Good vs. Evil and Ending of Watchmen (Spoiler Warning!)

Spoiler Warning


My first time experiencing Watchmen, I saw the beginning of the movie one morning for school on day. I remember seeing Rorschach fighting and I thought this was just another superhero movie that was just super violent. Typically in these types of movies or media, there is a definite evil character and a definite good character. Without the context of the story, I thought that Rorschach was the hero on the side of good, but while reading it, there weren’t any definite heroes that were completely good or evil.

None of the characters really acted in ways that could be considered inherently good or inherently evil. But one thing that appeared to be true while I was reading the book is that everyone seemed to believe that their actions were good. Rorschach would fight dirty and aggressively but in his mind he was restoring balance and injuring to get information or killing because a person needed to be killed. In the end, he sees that Veidt and Dr. Manhattan have participated in killing many people in New York City and he doesn’t see what the good in their actions were. He sees that people were killed so he has to kill the people that caused it. This also brings up the question of whether the actions of Adrian Veidt and Dr. Manhattan were evil or good. In this case, I think they had the intent to do something good but the execution appears to be evil. They wanted to stop the impeding nuclear war between America and the Soviet Union so their master plan was to intern create an alien attack to bring the nations together. I think that he could have done something less drastic to create the same effect. And the fact that Dr. Manhattan went along with it was also bad. I think with Dr. Manhattan’s power he could have stopped the destruction in New York and done something different. But, the flaws in each character doesn’t really allow them to make decisions that are purely good or evil. For instance, Dr. Manhattan has all this power but he doesn’t do anything will it unless he is guided by someone else. He follows what the government wants and then follows the plan of Veidt. He kills Rorschach because of Veidt’s plan. He could prevented things but it wasn’t in his character. Veidt wants to help the world but he doesn’t think to do things in a different way.

Overall, there can be multiple arguments about who is right and who is wrong but I think everyone does good and evil but they all have the intent to help and do good. But, this also raises the question of whether the intent to do good is as valid as actually doing good. I think that Moore created these characters to show that people are more complex than just good and evil and their actions reflect that. So, I can’t really say that someone is the true hero or someone did the most good or evil in the story because they all did things that reflected both.