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Film / Watchmen

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"Never compromise. Not even in the face of Armageddon."

"The streets are extended gutters, and the gutters are full of blood. And when the drains finally scab over, all the vermin will drown...."
Excerpt from Rorschach's Journal, October 12, 1985

Watchmen is the 2009 Film Adaptation of Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons' Watchmen, directed by Zack Snyder.

After almost 20 years in development limbo (including a script by David Hayter, a.k.a. Solid Snake, and not one, but two attempts by Terry Gilliam), the movie was eventually made and released, using a script by Alex Tse which preserves some of Hayter's elements.

The story follows the comic really closely, with dialogue and scenes lifted shot-for-shot at times. There are only a handful of alterations, much of it removing excess backstory and subplots to streamline the story, with the primary change being key elements of the villains' plan at the end. That makes it probably the most accurate adaptation of an Alan Moore comic (with the possible exception of the Justice League episode "For the Man Who Has Everything") and one of the most comics-accurate adaptations ever made overall.

This page is for movie-only tropes — most will be on the main Watchmen page. Similarly, movie-specific character tropes go here.

Watchmen provides examples of:

  • Accent Relapse: Though it's never mentioned in the film, Matthew Goode decided to play Adrian Veidt/Ozymandias as a German immigrant himself (not just the son of immigrant parents) who has learned to adopt a newscaster-perfect American accent in public but slides back into a relatively light German one in private. It helps to establish that he's just that cunning. Sadly because this was done rather subtly, quite a few viewers saw it as Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping or just plain wondered What the Hell Is That Accent? There's a video of the actor discussing the role doing the switch very suddenly and for contrast, going from his own British accent to explaining that "Veidt's public peRRsona is veRRy AmeRRican" [in an American accent, hard Rs and all] "bot oo-en hhe iss in pri-vit he bekomms a bit Gehr-mahn" [in a German accent]. Done that quickly, it's jarring.
  • Adaptational Attractiveness:
    • Jackie Earle Haley as Rorschach sans mask is just generally a lot less odd-looking than his graphic novel counterpart.
    • Carla Gugino as the elderly Sally Jupiter is far prettier and healthy looking than how the character was drawn, as she originally looked frail and I Was Quite a Looker is a major part of her personality.
    • Patrick Wilson as Nite Owl II may not look just like in the graphic novel (being far less tubby than Dan was), but considering Dan was a male version of Beautiful All Along once Laurie pulled off his glasses in the original too, it's hard to see this as a problem.
    • As far as Matthew Goode as Ozymandias is concerned, the average fan is equally likely to either find him incredibly handsome or complain about his enormous eyes, rather understated chin (in contrast to the graphic novel's Lantern Jaw of Justice), and long neck.
    • The characters' costumes also tend to be dramatically more impressive in the film, most notable with Nite Owl II looking like Batman and Rorschach's costume seemingly having been washed this decade.
  • Adaptational Dumbass: One mild example with Laurie: in the comic, the character is a smoker, which is why she hits the flame-thrower button in the Owl Ship, thinking that it's a cigarette lighter. Since Laurie doesn't smoke in the film, her hitting the button here seems more like a case of, "oohh, I wonder what this button clearly marked with a fire icon does?"
  • Adaptational Heroism: The Minutemen seem to be much friendlier with each other in this version. In particular in the comics Silhouette is ousted the minute her sexuality is discovered, here both her and her girlfriend are welcome at group functions openly and seemingly without issue.
  • Adaptational Modesty: Averted, Dr. Manhattan is frequently shown completely nude as in the comics and unapologetically so. Some noted that even though it was not exploitative it could still be distracting, demonstrating why this trope exists.
  • Adaptation Name Change:
    • The second superhero group is called Watchmen instead of the Crime Busters.
    • Dr. Malcolm Long has his given name changed to William according to the Under the Hood featurette.
  • Adaptation Distillation: Tightens focus on main superhero characters at the expense of the subplots for the recurring supporting characters. The only subplot retained, and developed in the Ultimate Cut, is between Bernie the newsstand owner and Bernard the boy who reads the pirate comic. The other side character subplots, namely Malcolm Long, are drastically cut and shortened. The removal of the Squid removes the mystery surrounding the missing artists and thinkers, and the few subplots showing a romance between two of the characters.
  • Adaptation Expansion: The fight scenes in the comic were shown only in a few panels and very bluntly, which the film elaborates into extended fights, notably the opening which shows Eddie Blake battling the prowler who kills him, and Nite Owl I fighting back the rioters which he didn't have time to do. The film also provides Rorschach a more cathartic finish with Nite Owl getting to witness Rorschach's death scene and punching Adrian Veidt for his utopia.
  • Adaptation Personality Change: Silhouette's unpleasantness is nonexistent. She and her female lover become tragic hate crime victims. Ozymandias is also supposed to affect a very pleasant and charming exterior whereas Matthew Goode comes off as too cold and stand-offish.
  • Adapted Out: The subplots concerning many of the normal background characters, Doctor Manhattan's father, the vast majority of the supplemental materials, Captain Metropolis' presence in the "Crimebusters" scene (named the "Watchmen" in the movie) and the artificial alien are removed.
  • Age Lift:
    • Sally and Eddie had their Minutemen-era ages lifted for the film, as Gugino and Morgan could not convincingly play the characters that young. Sally went from being 19 to being 25, while Eddie changed from 16 to 19 in early screenplay drafts before they settled on him being 22. Other ages and dates were tweaked a bit, as revealed in supplementary materials.
    • In a broad sense the main cast are played by actors in their 30s while they are supposed to be in their mid-40s in the present day. It was a necessary deal since so much of the story features flashbacks to decades in the past, rather than trying to subtly portray the age differences of 25-45 they maintained a standard appearance throughout the film. This contrasts the older heroes, who are seen in various stages between their 20s and their 70s using make-up.
  • All There in the Manual: The Under the Hood featurette included in home media releases shows some information about the setting, particularly concerning the history of the Minutemen, one wouldn't know just from watching the film (which is rather appropriate, as excerpts from Hollis Mason's book served a similar purpose as back-up material in the original comic).
  • Alternate History:
    • When The VJ Day Kiss happened, the lesbian Silhouette kissed the nurse instead of the sailor.
    • All of the U.S. flags in the film have 51 stars, because in the film's alternate history, Vietnam became the 51st state after America won the Vietnam War.
  • Ambiguously Gay: Veidt, though it's much less ambiguous in the film than it was in the novel, the biggest example being when Dan accesses Veidt's personal computer and a folder entitled "Boys" is visible on the desktop. In the opening montage, they're slightly anvilicious about it: he's also seen going into Studio 54 and shaking hands with someone who looks an awful lot like Ziggy Stardust, who purposely epitomized the drug and sex culture of the '70s (Mick Jagger is next to Bowie). To make it even less ambiguous, the Village People are in that same scene.
  • And the Adventure Continues: It ends with Nite Owl and Silk Spectre (now lovers) coming out of retirement to fight crime together. Then there's The Stinger, implying that they may have to deal with the fallout from Rorschach exposing Ozymandias' crimes...
  • Anti-Hero: Rorschach is a character with many flaws.
  • Anti-Villain: Veidt. His intentions might be good, but his means of getting there are evil.
  • Armor-Piercing Response: The script adds an excellent one from Rorschach to Dr. Manhattan during their confrontation:
    Rorschach: Suddenly you discover humanity? Convenient. If you'd cared from the start, none of this would have happened.
  • The Artifact: Bubastis, Ozymandias's genetically engineered pet, is only introduced right toward the end, and is only really there long enough to be vaporized. In the graphic novel, she was important in that her existence foreshadowed Ozymandias's genetic engineering and the giant alien squid vagina monster. But since that was taken out, Bubastis has little purpose.
  • Artistic License – Geography: During the opening credits, Leonid Brezhnev and Fidel Castro are watching a Soviet military parade from the top of Lenin's Mausoleum. However, the missiles are shown moving from right to left; from their perspective, the vehicles are coming from St. Basil's Cathedral toward the State Historical Museum. Actual parades through Red Square move in the opposite direction, so that they can reach the Bolshoy Moskvoretsky Bridge near the Cathedral and head out of Moscow.
  • Artistic License – Prison:
    • Rorschach takes out an attacker in the cafeteria by throwing a pan full of frying oil into his face. There wouldn't be a oil fryer on the serving line for the prisoners, in order to prevent exactly that sort of thing from happening.
    • During the prison break, Rorschach kills the prison gang leader Big Figure by following him into a public restroom located on the cell block (there are clearly cells adjacent to the restroom). The problem is, there wouldn't be such a restroom where the prisoners are housed. The prisoners have toilets in their cells, and prisons don't have such restrooms in the cell blocks because it would create a place where prisoners could meet without being observed, and the guards wouldn't enter because they wouldn't know what was going on inside and could easily be trapped.
  • Artistic Title: The breathtaking Title Sequence, which plays off of many iconic images from the second half of the 20th century, albeit tweaked to show the progression of the alternate history of Watchmen's continuity.
  • As You Know: Veidt is introduced to the audience via a speech from a reporter outlining his personal history to Veidt himself. Veidt, displaying his savvy attitude in his first line, interrupts with a slightly annoyed "I'm not hearing a question, Mr. Roth."
  • Attempted Rape: The Comedian attempts to rape Sally after the first photo shoot of "The Minutemen".
  • Attack on One Is an Attack on All: Rorschach says that the murder of the Comedian is an attack on all costumed vigilantes, retired or otherwise.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: Ozymandias's superhuman-like intellectual abilities are surprisingly matched by his physical ones.
  • Badass Boast:
    • Courtesy of Rorschach after melting off a guy's face using boiling oil at the prison canteen... "None of you understand: I'm not locked up in here with you. You're locked up in here with me!"
    • Also when Big Figure asks what the score is while trying to break into his cell and kill him during the riot (after sawing a goon's arms off), Rorschach just says "One-nothing. Come and get me."
    • Also Doctor Manhattan to Ozymandias: the speech ending in "The world's smartest man poses no more threat to me than does its smartest termite."
  • The Bad Guy Wins: Adrian Veidt and his plan to kill millions of people.
  • Barrier-Busting Blow: The Comedian busts his fist through a wall in the opening fight scene.
  • Batman Gambit: Ozymandias' plan could only work assuming that the rest of the watchmen, especially Jon, were able to be manipulated.
  • Big Bad Friend: Adrian Veidt. Unlike in the graphic novel, he and Dan are close, affectionate friends in this version — Adrian's Germanic depressive tendencies only melt around Dan, and it's highly unlikely Adrian would have taken that penitential beating from anyone else.
  • Big "NO!":
    • Laurie has one when she realizes that the Comedian is her father.
    • Nite Owl after Rorschach dies.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The ending as it's presented, especially when you consider the possibility that the rag Rorschach sent his journal to might actually publish it, revealing Ozymandias' plan and possibly sending the world back toward nuclear devastation.
  • Bloodier and Gorier: A rather notorious example of the trope. While Watchmen wasn't the cleanest graphic novel to hit the market, the film is extremely unsubtle in its depiction of violence.
    • Dan punches a Knot-Top in the elbow so hard that it breaks and splits open on the other side in a gout of blood and bone. He punches another in the shin so hard it snaps in half and collapses in on itself.
    • Jon Osterman's death is shown in graphic slow-motion, as his clothes, skin, organs, and bones are peeled away and vaporized.
    • Rorschach's first murder is far more graphic in the film than it is in the book, and made exponentially worse in the Director's Cut. He splits the child-killer's head open with a cleaver, gives him a one-liner, then keeps on hacking until his nose and other assorted chunks of flesh are literally dangling off of his face.
    • In the book, when Rorschach traps the fat henchmen's hands in the bars of his cell, the Big Figure has the goon's throat slit offscreen, with only the jet of blood visible. In the movie, the poor guy has his arms cut off with a circular saw, completely onscreen. Granted, this actually makes more sense than in the comic, since just killing him means he's still in the way.
    • The death of Big Figure himself. The movie gives us a Gory Discretion Shot of fluid pooling out from the bathroom in keeping with the book, but it changes that fluid from water (implying Rorschach drowned BF in a toilet) to blood (implying he did much more than that).
    • When Dr. Manhattan kills someone he disintegrates them with what appears to be a quick flash of light. The movie makes it into a more obvious explosion of gore (possibly to differentiate from simply teleporting people away). This is especially obvious in Rorschach's death, which lingers on the Rorschach-esque image in the snow.
  • Blood-Splattered Innocents: Some ladies get splattered in blood when Dr. Manhattan makes two gangsters explode.
  • Bookends:
    • Begins and ends Rorschach's voiceover.
      Rorschach: Rorschach's journal. October 10th, 1985...
    • Also, the smiley face which is splattered by ketchup, right before.
  • Break the Cutie: Played with, when the Comedian assaults and attempts to rape Sally (Silk Spectre).
  • Broken Ace: Veidt, by a margin about six miles wider than in the comic.
  • Bullet Catch: Ozymandias catches a bullet fired by Silk.
  • Bullet Time: Ozymandias uses this to evade an assassin's bullet.
  • Bury Your Gays: Silhouette, who kisses a nurse on V-Day, while a sailor in uniform glances at them and walks by. They strike up a relationship and are eventually found murdered for it. The newspaper lying on the bed with them states she was also kicked out of the Minutemen for it. Which is odd, since there was a gay couple in the Minutemen (though they may not have been "out" yet).
  • Camera Abuse: Silk Spectre walks up to the camera and appears to shatter the lens with a punch. It's then revealed to be Dr. Manhattan's structure on Mars that she actually punched.
  • Celebrity Casualty: Lee Iacocca is among various executives meeting with Veidt/Ozymandius during the 80s when an assassin arrives and makes an attempt on Veidt's life. Iacocca is killed in the ensuing chaos, a full 30+ years before his actual death in 2019.
  • Censor Shadow: Amusingly inverted. Dr. Manhattan's genitals are often obscured (especially in the trailer) by a nimbus of light. Not always, though.
  • Character Exaggeration:
    • More likely to be cited by those who didn't like it. That said, Rorschach is undeniably more forward with his prejudices in the movie. Rorschach's craziness and morbid personality are a little more scaled back in the movie though. In the book he seemed calmer and creepier in his actions (Laurie says he gave her the creeps, even before he went truly crazy), while in the movie Jackie Earle Haley plays him more like a small terrier, with lots of anger and aggression. His facial expression, blank in the book, is a lot more of a scowl in the movie as well.
    • Thanks to the Bloodier and Gorier aesthetic, Dan and Laurie end up mutilating and killing criminals (where in the comic they would leave them with non-permanent injuries at most). This brings their methods much closer to Rorschach's and undermines what Moore intended by creating costumed heroes of differing levels of violence and compassion.
  • Character Filibuster: Adrian's Take That! speech to a big-shot of the oil industry seems to be this, causing the audience to roll their eyes at yet another superhero movie with a message. Turns out it was just a Red Herring to make the audience not notice him checking his watch or suspect that his solution to the energy crisis isn't something else instead.
  • Charles Atlas Superpower: Everyone except for Dr. Manhattan.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • The "free energy" on which Manhattan and Adrian are working. And a few others.
    • The narration itself, when collected into Rorschach's journal and delivered to the right-wing newspaper.
  • City Noir: Rorschach's plotline is fully dedicated to this.
  • Cool Mask: Rorschach's moving inkblot mask.
  • Comic-Book Movies Don't Use Codenames: Averted. Especially with Rorschach, since we don't learn his real name until later.
  • Composite Character:
    • Dr. Milton Glass and his assistant Wally Weaver were merged into one character, "Professor Wally Weaver". Weaver's death is also shown on-screen, and directly references the panel where Jon Osterman's father died.
    • Ozymandias is combined with Captain Metropolis, whose role is significantly diminished. In this version, he's the one who proposes the creation of the Watchmen ("The Crimebusters" in the comic book), and he's the one who presents an ambitious plan for Saving the World to the other heroes — only to get mocked by the Comedian.
  • Contemplative Boss: Veidt assumes this pose in his Antarctic palace (or while receiving the corporate tycoons in his office).
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Adrian Veidt isn't one, but played straight with the oil tycoons who try to make him give up on clean electricity after Dr. Manhattan's disappearance.
  • Couldn't Find a Lighter: The Comedian uses the pilot light on his flamethrower to light a cigar. Made rather amusing by the fact that "Zippo" was a nickname that American soldiers gave the flamethrower in Vietnam.
  • Crapsack World: The world seen from Rorschach's viewpoint.
  • Creative Closing Credits: The opening credits consisting of a series of slow motion shots which won the OFTA Film Award for Best Titles Sequence.
  • Creator Cameo: Zack Snyder has a cameo as one of the American soldiers behind the Comedian in the Vietnam War scene.
  • Crucified Hero Shot: When Dr. Manhattan first materialize in the institution's cafeteria, he takes on that pose.
  • Curbstomp Battle: Ozymandias defeats both Rorschach and Nite Owl II with ease during their final confrontation.
  • Cyanide Pill: Adrian Veidt reaches into the mouth of his would-be assassin to get at his cyanide pill. More accurately, he feeds it to the hitman to clean up that loose end. The whole thing was staged to throw suspicion off Veidt.
  • Darker and Edgier: The film has way more blood and tits than the book. Of course, the book was considerably darker and edgier than its contemporary comics, so exaggerating it for the film is something of a Pragmatic Adaptation.
  • Deadly Delivery: An attack on Veidt which is really Engineered Heroics to keep suspicion off himself.
  • Death by Origin Story: The film has a bit of subtle fun with the Batman ur-example: the very first "still" in the title sequence shows the first Nite Owl punching out the would-be killer of Bruce Wayne's parents!
  • Decomposite Character: Captain Metropolis has his presence reduced, with his role of attempting to found a second group of costumed crimefighters given to Ozymandias.
  • Demoted to Extra: Most of the Minutemen and their backstory is reduced to the bare essentials, but Captain Metropolis suffered the most. In the book, he's a hopelessly naive superhero who forms the Crimebusters in the 1960s and tries to convince them that they can solve all of the world's problems. In the movie, Ozymandias forms the team (re-named "The Watchmen"). Metropolis becomes an unspeaking character who briefly appears in a flashback.
  • Destination Defenestration: That's how The Comedian meets his death in the opening confrontation with the Hidden Villain.
  • Dies Differently in Adaptation:
    • In the graphic novel, Rorschach killed the kidnapper by handcuffing him in his house and set it on fire, leaving him a hacksaw. This was felt to be too similar to Saw, so it was changed to Rorschach blugeoning him to death with a meat cleaver.
    • In the graphic novel, Big Figure's henchman Lawrence has his throat cut. In the film, he gets his arms cut off with a buzzsaw, causing him to bleed to death.
  • Dull Surprise: Malin Åkerman, as Laurie Juspeczyk, gives rather... measured responses to being on Mars and to being told the world will end.
  • Easter Egg: Lots.
    • Veidt's disk has a folder titled "Boys". Veidt's TV wall is full of easter eggs, including "300 Spartans", a porn movie, Apple's famous "1984" commercial, a Marvin the Martian cartoon (possibly a reference to Dr. Manhattan's fate), Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior and a MacGyver episode (the man climbing the parachute, MacGyver possibly referring to Ozy himself).
    • In the opening sequence, Nite Owl I appears to save the Waynes in front of a wall of Batman posters outside the Gotham Opera House.
    • Dreiberg has a copy of Watchmen on his desk.
    • Captain Metropolis and Hooded Justice can be seen staring at each other adoringly in the retirement scene from the intro. It was mentioned in passing in the original comic that those two were secretly lovers.
    • Veidt's Watchmen toyline is made up of the real-life action figures released by DC Direct. However, the ones in the movie are painted in brighter, comic accurate colors.
    • The pirate comic can be seen briefly.
  • Even Evil Has Standards:
    • The Comedian has a mental breakdown when he discovers Ozymandias' plan.
    • Also ironically, in the deleted scene where Nite Owl finds out about Hollis Mason's murder, he beats a member of the gang responsible so hard the guy loses teeth... and Rorschach is the one who tells him to stop — because they're in public (he probably wouldn't have objected if there hadn't been an audience).
  • Evilutionary Biologist: Adrian Veidt: "A world united in peace... there had to be sacrifice."
  • Expy: Minus the long, flowing cape, the one shot of Dollar Bill that we get in the opening credits looks like a stylized version of Golden Age Captain America's suit.
  • "Facing the Bullets" One-Liner: The iconic one from the comic returns here.
    Rorschach: Well, what are you waiting for? Do it... DO IT!
  • Fake American: An in-Universe example is Ozymandias adopting a very convincing American accent in public and slipping into a German one in private, both provided by English actor Matthew Goode.
  • Fan Disservice: Partway through the film, there's a lengthy flashback featuring Carla Gugino in a corset. Unfortunately, she's also being brutalized and nearly raped by the Comedian.
  • Fanservice: The sex scene in the owlship is much more explicit than it was in the book.
  • Fictional Counterpart: The New York Gazette replaces The New York Times in the Watchmen universe. However, other newspapers such as The New York Post remain the same.
  • Film Adaptation (Live-Action): A film based on the graphic novel Watchmen.
  • Fingore:
  • Five-Second Foreshadowing: The last inkblot pattern that Rorschach's mask forms is almost identical to the blood splatter he makes when Manhattan kills him.
  • Foe-Tossing Charge: Laurie and Dan's jailbreak starts out like this, a callback to a similar scene in 300.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • The opening montage includes shots of all the characters, including a young Walter Kovacs watching a man leave his mother's bedroom, and a young Laurie Jupiter watching her parents argue. Both scenes are revisited as important parts of the characters' backstories.
    • In the scene where the gunman fires at Veidt and the tycoons, the light above the elevator that signals his arrival is the same color as Veidt's suit, hinting at who hired him.
  • Freak Lab Accident: The accident that creates Dr. Manhattan.
  • Friendly Address Privileges: Rorschach, to the psychiatrist after his arrest.
    Rorschach: You keep calling me Walter. I don't like you.
  • Fun with Acronyms: Dr. Manhattan and Ozymandias's device is called the Sub-Quantum Intrinsic Device because it takes the place of the squid-monster at the end of the movie. Also counts as an Easter Egg Mythology Gag.
  • Genre Deconstruction: Snyder said his intention wasn't to translate the comics deconstruction of comic book conventions to comic book movies, but by its nature elements of this certainly crept in. Rorschach's voice is about the most extreme Private Eye Monologue you can imagine, especially as this movie was made in the wake of The Dark Knight and talk of Christian Bale's absurdly low and scratchy Batman voice. The costumes of the 1940s heroes are generally made of cloth and leather while the 1980s heroes wear latex and rubber suits, which reflects the changing pattern of Hollywood superhero costumes. Ozymandias outfit in particular has sculpted nipples, a reference to the infamous designs in Batman & Robin. The violence level is also ramped up.
  • Gentle Giant: Dr. Manhattan is a walking tower of muscle, able to explode people, take machines apart and rebuild them with his mind, and live on Mars. Billy Crudup plays him as having a very soft, gentle voice.
  • Germanic Depressives: Veidt comes off as rather dour and bitter, with an aloof smirk the closest to a smile he seems to actually be capable of (in contrast to his much warmer, more genial comic book counterpart).
  • Good Smoking, Evil Smoking: The second Silk Spectre's smoking was absent from the film whereas she was all but a chainsmoker in the comics. The Comedian still smokes cigars in almost all of his appearances.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: Graphically averted.
    • Used during the Prison Riot with Rorschach, given what we see people do on screen it is a rather chilling implication of how bad that guy's fate was.
    • In the intro, there's a brief scene of a bunch of hippies protesting Nixon, facing off against some National Guardsmen pointing guns at them. One of them puts a flower into the barrel of one of the National Guardsmen's rifles, and the camera focuses in on the gun so much we can no longer see the hippies. Then all the guns go off... It's Most likely a reference to the Kent State shootings. With this famous photograph of a different protest.
    • Also used during the cut scene where Hollis Mason is murdered.
  • Grievous Bottley Harm: The pregnant Vietnamese girl using a broken bottle to slash The Comedian's face.
  • Groin Attack: Flashback of Rorschach as a young boy attacking one of his bullies.
  • Hazy-Feel Turn: Dr. Manhattan turning to Ozymandias' side.
  • Helpless Window Death: As with his comic book incarnation, Dr. Manhattan was created when Dr. Osterman ended up being accidentally locked inside an Intrinsic Field Subtractor, leaving him to be disintegrated before the eyes of his horrified colleagues.
  • Heroic BSoD: Dr. Manhattan has one when he thinks that he caused the death of many of his old friends and soon his old girlfriend by giving them cancer.
    Dr Manhattan: I SAID, LEAVE ME ALONE!
  • Historical In-Joke:
    • The Comedian killed JFK, Ozymandias went to Studio 54, and many, many more.
    • The Comedian: "Ain't had this much fun since Woodward and Bernstein." ...Guess that explains how Nixon stuck around.
    • At The Comedian's funeral, "The Sound of Silence" by Simon and Garfunkel plays over the background. That song was written in the aftermath of the assassination of John F. Kennedy, which, in the Watchmen film universe, was carried out by The Comedian.
    • A loose example: the pic of Silk Spectre I's retirement looks like a recreation of ''The Last Supper''.
    • There's National Guardsmen shooting at non-violent protestors through the flowers placed in the barrels of their guns, Norman Rockwell painting the Silk Spectre while Andy Warhol paints Nite Owl, Dr. Manhattan on the moon — and that's just the opening credits!
    • Let's just say the entire opening sequence is one huge Historical In-Joke and leave it at that.
    • Outside of the opening sequence, former Ford president/Chrysler CEO Lee Iacocca is the spokesman for the industrialists who meet with Veidt. He takes the assassin's bullet meant for Veidt, instead of Veidt's assistant.
    • The Comedian replaced Elvis Presley in his picture with Nixon.
  • Hitler Ate Sugar: Averted, where Rorschach uses the valid logic associated with this trope:
    Nite Owl II: Adrian's a pacifist. He's a vegetarian, for Christ's sake. He's never killed anyone in his life.
    Rorschach: Hitler was vegetarian.
  • Hollywood Law: Like in the original comic book, Rorschach was sent to Sing Sing before even being tried for his crimes, while in reality he would be held at Riker's Island until trial. He also would likely be kept isolated from other inmates as a notorious vigilante crime fighter, which is not only for his protection but to avoid an incident like in the cafeteria.
  • Homophobic Hate Crime: In the opening montage, it's shown how Silhouette and her girlfriend were murdered as a result of being lesbians, with "Lesbian Whores" written on the wall over their bodies.
  • Hotter and Sexier: Laurie's costume is tighter and much more revealing than it was in the book. The pudgy, homely Dan Dreiberg is played by a good-looking actor. And the sex scene in the owlship is much more explicit than anything Dave Gibbons ever drew.
  • How We Got Here: The opening sequence showcases just how different their world is from ours as well as the Minutemen's ever-changing lineup.
  • I Call Him "Mister Happy": Dreiberg's is "The Owl".
  • I Did What I Had to Do: This is how Adrian Veidt/Ozymandias justifies exploding bombs in major cities around the world, killing millions, while framing Doctor Manhattan for it. Because it caused the entire world to unite against Doctor Manhattan and back off from global nuclear war, saving billions of lives. To be fair, he's probably not wrong.
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy:
    • The man trying to kill Veidt is a horrible shot. Veidt could've probably stood completely still and been perfectly safe, considering his first two shots aren't even close to hitting him while he's standing still.
    • And much earlier, Rorschach proves he IS completely safe standing still, conveniently framed in a busted window, as a police officer fires at him. Although we see the officer looking startled by Rorschach's abrupt off-screen disappearance from the window, moments before is a shot of the vigilante looking calmly over his shoulder as his face is lit up by the flash, as though mocking the cop's poor aim.
    • And later, Rorschach evades automatic gunfire from a SWAT team in the close quarters of a janky stairwell. Unlike Veidt, Rorschach is not faster than a bullet; but apparently he IS faster than a trained gunman.
  • Inelegant Blubbering: The Comedian's visit to Moloch is full of it, complete with snot and dribble.
  • Info Drop: While the film makes Ozymandias as Ambiguously Gay as possible, the real proof comes from a desktop icon labeled "Boys" on his computer.
  • In Prison with the Rogues: Rorschach gets set up and walks straight into a crime scene with cops tipped off ready to arrest him. He gets put in a prison full of criminals who know and resent him. But they soon learn that if any of them try to screw with him, they'll be lucky to walk away with severe scarring. As Rorschach makes it clear: "I'm not locked in here with you, you're locked in here with me!"
  • In Spite of a Nail: A very minor blink-and-you'll-miss-it example. In spite of the Alternate History, the Mad Max films still get made in this continuity.
  • Intelligence Equals Isolation: Veidt, more so than in the book because he confesses at "[he's] often felt stupid at being unable to relate to anyone."
  • Ironic Echo:
    • Dan finally calls out Rorschach on his Anti-Hero Jerkass behavior, yet later on it's Rorschach who has to rein in Dan when he finds out that Hollis Mason was killed.
    • Rorschach asks his shrink as he puts on his mask, "What do you see?"
    • The opening montage showed among other things, Hollis Mason (Nite Owl I) beating up a mugger. The deleted scene of his death also showed a montage of him beating up criminals.
  • Isn't It Ironic?: One very rare aversion with Nena's song "99 Luftballons" which is a cheerful song about nuclear holocaust. For once, it fits.
  • It Always Rains at Funerals: It rains during the comedian's funeral.
  • It Will Never Catch On: Upon being told about Ronald Reagan becoming a presidential candidate, a newspaper editor dismissed this, asking who'd want a cowboy for president?
  • I Was Quite a Looker: The first Silk Spectre's problem.
  • Jerk Ass Has A Point: Veidt's reaction to The Comedian's "smartest man on the cinder" speech.
  • "Last Supper" Steal: Sally Jupiter's retirement party in the opening credits is framed so everyone is placed like the Apostles in The Last Supper.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall
    Ozymandias: I'm not a comic book villain.
  • Let's Get Dangerous!: Dr. Manhattan doing something akin to a Power Walk when he finally goes after Ozymandias.
  • Light Is Not Good: As opposed to the Eldritch Abomination from the comic, New York City here has a much brighter fate.
  • Lipstick Lesbian: Silhouette from the Minutemen, as seen in the title sequence.
  • Listing the Forms of Degenerates: Rorschach does this early on...
    Rorschach: The accumulated filth of all their sex and murder will foam up about their waists and all the whores and politicians will look up and shout "Save us!"... and I'll look down, and whisper "no."
  • Living Legend: Like the comic, explores the positive and negative aspects of fame + heroism.
  • Ludicrous Gibs: What happens when Dr. Manhattan uses his explosive powers against gangsters, Viet Cong, and Rorschach.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: Silk Spectre II learns that The Comedian is her biological father.
  • Made of Iron: Moreso than in the graphic novel. The main characters are all a bit more "super" than in the book.
  • Male Might, Female Finesse: When Nite Owl and Silk Spectre team up. The former is a heavy-hitting melee bruiser, while the latter employs Waif-Fu.
  • Man on Fire: During the Prison Riot, a random inmate or guard is seen on fire, running around and screaming.
  • Meaningful Name: A bit obvious when you're dealing with costumed heroes, but "The Comedian" is bitterly ironic.
  • Meta Twist: While it's obvious to a modern reader that Veidt is the murderer/guiding force behind the plot of the graphic novel, the book first appeared before comics in general became much Darker and Edgier and it was perfectly reasonable for an audience to assume that Veidt was the honest, caring man he seemed to be. Nowadays, a saintly seeming character in a work otherwise full of grim antiheroes sticks out really obviously as the villain, so in the film Veidt becomes a glacial, aloof, rather sneering figure to actually detract the likelihood of his being the culprit from a newcomer's POV — only for it to still be him. But then it's twisted again in the end by how much less at peace he seems than his comic-book counterpart...
  • Montage: Most of the backstory (the history of the first-generation costumed heroes, and the effects they had on politics and culture) is revealed in a series of Bullet Time or slow motion shots played over the opening credits. It is one of the best treatments of How We Got Here seen in a long time.
  • Mook Chivalry: Notably averted. When the police try to arrest Rorschach, they attack him together instead of one at a time.
  • Mook Horror Show: Members of the Vietcong get massacred by the Watchmen when they participate in the Vietnam War, mostly thanks to Dr. Manhattan. They personally surrendered to him when they gave up.
  • Mr. Fanservice: If anything there is A LOT of male nudity in this movie, A LOT!
  • Mugging the Monster: A steetgang makes the mistake of attempting to mug Laurie and Dan in an alley.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • The supplemental movie material shows Rorschach's mask becomes completely blank, followed by a question mark. This is presumably a reference to his being an Expy of the Charlton comics character The Question. (Moore had originally wanted to use the actual Charlton characters, which had been acquired by DC a couple years previously, but the company didn't let him, hence, the Expys.)
    • In the film, the sharp-eyed viewer can see that the name of the Veidt/Manhattan collaboration has the initials S.Q.U.I.D..
  • Narrating the Obvious: Dr. Manhattan after The Comedian kills the pregnant Vietnamese girl.
    Dr. Manhattan: She was pregnant... and you gunned her down.
  • Necessarily Evil: Ozymandias presents himself far more as this in the film than in the graphic novel, down to standing there and letting Dan beat him up. It was only Executive Meddling that saved him — in earlier drafts, he made Dan promise to protect his utopia and then let Dan kill him.
  • Never a Self-Made Woman: Laurie.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: The trailer for the film made it look like a (relatively) typical superhero movie. Hence the number of parents who mistook it for kid-friendly material.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Completely and utterly averted. Among others, we see John F. Kennedy, Richard Nixon, Leonid Brezhnev, Fidel Castro, Henry Kissinger, Lee Iacocca, David Bowie, Mick Jagger, Andy Warhol, the Village People, and John McLaughlin. This all works to demonstrate the Alternate Universe setting.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown:
    • The Comedian's death. Ozymandias hands Rorschach, Nite Owl and Silk Spectre their asses near the end of the film.
    • And then, unlike in the graphic novel, a guilt-ridden Ozymandias allows Nite Owl to return the favor after Rorschach's death, with a resigned, blank expression.
  • Non-Indicative Name: Even though the Crimebusters have their name changed to prevent confusion, "The Watchmen" are still not the protagonists of the film. They were a proposed superhero team that never actually formed. Practically all of the characters are solo vigilantes.
  • Nostalgia Filter: Lampshaded by Silk Spectre I.
    Silk Spectre I: I'm 67 years old; every day, the future looks a little bit darker. But the past... even the grimy parts of it... keep on getting brighter.
  • Not Enough to Bury: The disintegration of Jon Osterman leaves no traces behind so all they can do is hold a token funeral.
  • Not Even Bothering with the Accent: For reasons never stated, The Comedian speaks with a Southern Accent despite being from New York City.
  • Nothing but Hits: Along with going by the (comic) book and adding just about every song that's quoted in Watchmen, the other music from the soundtrack is also well-known (though not exactly from the mid-1980s which are the setting).
  • Not His Sled: The giant squid does not appear.
  • Not So Stoic: As in the graphic novel, Rorschach is visibly choking up during his death scene.
  • Offscreen Teleportation: When he's interrogated, Rorschach describes an occasion where he threw two objects through windows, yet is able to get inside the house and stand next to the man he threw it at in about two seconds. Rorschach being Rorschach, he's something of an Unreliable Expositor.
  • Ominous Multiple Screens: In his lair Ozymandias is shown viewing a wall filled floor to ceiling with television screens, each showing a different image, in order to demonstrate his ability to pay attention to each one simultaneously.
  • Only Friend: The movie plays up the friendship between Rorschach and Nite Owl more than the comic did. Indeed, after Rorschach leaves to tell the world that Veidt is responsible for the nukes that went off around the world, Nite Owl follows him to try to calm him down and thus witnesses Rorschach's death by Dr. Manhattan which Nite Owl reacts rather badly to. Comic Nite Owl does none of this, staying inside with Silk Spectre.
  • The Password Is Always "Swordfish": Ozymandias' password is RAMESESII.
  • Perfume Commercial: The film opens with the Comedian watching one, creating a huge contrast between its perfection and the rest of the Crapsack World.
  • Period Piece: Justified by director Zack Snyder:
    "I didn't update [the 1985 setting] for a couple of reasons. I thought Nixon was important to the movie. He's not in the movie a lot, but [his presence] says a lot, [especially about] what a villain is. In the graphic novel, he's written with a lot of ambiguity of whether he's a bad guy or not. [Also] if you update this and make it about the war on terror, you're now asking me to make a comment of how I feel about the war on terror. This way, it's up to you how you decide to feel about it."
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: The original comic passed through generations of filmmakers, including the likes of Terry Gilliam, trying to make it into a comprehensible movie. It became famous for being impossible to adapt to the screen. Among the reasons listed is the constantly switching narrative (the first chapter is mostly the perspective of the police investigating Comedian's death), the page layout being too intricately crafted to replicate in a film (the chapter "Fearful Symmetry" mirrors itself in color and layout) and the non-linear order (Dr. Manhattan alone sees time as omni-present, leading to his chapter being about him experiencing all major events of his life at once). The film's solution was to replicate the story as closely as possible, using the comic itself as a storyboard (much like Snyder's adaptation of 300), and streamline the narrative to keep the focus on the principle characters. The antagonist's plot is simplified to reduce the number of new concepts needing to be explained to the audience: instead of Veidt sending a genetically engineered squid upon a major city to scare the world into fearing an alien invasion, he detonates Dr. Manhattan-inspired bombs (of comparable strength to a nuke) around the world to make them fear Dr. Manhattan personally, achieving the same effect of distracting the world from nuclear war and being more open to world peace. This has caused some debate as to its value compared to the original comic, while it may have lost that visceral reaction to such a devastating event, many said it possibly improves upon the original by being simpler and better foreshadowed.
  • Pretty Little Headshots:
    • The assassination of Moloch was clean enough that Rorschach could talk to him at length before realizing his audience was dead.
    • Lee Iacocca shot during the faked assassination attempt on Ozymandias.
  • Prison Riot: Big Figure tries to have Rorschach killed during one.
  • Private Eye Monologue: Rorschach's journal voiceovers.
  • Readings Are Off the Scale: The Antarctica reactor.
  • Real Footage Re-creation: The film recreates the assassination of President Kennedy based on footage such as the Zapruder Film.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech:
    Dr Manhattan: I have walked across the surface of the Sun... The world's smartest man poses no more threat to me does than its smartest termite.
  • Recuts: This movie has two additional cuts, one that adds about a half hour to the run time and a second one that brings the total time to over three and a half hours by adding in Tales of the Black Freighter.
  • R-Rated Opening: Parents who took their children to the big new superhero movie (and somehow missed the R rating) most likely left the theater after watching an old man being brutally beaten up and thrown out of a skyscraper. If not, the opening montage (which includes among others, two dead women with "LESBIAN WHORES" written on a nearby wall in something red that looks very much like it could be their own blood) could be enough.
  • Rule of Perception: Subverted. In the climax, Veidt says he could tell Manhattan could still feel by watching the microtwitches in his face (actually a real-life technique). There's a cut to Manhattan while Veidt continues to voiceover, and it's still his regular expression, as far as the audience can tell.
  • Scary Symbolic Shapeshifting: During the animated Tales of the Black Freighter chapters, the shipwrecked captain appears to physically degenerate as the horror of his efforts to save his homeland weigh upon him, at one point even manifesting Black Eyes of Evil and a grin full of shark teeth. However, though there is a supernatural element of the Black Freighter comic, it's clear that this is intended to be a strictly symbolic transformation given that he appears fully human when he arrives home.
  • Scenery Censor: Very noticeably averted with Doctor Manhattan's nudity.
  • Scenery Porn: As per Zack Snyder's standard.
  • Serkis Folk: Dr. Manhattan — the director described his costume as pajamas with blinking lights on them.
  • Shout-Out:
    • To director Zach Snyder's most famous work:
      • The Comedian is staying in Room 3001, but during the fight with his eventual killer, the 1 gets knocked off, leaving the door reading: 300.
      • Dr. Long (the psychiatrist)'s briefcase also has 3-0-0 as combination number.
      • Veidt is watching The 300 Spartans on TV among other things.
    • The war room is essentially identical to the one seen in Dr. Strangelove.
    • The "File Footage" of Rorschach in the director's cut is a nearly frame-for-frame recreation of the famous Patterson bigfoot film.
    • One of the thugs who attempts to beat up Dan and Laurie in the alley has V's symbol on his shirt. V for Vendetta was another creation of Watchmen creator Alan Moore.
    • A Superman dummy can be seen being burnt during the '70s flashbacks in with the protesting. Which is also funny considering this is also a flash forward on Snyder's film after Sucker Punch.
    • The deleted scene of Hollis Mason's last stand against the Knot-Top Gang is scored to the Intermezzo of Pietro Mascagni's Cavalleria Rusticana, a nod to the two most prominent uses of this piece in a film score: Raging Bull (for the fist fight) and The Godfather Part III (for the flashbacks to the old times).
    • In the introduction, the helicopters flying to "Ride of the Valkyries" during the Vietnam War.
    • One of the screens of Veidt's TV wall in his Antarctic base shows a clip of Lord Humungous from Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior.
  • The Shrink: Dr. Long, who starts out convinced he can help Rorschach...
  • Sir Not-Appearing-in-This-Trailer: There is very little footage of Ozymandias in any of the film's trailers. This is because 90% of his scenes are after he is revealed as The Chessmaster.
  • Sliding Scale of Adaptation Modification: Is both a Type 3 (Pragmatic Adaptation) and Type 4 (Near Identical Adaptation) of the original graphic novel.
  • Slow Motion:
    • The opening. To great effect.
    • Prolifically used during the fight scenes to zoom in on injuries. Even in the sex scenes, to some tropers' dismay. For a Snyder movie, it's restrained.
  • Slow-Motion Fall: The Comedian's death is like this.
  • Snuff Film: The Zapruder Film is incorporated into the opening credits with a tacked-on fictionalized ending that reveals the Comedian to have fired the shot from the grassy knoll.
  • So Crazy, It Must Be True: Rorschach believes Moloch's story about the Comedian's visit.
    Rorschach: Funny story. Sounds unbelievable. Probably true.
  • Son of a Whore: Just as in the comic book, Rorschach's mother was an abusive prostitute.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance:
    • The opening scene of The Comedian's brutal murder with the romantic song "Unforgettable" playing in the background. This was deliberate, as one theme of the story is the eroticism of violence and how, for The Comedian especially, masked heroes only felt alive when they're beating the hell out of somebody.
    • The use of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" during Dan and Laurie's sex scene. The song was already meant to be ironic and melancholy. The use of the word "Hallelujah" in contrast to the general mood of the song only emphasizes its mood, making it even more melancholy.
    • KC & The Sunshine Band's "I'm Your Boogie Man" playing over the Comedian's riot dispersal.
  • Spandex, Latex, or Leather: All three, actually, and more. The 1940s-vintage heroes mostly wore Spandex or its period equivalent (rather amusing are the realistic canvas, silk or cotton home-made costumes, considering that the heroes in question were ordinary people having either a bout of schizophrenia or a surfacing vigilante streak); some of those that didn't — like Silhouette — wore leather. The later Comedian preferred leather body armor, and Silk Spectre II was in latex. (Malin Åkerman famously commented that her costume made her "smell like a giant condom".) Both Nite Owl and Ozymandias wear form-fitting latex resembling what is worn by any Batman in film.
  • Sphere of Destruction: The ending replaces the giant squid monster with spheres of destruction (the first of which releases energy pulses that resemble tentacles) made from Dr. Manhattan's energy destroying New York, Moscow, and other cities around the world, essentially making Dr. Manhattan as the deterrent for nuclear war. However, there is a subtle Shout-Out to the original ending: the system is named S.Q.U.I.D.
  • Stealth Pun: When Nite Owl and Silk Spectre rescue Rorschach from the prison riot, he states he has to go to the "little men's room", then enters the bathroom in which Big Figure tried to hide.
  • Stock Scream: One of the guards in the Prison Riot uses the Wilhelm Scream as he's dropped off the top balcony.
  • Take That!: Updated to target a newer President! The editor of the New Frontiersman responds to Ronald Reagan's candidacy by saying "no one wants a cowboy in the White House!" In the book, he responded to Robert Redford's candidacy with "no one wants a cowboy actor in the White House!"
  • Teeth Flying: Played for Drama in a scene from the director's cut. When Nite Owl learns from a Knot-Top that his mentor Hollis Mason was murdered by other members of that gang, he snaps and punches the man in the face repeatedly, visibly knocking a few teeth loose. The last you see of the guy is him gurgling his own blood which has most of his teeth floating around in it.
  • This Is Reality: Done in the original comic as well but deserving a mention for being kicked up a notch in a humorous allusion to the original comic by having Veidt's "I'm not a Republic serial villain" line replaced by "I'm not a comic book villain".
  • Thou Shalt Not Kill: Rarely for a superhero/comicbook movie, completely averted by the heroes. Dr. Manhattan has a habit of exploding everyone from petty crimebosses to Vietcong, Rorschach is... Rorschach, and even Dan and Laurie have no problems jamming knives into peoples' necks during a bit fight scene.
  • Time-Compression Montage: Snyder shows the golden age of the "heroes", their eventual decline, the rise of the next generation, and the public revolt against "vigilantes", while at the same time throwing in a butt-load of backstory and tidbits from the comic that would have been difficult if not impractical to put into the body of the movie. And sets it to Bob Dylan's "The Times They Are A-Changin'"
  • Title Drop: In the graffiti, as in the comic; and in the name of the super-team-that-never-was (which in the comic was called "the Crimebusters").
  • Token Super: Doctor Manhattan. True to the source material, he is the only hero with actual powers, once again being depicted as a Physical God in an otherwise un-super world.
  • Trailers Always Lie: "Justice is coming for all of us, no matter what we do." This did show up in the Extended Version though.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: Several of the trailers show scenes that tip off the reveal for anyone with even a passing familiarity with the characters. The fans of the comic also have no compunction about dropping major plot points. Said fans include a major webcomic. This is because a lot of the comic's power came from the fact that the plot points were stupidly obvious. Like, if you missed the fact that Ozymandias was going to be the main villain you just weren't paying attention. And it worked anyway.
  • Traitor Shot: Done very subtly. Watch the movie again knowing that Veidt hired his own would-be assassin as part of the plot. Notice that he glances impatiently at his watch right before the gunman arrives, in a very "What's keeping this guy!?" manner.
  • Treacherous Advisor: Veidt's role in the film is given shades of this that weren't in the comic, due to his and Dan's relationship in this version clearly being affectionate and friendly rather than just the acquaintance of former superheroes.
  • Turn the Other Cheek: Veidt, of all people, when he willingly allows Dan to beat him until he's bruised, bleary-eyed and bleeding, as an implicit admission of guilt and self-loathing over what he did.
  • Twitchy Eye: Done twice with Rorschach.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: In the jail break-in scene with Nite Owl and Silk Spectre beating the crap out of the rioting prison inmates who had an officer pinned in his office. The two heroes practically saved his life, and what does the officer do? He tries to arrest them, but gets knocked out for his trouble.
  • Urban Legend:
  • Villainous BSoD: Ozymandias appears to be going through one of these during the last we see of him. He's shaky, staring into space, and looking like he's about to fall over. Of course, the fact that what he did saved the world could make this just as strongly count as a Heroic BSoD. Ozymandias actually confirms this on screen. He is the type of person that despises killing and would not normally ever willingly do it. But the destruction he caused was the only way to prevent global nuclear annihilation (conflict between the US and USSR which was rapidly approaching). He killed millions, to prevent a nuclear holocaust that would kill billions. And he stated that he forced himself to feel every single death and that he would have to live with that burden.
  • Villainous Plan Inertia: Played with; before the big boss fight, Ozymandias informs the heroes that even if they were to defeat him, his plan had already been set in motion and could not be stopped. He's right, of course, and the fight never happens as a result.
  • Visionary Villain: Ozymandias and his vision of world peace bought at a terrible price.
  • Walk on Water: In a commercial for Nostalgia perfume. Which was recognized — and at first thought to be — an actual commercial from The '80s. It wasn't.
  • Water Tower Down: Nite Owl uses his airship's gatling cannon to cut down the supports of a water tower on the roof of a burning building, flooding it with water. Though given that the roof was weakened enough to allow Silk Spectre to crash through it, he was lucky not to collapse the roof and kill everyone.
  • Weapon Stomp: During their final confrontation, Ozymandias steps on and breaks Nite Owl II's gun while the latter is down and reaches for it.
  • Weird Moon: While Mars looks more realistic than the graphic novel's (a pink desert planet), at the same time it has an Alien Sky with Phobos and Deimos being depicted as twin moons large enough to be visible like our moon on Earth, when in reality they're just two asteroids caught in Mars' orbit.
  • What the Hell, Hero?:
    • Group version from Nite Owl II: "What the hell happened to us? What happened to the American Dream?"
    • Another one is delivered by The Comedian to Dr. Manhattan after the Comedian kills the woman pregnant with his child, and Dr. Manhattan does nothing to stop him.
      Manhattan: She was pregnant... and you gunned her down.
      Comedian: That's right. And you know what, you watched me. You could've turned the gun into steam, the bullets into mercury, the bottle into goddamned snowflakes, but you didn't, did you? You really don't give a damn about human beings. You're driftin' out of touch, doc. God help us all.
    • Happens in the present time with Dan and Rorschach, but it ends much more amicably.
      Dan: You live off people while insulting them, and nobody complains because they all think you're a crazed lunatic!
      Dan: I'm sorry... I shouldn't have said that...
      Rorschach: Dan. You are a good friend. I know being around me can be difficult.
      Dan: It's all right. Forget about it.
  • Who Shot JFK?: The opening credit sequence reveals that it was The Comedian, from the grassy knoll of course.
  • Would Hit a Girl: The Comedian. First time when he assaults Silk Spectre and the second time when he and Nite Owl are doing riot control. He also killed a woman who was pregnant with his child!
  • You Are Too Late: Obviously. Our "heroes" tried to stop Ozymandias from killing millions of people. Yeah... the bombs were already detonated.

"Who watches the Watchmen?"

Alternative Title(s): Watchmen 2009


Doctor Manhattan's Origin

Jon Osterman went from being a mild-mannered atomic physicist to the world's first superhero.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (3 votes)

Example of:

Main / SuperheroOrigin

Media sources: