Art, the Visual, and Culture


Art,the Visual, and Culture

In 2009,Watchmen the film was released based on Dave Gibson and Alan Moore’snovel. The film was directed by Zack Snyder and the screen shotwritten by Alex Tse and David Hayter. When contents associated withsuper heroes are watched, there is one observable featured that isagreed upon power. Regardless of the nature of power and itscharacteristics or contemplation on the real nature of power, superheroes believe on vague terminology of power. These rules over thelives of innocent individuals while conscientiousness of individualrepresent true universalized norms of power. This is what Zack Snyderattempted in the “Watchmen”. The purpose of the paper thereforeis to analyze how the film creators structure the environment inwhich the characters exist and interact. In addition, the paperexamines the kind of environment that the characters exist andinteract.

Taking otherfilms such as “The Dark Knight” and “Iron Man,” for example,both engages in the issues of corruption and power. It also side withtheir ultimate vigilante protagonists. These movies tell us thatsuperheroes are a good thing. However, “Watchmen” is admirablyfaithful to its material sources, while creating a differentconcluding sense. The film’s costumed crusaders are powerless atbest, especially when it determines the film’s nature. They arealso at worst making their environment a dangerous place to live in.If it is true what Lord Acton once said that “power corrupts andabsolute powers corrupt absolutely,” (Althusser, 2014), thensuper-humans with unaccounted near-God powers are not considered agood thing. It is like a powerful centrally placed government, whichis able to rule over other governments. Again, it can resemble animperial president with a tendency to co-opt powers that belong tothe Congress. Superheroes would disrupt existing power structures,while creating uncomfortable setting to the characters. Thecharacters in this case include Walter Kovacs, a masked vigilante.

According to Althusser (2014), the power structure of all theideology is interpolated with individuals that have the subjects inthe same name. They would be as an absolute and unique subject, as“specular,” to individuals it rules. In the film “Watchmen”,film creators developed power structure that revolves around thecenter in an infinity manner. The individuals are taking the subjectin a double mirror connection, in a way that its subjects cancontemplate its own image of the present and the future. FromAlthusser point of view, it draws an example of the graphic novel“Watchmen” that the actual film is based. The superheroesexistence gave a reflection of 1985, which saw United States turnedinto a dictatorship. While in his fifth term, the then PresidentNixon saw a repeat of the 22nd amendment, and as a resultthe United States and the USSR plunged towards a seeminglyuncontrolled annihilation of nuclear.

The environmentcreated by the superheroes, according to Bourdieu &amp Thompson(1991, p. 8) is transitioned from a state of being a practical groupto being an instituted group. An example of it is to a class or anation. He says that it presupposes construction of a classificationprinciple. The classification of principle characterizes members of acertain group. The film makers emphasize the construction ofdominated groups on the basis of generic properties. They alsoproposes qualities of another symbolic state of power, for instance,the old, men, the French, patriots and the citizens (Bourdieu &ampThompson 1991, p. 8).

Dr. Manhattan isan example of an embodiment power. The accident that gave him hissupernatural powers gradually drove him far away from his human feel.For him, time has no real meaning since he can see the past, present,and the future at the same time. This means that death has no realmeaning, and thus those of high political positions sought to exploithim. The urgency of the politicians saw monopoly of superheroes inthe film maintained. This also led to film makers getting rid ofcostume adventurers’, apart from those who work in the highpositions of power.

Superheroes wereused by film makers to cause uncomfortable situation as it is partlyevidenced in some scenes in the film. For example, Daniel Dreibergwho used an owl-like theme or Rorschach who was a violent detectivewho had zero tolerance to criminality is closely resembled byFoucault (YEAR, p. 12). He said that an individual can utter on theformation of a disciplinary society that stretches in an encloseddiscipline. It is the kind of social “quarantine” towards anindefinite generalization of “panopticism” mechanism. The urgencyis not because of disciplinary modality of power easily replaced byothers, but because it has infiltrated others. This happens whenserving as an intermediate between the influentially powerful andthose below power hierarchy. In addition, superheroes in the“Watchmen”, makes it impossible to bring the effects of theirpower to the most minute and distant element. Moore &amp Gibbons(1977, p. 12) state that such a scenario assures an infinitesimaldistribution of power relations.

The fil makersin the “Watchmen” capture the way authority and power is spreadall through. Doctor Manhattan, in this case, has lost his sense ofhumanity because of his immense power. The effect that those who lovehim present a major component since his detachment offers him anopportunity for Veidt to succeed in his plan. Althusser (2014, p. 5)noted that it is an important mechanism since it disindividualizesand automatizes power. The structure of power is seen in the filmthat ranges from supernatural ability. This happens to the governmentin place, has its principles invested heavily on an individual. Thismeans that certain distribution occurs throughout the body. Itresembles that of the superheroes, which internal mechanisms areproduces relationships in which normal individuals are caught up.

According toFoucault (1977), the ceremonies, the marks, and the rituals by whichsovereign’s surplus power are infested, for instance in the film.There is presence of machinery that assures disequilibrium,dissymmetry, and difference. However, urgency of power does notmatter who exercises power. Any other individual who is picked almostrandomly can operate at the top position of power in the absence, forexample, of the director, friends, or family. Just like Dr.Manhattan, he shows that power structure, its efficiency, and itsconstraining force, have, in some sense been passed over to the otherside. This is the side where the rules are not followed, andtherefore the characters are not interacting in harmony. Foucault(1977, p. 5) states that he who is the subject to the field ofvisibility, and one that knows it, can assume the responsibility thatcomes along with power constraints.

The “Watchmen”shows that the external power, as it is evidenced by Dr. Manhattan,throws off its weight towards non-corporal. While it approaches itseffect, the superheroes can achieve a victory that tends to stay awayfrom any physical confrontation, which could be decided in advance(Moore &amp Gibbons, 1987). In the current world as opposed to thatshown on the film, goes against the possibility of libertarian rules.Any law that abuses the structures of power put in place means thateither the Democrats or the Republicans, for example, do not trusteach other on the laws that are enforced. For instance, each sidewhen voted out of power begin to complain that the other one isabusing power.


Althusser, L.(2014). On the reproduction of capitalism: Ideology andideological state apparatuses.

Bourdieu, P., &ampThompson, J. B. (1991). Language and symbolic power.Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press.

Foucault, M.(1977). Discipline and punish: The birth of the prison. NewYork: Pantheon Books.

Moore, A., &ampGibbons, D. (1987). Watchmen. New York: DC Comics Inc.