Watchmen

Movie review by S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media
Watchmen Poster Image

Common Sense says

age 18+

Not a superhero movie; a dark, gory, complex morality tale.

R 2009 163 minutes

Parents say

age 15+

Based on 80 reviews

Kids say

age 15+

Based on 107 reviews

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A Lot or a Little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 18+

Well-made, dystopian and explicit in every sense

First, there is a lot of masterful camera work and there are incredible details to create the settings of an alternate world that includes Richard Nixon being reelected five times. The opening scenes to establish that sense of alternate time is creative, and throughout, the choices of Bob Dylan, Prince and other musicians are apt. Some of the acting is quite good. That said, you can read about all the other explicit violence, sex and swearing from other reviewers…the violence in particular was deeply disturbing. I understand its purpose as a dystopian story about superheroes conflicted by moral equivalency, but the bigger problem I have is that when the story resolves, none of them really seem to have much of a conscience. They go back to a happy suburban life with zero self examination for the vast number of atrocities they’ve committed. Heroes, beginning with Greek mythology, have always come with flaws. However, I think we do a disservice to young people when we present a world, in this case, the movie, with no role models at all. If you’re in a faith household, the character with the most conscience says there’s no god. Some of you will think I’m being way too picky with this last comment, but there is a scene when they go into a prison and the prisoners are seen and treated as scum, literally, and they show no faith to one another either. Our society is already rife with a view of prisoners as less than human, and that’s just one of the ways it normalizes a total lack of regard for life. This is an adult movie made for adults who have a solid sense of society’s strengths and flaws.

This title has:

Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
age 18+

Introspective; violent, grotesque, and throughly adult.

Watchmen has been considered by many to be a film far ahead of its time; more appreciable now that the superhero craze has reached a boiling point. Being a rather thoughtful Superhero deconstruction film; Watchmen definitely delivers a more thought-provoking take on the genre than most others, however the film's intense violence; graphic sex, and oppressive atmosphere makes it unsuitable for children. There isn't quite as much violence as you would expect for an action movie this long; but when it is there it is brutal. Beyond standard martial-arts styled combat, there are broken bones, people set on fire, and shootings just to name the orthodox deaths. In one scene a man's head is sliced into with a meat cleaver, throughout the film several people are liquefied, with blood, bones and guts flying in every direction. We see the remains of a child's leg bone being eaten by dogs. In one especially hard to watch scene a woman is savagely beaten by a man attempting to rape her. A man's arms are cut off with a power saw, and a number of other visceral images occur. There are several graphic sex scenes, along with a briefly seen but explicit page from a pornographic comic book. Dr.Manhattan is frequently naked, and we see his CGI genitals often. Both male and female partial nudity beyond this. Language contains "F***" and pretty much everything below it. There aren't necessarily good role models or messages as much as there are complicated moral conundrums which the viewer will have to make their own decisions on. All of the film's heroes are flawed to a noticeable degree. On the side of characters we can confidently say have good intentions, one of which is still incredibly antisocial and hateful; meanwhile some of the other heroes are downright evil, or at the very least willing to do horrible things to achieve what they believe to be a positive outcome.

This title has:

Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking

Movie Details

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