"Do it?" Dan, I'm not a Republic serial villain. Do you seriously think I'd explain my masterstroke if there remained the slightest chance of you affecting its outcome? I did it thirty-five minutes ago.
Also, most of the fallout in #12. As horrific and doomed to failure in the long term The Plan is, the way that Adrian manages to pull everything off and talk the others into helping cover it up takes my breath away at the sheer Magnificent Bastard-ness of him.
Not to mention Ozymandias beating the hell out of Nite Owl and Rorschach while hardly getting up while eating his dinner.
And the second time he beat up Rorschach, not only does he do it without letting Rorschach lay a finger on him, he keeps monologuing the whole time!
Deconstruction He chose to die rather than betray his principles and compromise. According to Word of God Rorschach is a Death Seeker so it is most likely what Rorschach wanted. Which leads to another CMOA: "DO IT!"
Almost every big Rorschach scene in Watchmen is made of win. Some examples:
Fighting off the Big Figure's two goons inside his cell.
"Two-nothing. Your move."
"Never disposed of sewage with toilet before. Obvious, really."
And, later, drowning the Big Figure himself in a toilet bowl. Dialogue afterward: "We don't want to get too reckless and go diving headfirst into things!" "Hurm. Good advice. Sure, there are many who'd agree with you."
Don't forget the whole dialogue before the fight "Big figure... Small world"
Taking his first step to being a Nominal Hero as a kid: when some bullies tease him (accurately) about his mother being a whore and then threaten to beat him up, he grabs the cigarette one of them is smoking and stabs it in the guy's eye. He then proceeds to attack another bully, biting his cheek. Only then is he restrained.
Rorschach's time in jail starts with all the crooks he helped put there informing him of everything they're going to do to him now that he's stuck in prison with them, which Rorschach listens to without responding or even batting an eyelid. Later, an inmate actually tries to attack him in the prison cafeteria. Rorschach throws hot grease in the attacker's face, and, as he is being dragged off to solitary and the attacker is being rushed to the infirmary, Rorschach turns to the other prisoners and says, very calmly:
None of you understand. I'm not locked up in here with you.You're locked up in here with me."
Rorschach expressed his feelings toward compulsory retirement in a note left outside police headquarters along with a dead multiple rapist: "NEVER."
"Away down alley, heard woman scream, first bubbling note of city's evening chorus. Approached disturbance. Attempted rape/mugging/both. Cleared throat. The man turned and there was something rewarding in his eyes. Sometimes, the night is generous to me."
How about the baffling reveal that he was the Ginger with the 'End is Nigh' sign none of us noticed. Very ninja.
Rorschach's Hannibal Lecture in the end of Chapter VI after he admits to seeing a dog's head cleaved in half on a Rorschach Inkblot Test, where Rorschach tells his therapist a story where a kidnapping investigation goes wrong when the superhero detective breaks in a suspect's house to find that the owner of the household killed the girl by roasting her in an oven/cutting her into little pieces and tries to cover up the murder by feeding the roasted/diced corpse to the dogs. How does Rorschach respond to this discovery? He takes a hatchet/cleaver and cleaves the dogs' heads in half. Then he proceeds to burn the wretch alive when he returns, watching the building burn for an entire hour, making sure the bastard doesn't escape, and becomes utterly disgusted with the evils of humanity and resolves to clean man of its filth through murder. The most amazing thing about this example is that the story even causes the shrink to become a more moral and compassionate person at the cost of his happiness.
Dr. Manhattan also has several, though his finest is probably reconstructing himself after Veidt destroys him, afterwards telling him:
Dr. Manhattan: "I've walked across the Sun. I've seen events so tiny and so fast they hardly can be said to have occurred at all, but you... you are a man. And the world's smartest man means no more to me than does its smartest termite."
Another good one is when he breaks up a demonstration during the police strike:
Dr. Manhattan: "Pay attention. You will all return to your homes."
Rioter: "Oh yeah? And what if we don't, ya big blue fruit?"
Dr. Manhattan: "You misunderstand me. It was not a request."
(Then he teleports the entire crowd to their individual homes.)
A more subtle one is when he metaphorically flips the bird to all the marketing people trying to exploit the fact that there's actually a person with real superpowers by giving himself a symbol that means something: a hydrogen atom.
"I'm disappointed in you, Adrian. VERY disappointed."
Nite-Owl and the Silk Spectre save people from a burning apartment building, proving that it's possible to find genuine heroes even in the CrapsackyDeconstruction that is Watchmen.
Even more heroic: After a few sessions with Rorschach, his psychologist is speaking in his stilted style and sees the dark side of humanity everywhere he looks. When he looks at an ink blot, he sees a dead, maggot-ridden cat, but admits that even that's just assigning meaning to a meaningless, uncaring world... and he STILL stops to help people on the street. For all its darkness and depression, every arc of Watchmen affirms the value of life.
It's more than that. As Rorschach brings him round to his nihilistic way of thinking, only then does he start to help people. It's incredible, really. The psychologist's wife was literally threatening to leave him on the spot when he stopped to help that girl, his life is more or less ruined, and yet he still just has to stop and help. Picking up genuine heroism from a psychopathic Anti-Hero might seem odd, but what do you know? And then Ozymandias' plan gets everyone involved blown up anyway. Ouch.
What you really have to remember, too, is how Rorschach calls him out on his bullshit therapy by saying there are others who need his help more, and he just wants a published name. After leading him through the void and leaving the optimistic man a wreck, Rorschach gets him to understand that despite how ugly and devoid the world is, we must help others if we hope to see a better future.
Even though it doesn't work. Silk Spectre's attempt to unload a pistol into the Big Bad with a Shut Up, Hannibal!: "You're an asshole, Veidt.
And to be fair, the only reason it doesn't work is that Veidt manages to catch the bullet, which is awesome in itself, but it's not half as awesome as the way he convinced Nite-Owl he could.
The bit where Nite Owl tells Rorschach off. Just because This Troper kind of saw Rorschach in a different light to most, that is to say, as sort of the "special child" of the vigilante world. He causes a lot of problems for all his friends and they basically have to put up with him acting like a misbehaving child, but it's all okay anyway? Or something? This Troper is also annoyed that her eloquence is failing her.
Also, the best part about Rorshach didn't really have Rorschach in it. Owl and Spectre are talking about a villain who was a masochist, and that when he came to Rorschach saying "Hurt me", Rorschach dropped him down an elevator shaft. Mega win.
Also a CMoA, which also fall firmly into a Crowning Moment of Heartwarming; When Adrian's genetically engineered monster reaches it's destination, we see a sequence in which Bernard the news vendor runs to protect young Bernie from the blast with his own body. Later, we see the two both dead, with Bernard still protecting Bernie.
The Veidt Method Fitness Ad: "I WILL GIVE YOU BODIES BEYOND YOUR IMAGININGS!".
That nameless Vietnamese woman deserves a CMOA for giving Blake exactly what he deserves and then staring at him, silently crying, as he guns her down.
How about the movie's bit with Nite Owl beating the living hell out of Ozymandias? Sure Ozy clearly let him, but it was still a very cool moment.
I liked it because Ozy seemed to be opening his arms for a hug. "I'm not going to fight back; I deserve everything you're about to do to me."
"Your turn, doctor. What do YOU see?"
A bit obvious but a giant, naked, Dr. Manhattan marching on Vietnamese soliders, with Ride of the Valkyries music playing, and in slow motion, one by one, his pops the Vietnamese soldiers with his mind.
And in a later scene, some of the surviving Viet Cong soldiers chose to bow down to Dr. Manhattan directly in surrender.
Same here. Few things embody the crapsackyDeconstruction that is Watchmen better than "the invincible man" killing (implicitly thousands of) people simply because a politician asked him to, after which they declare him to be a god out of fear of retribution (which, in retrospect, brilliantly foreshadows Adrian's plans).
Say what you want about the creative liberties, Manhattan's digital body was like staring directly at God while the comics' cyan colossus garnered a bit to much empathy at times.
The sex scene in flight between Nite Owl and Silk Spectre after the flame thrower is hit, this troper's entire theater applauded to show how much of a crowning moment that was. Several other scene's were applauded as well (having been mentioned already). One not mentioned were some of the names of the characters in the credits (Fat thug and Dumb thug being among the names). After talking to other movie goers, it was agreed that the movie as a whole was a crowning moment of awesome in and of itself.
Adrian Veidt ducking under an assassin's bullet, grabbing a nearby blunt object, and smashing the man sideways into a pool of water, all in one fluid, slow-motion movement.
Not just a blunt object, a lamp stand. Ones that size can be heavy bastards, and he just casually sweeps it up in a run and swings it like a bat at the guy, hardly being affected by the momentum of the weight. Awesome.
The entire opening credit sequence, set to "The Times They Are A-Changing", explained virtually all of the backstory of the comic book that we needed to know in about two minutes. Awesome.
In what possibly may be even more of a Genius Bonus than the comic, part of the poem 'Ozymandias' is on the Ramses II pedestal, explaining in the most subtle way possible that Ozy's peace will last about as long as a pinky finger in the presence of Rorschach.
Even more CMOA for the Double Meaning of the Shelley poem.
This troper looked up a little about the series when the film was announced, and had been wondering why Oz chose such a stupid name. He had forgotten about it until he actually saw the poem on the pedestal and went "...oh".
Not to mention that Mozart's Requiem Aeternam plays in the background, perfectly symbolising exactly what is going through Veidt's mind without the need for any dialogue.
"I'm disappointed in you, Adrian. I'm very disappointed."
Cue giant Dr Manhattan smashing through Ozymandias' roof. And this badass boast.
Dr Manhattan:I have walked across the surface of the Sun. I have witnessed events so tiny and so fast they can hardly be said to have occurred at all. But you, Adrian, you're just a man. The world's smartest man poses no more threat to me than does its smartest termite.
Veidt's response to that scene is pretty damn good too, as he picks up an object while staring down someone who could kill him and ruin everything with a thought.
"What's that? Another ultimate weapon?"
"You could say that." (switches on all the international news stations)
The opening scene gives Byronic Hero The Comedian a badly needed one: he clearly knows the whole time that he's not going to win the fight, but he completely refuses to give up throughout the beating Ozy gives him.
Seconded. Whatever his faults (and they were legion), The Comedian went out fighting.
Not Ozymandias catching the bullet, but Ozymandias acting as though he'd been shot and laying there until Silk Spectre came up and he could knock the crap out of her.
And catching the bullet too.
And this time, with Adrian's hand armored, it actually made sense somewhat.
Given the total removal of cigarettes from the film, Rorschach's Eye Scream mentioned above isn't possible, so a Groin Attack is substituted. The film makes up for it by then not simply having him bite the other boy's cheek, but rip off a hunk of flesh.
The special edition features Hollis Mason fighting back futilely yet heroically against his murderers, scored with the theme from Raging Bull to make it even more emotional than in the comic.
Flashing back to his glory days as a young man, beating up costumed super-villains, all the while. . .
I always liked to think of those brief flashbacks (particularly the moment where he fractures the Space villain's helmet) as an indication of just how Bad Ass the old Owl was back in his prime. Watching him drop into that 30s boxing stance and take on five guys less than half his age was quite the moment. Manly Tears, dammit!
All Along The Watchtower playing as Nite Owl II and Rorschach are flying to Veidt's base. An added bonus is the line "two riders were approaching" directly matches up with a shot of the two walking towards their destination.
Particularly nice is that this comes as a Shout-Out to the comic; the chapter the scene takes place in is titled "Two Riders Were Approaching" and ends with a quote from the song.