Superjunk: Watchmen Goes Full-Frontal

Gay guys who geek out for superheroes are about to get an eyeful. Watchmen director Zach Snyder puts Dr. Manhattan (a buff, CGI'd Billy Crudup) front and center, buck naked for minutes at a time.

BY Ben Walters

March 06 2009 12:00 AM ET


The nudity in

is interesting not only for its quantity -- it's hard to think
of any Hollywood studio movie with more male full-frontal
content -- but for this quality of appreciation. Although in
recent years there has been an upswing in the number of dick
shots in mainstream and art-house films, they have tended to be
featured either in straight sexually explicit scenes, such as
those in Michael Winterbottom's
9 Songs, or as emblematic of male vulnerability, as in Jason Segel's
trou-dropping turn in
Forgetting Sarah Marshall. Dr Manhattan is certainly not vulnerable, and although he is
featured in a sex scene, his genitalia aren't. Rather, his nude
body is presented as both object of beauty and example of an
impossible standard of buffness -- not that far, in other
words, from a gay-porn aesthetic.

This, perhaps, is the
only way in which Snyder's movie could be seen as more radical
than its source material. The male body has been the primary
fetish object of comic books from the start; Moore and Gibbons
were just dropping the pretense. But movies have conventionally
subjected the female form to the male gaze. Unabashedly placing
peen front and center,

queers that pitch.

Tags: film