Analysis of Costuming in a Scene From Watchmen UPDATED

This is a clip from the superhero thriller film Watchmen, directed by Zack Snyder and adapted from Alan Moore & Dave Gibbon’s classic graphic novel of the same name. Released on the sixth of March 2009, this film made $185,258,983 (Worldwide) and was produced by Legendary Pictures in association with Lawrence Gordon Productions, presented by Paramount and Warner Brothers. On imdb, 321,752 users gave it an average rating of 7.6/10 and on Rotten Tomatoes 70% of 1,051675 audience members who rated the film gave positive ratings, and 65% of 294 professional reviews were positive. This film is not targeted at younger people as it has the age rating of ’18’ in the UK.

How Conventional Is The Costume Of The Protagonist In The Scene?

The primary character in this scene is Dr. Manhattan, the first full shot of him he is naked, this makes the audience subconsciously  unsure of his standing as a ‘good’ guy or ‘bad’ guy, as costuming is a conventional indicator of the altruism of characters. However, there is a white aurora surrounding him, as well as the blue of his skin colour being light, implying a positive nature, developing the theory that costuming can display a character’s nature, as with this character his whole body conveys this. However, this may, in fact, make audiences less clear as this is not a commonly used technique, particularly in non-sci-fi settings, where it would be racial stereotyping (not a good thing). Creating a further sense of Dr. Manhattan’s questionable standing is the black and white suit that he wears later in the sequence, as this contains the positive white and the negative black.

A number of male characters are seen wearing suits, implying a similar moral ambiguity. There are, also, men surrounding Dr. Manhattan wearing military general’s uniforms, displaying how the military are trying to use Dr. Manhattan as an asset, this is, particularly, clear due to the way that they surround him.


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