodom and Gomorrah we are given accounts of their crimes, but in no way does it condone what is going on there. Sometimes you must show evil so that you can point it out proper and say “No. This is wrong. This is not the way we should act, and this is not what we should strive for.”

    And yes, it does end on a very dark note. And it should, because it must be pointed out what happens when we try and place these kinds of people, or any one at all, above the rest of humanity.

  7. I saw Watchmen and loved it. I am 15 years old. True that there was a sex scene and there was a lot of very graphic violence. I found the violence a bit shocking but I think it would be worse to see it and be unaffected. And let’s face it, a 2 minute sex scene isn’t the worst thing to happen to the world…

    It’s really simple,

    if you have a mature teenager, sure, let them see the movie if they want to, but don’t be irresponsible and take your young children to see this. It’s rated R for a reason and I hate to hear people complain about how bad a movie was, when it’s really the parent’s fault for not looking into it before deciding to let their kids see an R rated movie.

  8. why is “rape” listed in the sex category.

    a rape is an act of violence. to imply that consensual sex is in any way related to rape in terms of morality is disturbing. segments displaying acts of willing sex should not be compared to segments featuring violence, be the violence bloody gunshots wounds or sexual assaults.

    please update the category treatments and thanks for the information!


  9. Look i see the point you are all tyring to make. The fact that this movies is not for the whole family should have been realized with its
    R rating. If the film’s violent and sexual images offended you, perhaps you should stick to film with a closer to G rating. I trully wish that you could see the beauty behind the details and complex emotions of each character. it annoys me to see that religion and the bible are constantly brought up in conversations like this…you should make decions based on your own moral standings and obviously you didn’t to that if you wen to a movie whose description clearly stated it depicted sex and violence.

  10. i see people saying how they were shocked and appalled , and how people were taking there children to go see this movie, simply because it has super heroes in it.

    why are you shocked, first off the movie has an R rating, that shouldve given it away, or at least let people know 10 year old children shouldn’t be viewing the film. if the mpaa said its R , i think they had good reason, i think its the a——- who took his under age child to see an r rated movies fault. not only does each r rating say its restricted, but it also states whats in the movie before you even get to the theater, on the commercials and teasers at the bottom, if you couldn’t see it there you could have got the info at the box office, or checked it on line.

    when i see an r rating i have certain expectancies of the film. i expect blood, i expect adult situations, and/or i expect sex….period

  11. I do beleive that the violence and such in the film were definitely way out of proportions. The realism is nice, but they could have toned it down just a bit. I dont think that the sexual scenes were wrong per say, but they could have been edited or just left out all together. The fact that they were willing to put out what they did allows me to applaud them, and they did stay very close to the original comics which were definitely not clean and nice.

  12. I think what you published made a lot of sense.

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    1. thanks for your thoughtful reply.
      i agree that a catchier title would help.
      but also keep in mind that for a smaller site like ours, if they don’t see the title to begin with they can’t find us. At the time of the writing of this article we wanted to focus more on just using the right keywords so we can start showing up in the search engines 🙂 but definitely agree with you.

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