By Bryan Caplan
I give the Watchmen movie 3.5/4 stars. This isn’t because I’m a big fan of comic book movies. Indeed, I greatly prefer Rachel Getting Married to the supposedly excellent Spiderman 2.
The deal-breaker, for me, is a simple question: “What exactly was the villain trying to do – and why?” In most comic book movies, there’s just no answer. In Watchmen, in contrast, the villain’s motivation and goal are frightening clear by the time the closing credits roll. Indeed, I’m tempted to argue that movie’s conclusion is even more tightly written than the book’s – and that’s saying a lot.
If you’re still on the margin of whether to see it, here’s what I’ll say to change your mind: Watchmen may well be the most audacious literary challenge to utilitarianism ever written. If you think it’s just adolescent violence, you’re missing the point.
BTW, if you’re looking for in-depth exegesis of the graphic novel with a libertarian twist, check out Ross Levatter’s V is for Veidt: A Watchmen Guide. I’ve read the book ten times, and I don’t think he missed a thing I noticed…