I had the pleasure of experiencing Watchmen for the first time last night (I know, only seven years late) and I was truly captivated. I'm not a huge comic buff, therefore I had no idea about this universe until watching the film. I can't believe how much detail Zack Snyder managed to pump into a 163-minute runtime! However, I'd be so invested in a series of solo films for each (or most) of the characters within Watchmen. Each character had depth and a dark but necessary reason for their involvement in fighting crime, and I'd love for Snyder (or anyone else willing to do the deed) to explore this further!
For any of you who's wondering: "What the flipping heck is Watchmen?" the film is an American epic neo-noir superhero film which is based off the 1986–87 DC Comics series of the same name by Alan Moore (The Killing Joke) and Dave Gibbons (World's Finest: Superman/Batman). Set in the alternate history of the year 1985 at the height of the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union, the film is a satirical look at the superhero world, and includes some pretty dark moments sprinkled with classic superhero humor. When one of their own is murdered, the semi-retired superhero gang is forced to investigate the mysterious goings-on in America. Snyder even revealed that his inspiration for his vision of the DCEU stems from The Watchmen.
Solo Films Needed ASAP
Each character carried a different personality within the film, and all of them together made for a great spectacle. However, I'd like to see more about the individual characters, and that is where solo films shine! With Snyder's artistic, post-modern style used in Watchmen, he could successfully carry across a number of solo films and I know I'd be very interested. I'll take a closer look at why we need more from my favorite characters in the film.
Perhaps my favorite character in the whole film, Rorschach (Jackie Earl Haley) is an antihero who wears a piece of cloth over his face with moving ink blot images upon it — similar to a real Rorschach test they use in therapy. Rorschach has such an undiscovered history in the comics that was only tapped into in the film, and a solo Rorschach movie could allow for a deep exploration on why he identifies his mask as his face, as he shouts at the police officers to "give [him his] face back" when they confiscate his cloth mask. Even though he's so so cool, he does have a hard to pronounce name. I'm pretty sure I found myself changing his name every time I tried to pronounce it: Rorsnitch? Rashnatch? Wrist watch?!
The films expands on a small part of Rorschach's past — highlighting his "whore" mother and his need to hurt others (especially bullies). But after doing extensive research (I am very invested in this), the film only scrapes the surface of such a complex character. I want to know more about why he chose to become an ink blot test, why he's so good at fighting and why he was so willing to give up his life at the end of the film?! We need to delve further into Rorschach's past in the cinematic universe!
Rorschach keeps a real and unsatisfied view of humanity, as in the comics he witnessed the rape and torture of a girl. He saw how no one around tried to call the police and that's when he learned what people were behind all the evasions and self-deception. He used an old piece of women's fabric to create his mask as he claimed it was the only face that he "...could bear to look at in the mirror."
Another of my favorites, Doctor Manhattan (Billy Crudup/ Jaryd Heidrick) has a very rich history, which was respectively approached in the film. Snyder allowed Manhattan to delve into a long monologue, explaining his situation while also tapping into a philosophical mindset. The Wiki page for the character of Jon Osterman explains more about the life of Osterman before the emergence of Doctor Manhattan:
When the US drops the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Jon is 16. His father, confronted with the undeniable facts of the theory of relativity, declares his profession outdated and throws his son's watch-making parts out the windows, urging him to instead pursue a career studying nuclear physics. The incident represents the turning point in Jon's potential future from watchmaker to nuclear physicist and foreshadows Doctor Manhattan's 'exterior' perception of time as predetermined and all things within it as so determined, including Doctor Manhattan's own reactions and emotions.
While at work, as a nuclear physicist, Jon gets locked in the experimenting room while returning to find his watch. Due to the accident involving a nuclear experiment, Dr. Osterman was taken outside the physical realm and returned with god-like powers including: superhuman strength, telekinesis, the ability to teleport himself (or others) over multiverse distances, control over matter at a subatomic level and near total clairvoyance. This made Doctor Manhattan OP as hell, and also the main protagonist in the film as he is the blame for all the nuclear anxieties within the US at this time period. He is also framed, and blamed for transferring cancer to his ex wife and others.
Now, I could sit and listen to his voice for hours on end. I could tape his monologue in the film and use it to send me into a sweet slumber. We could end wars, breed kittens, make rainbows and bake cookies just using his voice. He's the DC version of Brian Cox and a 2-hour-long solo film would be extraordinary! Here's a snippet of Doctor Manhattan's beautiful wisdom and soothing voice:
Edward Blake a.k.a. The Comedian
The Comedian (Jeffery Dean Morgan) was the character which was killed off at the very start of the film. The rest of his appearances are presented through flashbacks into the Watchmen past. Now, Blake is an interesting character as he follows a similar style to the Punisher, well, if the Punisher killed innocent people for the laugh of it, that is. That's correct, The Comedian was a wild card who couldn't be tamed, not even by sweet-talking Doctor Manhattan. The Comedian had trouble restricting who he murdered, raped, abused. You get the idea.
However, Blake isn't all that bad. A flashback shows Blake entering Moloch's (his former nemesis) apartment, but not to murder, pillage and rape. An intoxicated Blake sits down and begins to sob, explaining how everything in life is a joke. He has a case of the sad clown syndrome, similar to the Joker (in a sense) but with a cynical/real mindset. This is the Blake I'd like a film about, the Blake behind the Comedian mask.
Back in 2015, it was rumored that Snyder would be making Watchmen into a television series (I'd watch the hell out of that), however no more developments have been made on this. An article from Variety explains the initial plans:
HBO is in early talks with Zack Snyder to develop a 'Watchmen' television series, based on the superhero comic book series from DC Comics, Variety has confirmed with the network.
Perhaps a mini series would work well with my lust for solo films of the best characters from Watchmen. I feel that Watchmen is hugely underrated (based on the fact that I'd never heard of it before), and more should appreciate the complex characters and satirical exploration of the superhero world.