1) The movie Watchmen follows the last remaining members of an outlawed group of superheroes, who called themselves the Watchmen. Set in the dystopian 1980s following Americas victory in Vietnam, the film analyzes the threat of nuclear holocaust through the lens of a hyper-intensified cold war. Questions about civic duty, utilitarianism, and humanities seeming desire to kill itself are all raised through the different superheroes. The comedian, for example, believes humans are just animals, and are on the brink of killing each other – in the vein of the philosopher Hobbes. The character Rorschach believes in strict virtues in the vein of Kant’s categorical imperatives.


2) The graphic novel Watchmen, written by Daniel Snyder, is considered one of the greatest novels – not just graphic novels – of all time (at least according to Time magazine). It receives this designation because of its sprawling and complex story, interweaving philosophy, politics, and personal existence with historical events. Snyder’s super heroes serve as metaphors of the different views of humanity, and the conclusion of the story is hardly a happy ending – the conclusion is a worst case scenario for many, while others believe it was a necessary evil.




– The movie was hailed for its closeness to the visual style of the graphic novel. Here is the website dealing with the photographic style of the movie.


– The films visual style is extremely striking, and Snyder is a master of creating iconographic scenes. This website ran a series where people photoshopped various shots from the movie to make them look ridiculous, in stark contrast of the movie’s dark themes.


–  A story that ran before Watchmen opened. The story refers to how many fans of the novel are angry at the choice of Snyder to direct the film, who at the time had just released 300. The site argues that it could be worse, and imagined what Watchmen might look like if other famous directors got their hands on it. Again, the visual style of the movie is continually referenced, showing just how polarizing the visual style of a movie can be.


4) In the film, the Comedian says repeatedly: “It’s a joke!” How is this an expression of the Comedian’s personality? How is this an expression of nihilism?

– When you take nothing seriously, you can’t be hurt, and that seems to be how the Comedian operates. Anytime something should be emotionally traumatic, the comedian is able to laugh it off with his excuse that everything is a joke. We see that the comedian took this view seriously for a while, when he confesses to his former arch nemesis that he was wrong in the end. It’s an expression of nihlism in that nihlism believes in nothing, and to call life a joke is to say that life and humanity stands for nothing other than punchline, at the expense of people who care, who think it isn’t a joke.