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The Love Scene In Watchmen That Took Fans To The Edge Of Cringe

If there ever was a film to make the "Don't Watch With Your Parents" blacklist, it's Zack Snyder's "Watchmen." It's not even the foul language or the bloody and brutal combat that will have one shifting in their seat. In fact, one scene makes this film nearly unwatchable for some.

Based on the eponymous '80s comic book series from writer Alan Moore and artist Dave Gibbons, "Watchmen" is widely known for being a more "adult" take on superheroes. While some projects from the genre can be boiled down for having simplistic characters, unchallenging themes, and sanitized morals, Moore and Gibbons' series subverted these preconceptions. Though the series primarily boasted dire stakes, a cruel and unreliable protagonist, and overt political themes, it also has some elements that are often associated with more mature comics: sex and violence.

Fast forward to 2009, Snyder's adaptation of the esteemed comic series hit the big screen. While the film has proved to be divisive (via Rotten Tomatoes), what can't be disputed is that Snyder's "Watchmen" dials the sex and violence up to 11, providing a moviegoing experience far more visceral than watching a Marvel Studios' film. While that may serve the film in some areas, one sex scene raised some eyebrows over the years. 

Watchmen's sex scene became infamous

Throughout the "Watchmen" movie, there is obvious sexual chemistry between former Watchmen Dan Dreiberg (Nite Owl) and Laurie Juspeczyk (Silk Spectre), played by Patrick Wilson and Malin Åkerman respectively. Though Laurie begins the film with her husband, Dr. Manhattan (Billy Crudup), she eventually makes a move on Dan, who in turn finds himself unable to perform in the bedroom.

It's only in the immediate aftermath of the duo heroically saving tenants from an apartment fire that he successfully makes love to her. The resulting sequence is essentially a soft-core adult film, complete with over the top expressions, idealistic positions, and enough lingering shots to make anyone blush. While Snyder faithfully executes the basic beats of the scene (which is based on a nearly identical sequence from the comic), his overall treatment of the graphic nature of the source material leans itself horribly to this moment.

Zack Snyder envisioned a sexier Watchmen

Though "Watchmen" has its fair share of defenders, those critical of the film felt the moment was symptomatic of Zack Snyder's seemingly superficial appreciation of the source material. The director famously said that when he first encountered superhero comic books, he was disinterested because none of the characters were "having sex or killing each other" (via Entertainment Weekly). Evidently, he felt "Watchmen" was "more [his] scene" due to the graphic content.

However, the sexuality of the original "Watchmen" comic arguably isn't there to be attractive or gritty. Speaking of Dan and Laurie's tryst specifically, one way to view the scene is as a contribution to the comic's overall critique of superheroics as a power fantasy. Even for the two most altruistic characters, their adventures are simply a way to give meaning and excitement to their dull lives. The costumes make them feel alive, sexy, and powerful even if they aren't necessarily any of those things. As such, the scene is originally presented in a blunt, less sensational manner.

All this to say, it's understandable that Snyder — who wanted something more sensational from comics — chose to depict the affair with a more "attractive" scope.