- Alternative Character Interpretation: Are the masks just self-gratifying vigilantes, or misunderstood heroes who were then prosecuted for keeping the population safe? Or some of each? That is not even starting on Rorschach... or the Comedian...
- Ozymandias. Interpretations of him vary from a mass-murdering psychopath to the savior of the world and its best hope for the future. These depend largely on whether the person interpreting believes his plan would work.
- Rorschach. A psychopathic, alienated, misogynistic killer? Or an intelligent, uncompromising man trying to save humanity from evil and corruption and bring loyalty and morality back into the world? Or maybe he's both.
- Eddie Blake/The Comedian in particular. When he found out about Adrian's plan, he has such a breakdown he asked for forgiveness in front of his old enemy, Moloch, in tears and tried to justify what horrible things he did. But pretty much every other time we see him in the movie, he's cheerfully crossing the Moral Event Horizon and keeping on going - murdering a woman carrying his child, assassinating Kennedy, and attempting to rape one of his teammates. We never see him do anything remotely heroic, despite having been on a superhero team. So, is he a really dark antihero?
- Is Doctor Manhattan truly unable to alter the future or is he just so much of a fatalist that he won't even make the effort?
- Base Breaker:
- Broken Base: The prequel comics, being made without Moore or even Gibbons's involvement, have been the point of division with many fans. Is this just a pale attempt at making Watchmen a Franchise Zombie, or a good way to reinterpret the story?
- Crazy Awesome: Rorschach is this when he's not busy being just plain crazy. Some highlights include hiding in, and then jumping out of, Moloch's fridge, going into random bars and beating the snot out of thugs until he gets answers, and in general being the only superhero with the balls to keep being a superhero when the practice was outlawed.
- Draco in Leather Pants: Rorschach is a sympathetic character but not a role model. The Comedian is also subject to some of this.
- Ensemble Darkhorse: The comic has a flock of these in the form of the Minutemen. Also a good deal of the villains that are mentioned offhandedly, most notably the Twilight Lady.
- Fan Myopia: Around the time the movie came out, fans of the comic were openly discussing the ending and other plot points without spoiler tags, assuming anyone interested in the franchise had to have read the comic.
- Fanon Discontinuity: The prequel comics for many fans, and Moore himself has severe Creator Backlash and while Dave Gibbons is supportive of the staff he has stated that the only canon for the stories is what was written by Moore and drawn by him.
- Fridge Brilliance: You can read it five times and still have something left to discover.
- Veidt's fairly obvious computer makes a lot of sense—he wanted Dan and Rorschach to be able to crack it. The computer even prompts Dan for another word.
- Also, every time we see Rorschach before The Reveal, he's eating the food of whoever he's visiting. That's because he's essentially a homeless bum.
- Fridge Horror: Happens to Rorschach after he accuses his landlady of being a whore in front of her kids and then realises that he's just done the same horrible thing that was done to him as a child.
- Genius Bonus: Several. "At play between strangeness and charm", seen in the lab where Osterman worked, is a pun on quantum mechanics, just to say one.
- Germans Love David Hasselhoff: Rorschach is one of the few western comic characters you can find stuff of on Pixiv.
- Hilarious in Hindsight:
- So, a US-USSR nuclear war is inevitable, Adrian?
- In one of the text supplements, Ozymandias talks about making a Saturday morning cartoon show.
- Dollar Bill, 1947- revolving door. No capes!
- The line mocking Robert Redford's candidacy. Let's just say he comes damned close in Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
- Part of Moore's inspiration for the series was criticizing Ronald Reagan (although he ultimately used Nixon instead, so some of his readers wouldn't get offended). Yet in September 1987, right around the time the series was wrapping up, Ronald Reagan himself gave a speech to the UN about how global unity could be achieved if the US and the USSR combined to fight against an invading alien force.
- Harsher in Hindsight: When the telepathic squid attacks NY, an airship can be seen crashed into the side of a building that looks startling like the WTC.
- It Was His Sled: Ozymandias is the killer. Also, giant squid. This got particularly bad around the time of the movie.
- Edward Blake is Laurie's father.
- Rorschach dies.
- Jerkass Woobie: Rorschach. The Comedian to a lesser extent.
- Magnificent Bastard: Ozymandias, especially after The Reveal.
- Memetic Mutation: "RRAAAARRL" and "Hurm."
- "I did it thirty-five minutes ago."
- "Rorshach's journal. Unusual event happened, must investigate further."
- "Adrian Veidt. Possibly homosexual. Must investigate further."
- Misaimed Fandom: Some people take Rorschach and The Comedian seriously. Or rather seriously as superheroes which is entirely missing the point of the story.
- They specifically miss the point that neither of them are competent at their job. Rorscharch makes Entertainingly Wrong assumptions and its ultimately Dan Dreiberg's Boring but Practical basic detective work that even gets them to Ozymandias' Supervillain Lair and Rorscharch is not even a match for Ozymandias as a fighter, his street-wise Combat Pragmatist approach no match for Charles Atlas Superpower. Both Rorschach and The Comedian are great characters in the literary sense and are pretty Badass but neither are as Badass as they want people to think they are nor are they in a situation where being one is of much help.
- Moral Event Horizon: By the time he reaches his own crossing point at the Vietnam War victory celebration, the Comedian already believes humanity itself has crossed it. In fact, this belief seems to go as far back as the failed Crimebusters meeting. Ozymandias, however, believes otherwise...
- Narm: That giant telepathic squid. As much as Ozymandias denies it, that is a very Republic serial villain move.
- He would probably agree. He himself described the plot as the "greatest practical joke in human history". The fact that something as fundamentally absurd as that has the effect it does is why the ending is so disturbing. No wonder that it disturbed The Comedian.
- Seinfeld Is Unfunny: Watchmen influenced a ton of other works. These works fleshed out the tropes Watchmen introduced and put them in the forms that are now extremely familiar to readers. A superhero like Rorschach who goes around killing people was shocking in the 80s, but after several decades of the Punisher, he seems tame and reasonable by comparison. The notion of flawed heros like the Comedian was very fresh in the 80s, but it's par for the course these days. Dr. Manhattan pissing all over the status quo with his superpowers by altering history is far less amazing today than when it was first introduced in an era of Reed Richards Is Useless.
- Squick: Rorschach's backstory. Also, there's just something odd about giving a "Tijuana Bible" of yourself to your daughter.
- Tainted by the Preview: General opinions on the prequel comics? Not very positive.
- Too Dumb to Live: Silhouette. Coming out of the closet was one thing. Exposing your identity is just asking for it.
- "Weird Al" Effect: With the possible exceptions of The Question, Captain Atom & Blue Beetle, hardly anybody remembers the old Charlton characters the cast of Watchmen were based on.
- Awesome Music: Phillip Glass' Prophecies/Pruit Igoe in the trailer. Bob Dylan's The Times They Are A-changing in the opening sequence.
- Best Known for the Fanservice: Judging from some message boards, you'd get the impression that the movie is 2 1/2 hours of blue penis closeups.
- Broken Base: Fans are split on how good or bad of an adaptation this film was.
- Cult Classic: Despite mixed reviews and an underwhelming box office performance, the film seems to have and is continuing to gain a solid fanbase.
- Crosses the Line Twice: How Rorschach dealt with Captain Carnage, a man who pretended to be a supervillain because he had a fetish for getting beaten up.
Laurie: Whatever happened to him?
Dan: Oh...Well, he pulled that on Rorschach, and he dropped him down an elevator shaft.
Laurie: [still laughing] Oh God, that's not even funny.
Dan: Well, it's a little funny.
- Draco in Leather Pants: Rorschach, Ozymandias. And how.
- Ensemble Darkhorse: Due to being played by the handsome Niall Matter, Mothman has seen a surprising level of attention in the fandom recently, in spite of not really being all that important.
- Ending Fatigue: Some viewers believe it should've ended on Mars with the Blue Man revealing his secrets and delivering the aesop of the film.
- Fashion-Victim Villain: Subverted- like David Bowie in Labyrinth, Matthew Goode as Ozymandias has the uncanny ability to be put in some rather ridiculous outfits (purple suits? Egregious floppy '80s Hair? A supersuit with nipples?) and nevertheless look good enough to make otherwise rational straight women and gay men squee their brains out from all the Perverse Sexual Lust he creates. Then again, he comes dangerously close to a male example of Power Hair.
- Fetish Retardant: The sex scene with Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" playing in the background. Zack Snyder claimed that it was deliberate, since the big-wigs wanted a steamy sex scene - they decided to placate them, while turning up the cheese factor Up to Eleven.
- Fridge Brilliance: During the opening credits, it has Neil Armstrong on the moon and says "Good Luck Mr. Gorsky." There's an Urban Legend that his neighbor said the day the neighbor kid went to space is the day his wife would give him oral sex. Since this film takes place in an alternate timeline, it goes from confusing to clever.
- Veidt's fairly obvious computer makes a lot of sense- if he wanted Dan and Rorschach to be able to crack it. The computer even prompts Dan for another word.
- Genius Bonus/Viewers Are Geniuses: The symbol Jon draws on his forehead is a representation of a Hydrogen atom. Hydrogen was the first element to be created and is the single element from which everything else in the universe comes. Which is why it's "something [he] can respect" versus something "the marketing boys" think up. The comic gives a brief explanation; the film puts the scene in but never explains it.
- In Veidt's office, the Narmer Palette can be seen on the wall in his Egyptian artifact alcove. It is a significant piece of archeology and it is propaganda about a ruler's unification of Upper and Lower Egypt with scholars still unsure if it is an actual record of what happened or just a mythologized version.
- Hilarious in Hindsight: The businessman's line "'Free' is another word for 'Socialist'" in regards for energy. Right around the time the film was made, people were calling Barack Obama's energy policies such as support for cap and trade just that.
Wally:What I said was 'God Exists, and he's American'. If that statement starts to chill you after a couple of moments' consideration, then don't be alarmed. A feeling of intense and crushing religious terror at the concept indicates only that you're still sane. Which later got vindicated on how Ozymandias implements his forced peace.
- Wally Weaver's statements on Doctor Manhattan could also count as this.
- Ho Yay:
- Dan and Rorschach get more scenes that can be interpreted as this in the film.
- Veidt around just about everyone but Rorschach.
- Idiot Ball: The Silhouette kissing a nurse in a crowd IN THE 1940's. What did she THINK would come of that?
- It's the Same, Now It Sucks: While some liked how it stuck to the comic, it's often criticized for that very thing.
- Memetic Mutation:
- "X's Journal, March 11th, 2009..."
- Doctor... Manhattan's... PENIS!!!
- Adrian Veidt and his "Boys" folder seems to be getting a certain measure of notoriety, too.
- As is Matthew Goode's profanity-laden OOC statement how people who hated the film can all "line up and suck [his] dick", because he "[doesn't] give a fuck".
- "I love the smell of giant blue penis in the morning."
- Narm: Having Janie Slater pull off a wig to reveal a slightly thin but otherwise full head of hair was not as dramatic as intended.
- Also Nite Owl's Big "NO!" when he sees Rorschach murdered.
- Never Live It Down: Doctor Manhattan's penis is probably one of the most discussed things about the film. In spite of this, it is never really the focus of the scenes that he appears naked in, and it's mostly seen from far away.
- Nightmare Fuel:
- Arm + Buzzsaw.
- Face + boiling oil.
- Theatrical Cut: bullet + leg. The Director's Cut adds bullet + fingers to the scene.
- Perverse Sexual Lust: Walter/Rorschach and the Comedian have gained a lot more fans of their physical appearance since the film.
- Seinfeld Is Unfunny / Older Than They Think: both because of the legacy of the comic... and because the previous year another extremely dark comic book movie was released; and another movie about outlawed superheroes earlier...
- The Problem with Licensed Games: The End is Nigh was an alright Beat 'em Up in the vein of Dynamite Cop, but other than the characters and setting it didn't really have much to do with Watchmen. The standard opinion was that it's So Okay, It's Average.
- They Changed It, Now It Sucks: One of the two biggest complaints about the movie. (The other being that they DIDN'T change it.)
- Uncanny Valley: Dr. Manhattan again, though it may be deliberate.
- Viewers Are Morons: Why Robert Redford was changed to Ronald Reagan.
- We also have a scene of The Comedian killing President Kennedy rather than just implying it... Though the scene where the implication was made is absent from any cut of the film.
- Visual Effects of Awesome: Snyder mentioned in interviews that they used the book as storyboards for the film. It shows.
- Quite a few people who hated the movie still admit that they liked the opening credits sequence.
- What Do You Mean, It's Not for Kids?: It really isn't. The R rating for "strong graphic violence, sexuality, nudity, and language" is well earned (though the nudity is mostly just giant blue penis).
Unproduced Sam Hamm script:
- Hilarious in Hindsight: One particular line - what, you can't see it? Are you dense? Are you retarded or something?
- Memetic Mutation: "Christ Almighty, it's the Goddamned Watchmen!"
- So Bad, It's Good: If this script had been used, the resulting movie could have rivaled Batman & Robin in terms of awfulness, especially considering that it's meant to be taken seriously.
- What The Hell Casting Agency: This◊ is the face of Rorschach.
DLC Video Game:
- Just Here For Rorschach: Seriously, who didn't buy this game simply so they could play as Rorschach during his days as a legit costume vigilante?