The always-insightful George Dvorsky has an interesting review of Watchmen over at Sentient Developments. Though I disagree with his assessment that the film is “brave” or “great” (the qualities he lauds are native to the graphic novel and are, at best, hamfistedly exploited in the movie), Dvorsky does identify a subtext I’ve not encountered in any other Watchmen analysis.
In his examination of Dr. Manhattan‘s curious powers and psychology, Dvorsky suggests that the Blue-Donged One exhibits autistic qualities (again, these character traits are not unique to the adaptation, and can likely be gleaned from the GN). Still, it’s an interesting take:
At one point in the film, Manhattan escapes to Mars so that he can avoid human contact. He does so because he finds personal interaction with humans annoying and a distraction. This is a god who would rather retreat into himself, preferring solitude on Mars where he can ruminate on existence and construct masterful structures.
Eventually Laurie Jupiter convinces Manhattan to come back to Earth and rescue humanity from nuclear armageddon — but it’s on account of an improbable existential quirk that he changes his mind — the closest he can come to actually caring.
[As an aside, and looking as his inability to empathize and relate to other people, Doctor Manhattan can also be seen as an ‘autistic superhero.’ He is very much locked-in to his inner life, he has a fascination with the minutiae of all that is around him, and he is the beneficiary of prodigious talents. Sounds very autistic to me.]
Now I’m wondering if that’s why my wife — who hasn’t read the GN but does live with me — found the character to be the most compelling/sympathetic. (Of course, there is the big blue dong.) I might do some poking around later to see if I can find any other analysis of the book or movie that supports this theory. But after that, I’m frickin’ done. (Well, I might finish this Slate article about Watchmen FAIL).
Oh, and here’s something completely unrelated — do any of you know of a good nonfiction overview of Imperialist Russia?