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On Friday night, a Comedian died in New York. Somebody knows why. Down there... somebody knows.
Excerpt from Rorschach's Journal, October 13, 1985

Zack Snyder's 2009 adaptation of Alan Moore's and Dave Gibbons' Watchmen.

After almost 20 years in Development Hell (including a script by David Hayter, AKA Solid Snake, and not one, but two attempts by Terry Gilliam), The Movie is finished and has been released, using a script by Alex Tse which preserves some of Hayter's elements. You can see a trailer here if you want a taste. It's incredibly faithful; but like the film as a whole, whether that decision's perceived as a plus, neutral, or a minus varies wildly.

Fox originally held the movie rights and apparently never truly lost them, and so they sued (with the threat of blocking the release), but is instead settling for a cut of the profits from WB. This decision, at least, proved worthwhile for Fox.

The plot is almost exactly the same as the comic, with dialogue and scenes lifted almost shot-for-shot at times. That makes it probably the most correct adaptation of an Alan Moore comic (with the possible exception of the Justice League Unlimited episode "For the Man Who Has Everything"). This in itself has been a point of debate among fans and critics: some like the fidelity; others would have preferred a more Pragmatic Adaptation; others still don't think it's faithful enough. Although it follows the story faithfully, it does not explore the themes and characters in depth, which some claim makes it entirely unfaithful.

This page is for movie-only tropes -- most will be on the main Watchmen page.

Tropes used in Watchmen (film) include:
  • 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. YMMV on the other characters- Carla Gugino as Sally Jupiter is far prettier than how the character was drawn, but Sally is also supposed to have been a bombshell when she was younger, so she's arguably an improvement; Patrick Wilson as Nite Owl II may not look just like in the graphic novel, 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; and 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. Or, y'know, the fact that he's at least ten years too young for the part.
  • Adaptation Distillation: Definitely cut out some subplots to make the film flow more smoothly than the book - although the Ultimate Cut version, which includes Tales of the Black Freighter, is still over 3 hours long, so really... - but retains much of the novel's feel. Some say it ventures into Pragmatic Adaptation territory as the ending is much, much tighter, more logical, and more greatly interwoven into the main plot than "Squidzilla", which involved a random D-plot storyline with characters who appear for perhaps 15 pages at most throughout the entire comic. Specifically, Veidt is shown, throughout the film, to actively be working with Dr. Manhattan on an "unlimited energy source," based on Dr. Manhattan's own energy signature, to replace fossil fuels, which actually was a big concern in the 1980s with the infamous fuel shortages (a major reason why Reagen won in the 80s). His research, business deals with governments, and installations of these energy plants around the world is a big reason why he can't spend time helping Nite Owl and Rorschach look for the "Mask-Killer." Turns out the REAL reason for all of this an epic Xanatos Gambit, wherein dozens of major cities around the world are atomized using this energy, in order to rally the world against a single target - namely Dr. Manhattan. To drive home the plausibility that Dr. Manhattan has gone rogue and become a virtual angry god, he first manipulates events, surrounding people from Dr. Manhattan's past, from the shadows, which culminates in Dr. Manhattan publicly exploding emotionally on live television. So all at once, Veidt: tricks Dr. Manhattan into giving him access to his energy under the guise of an altruistic venture; creates the perfect motivation in the already-fearful public's mind for Manhattan to rage against humanity; creates the perfect crime scenes which simultaneously plants the equivalent of Dr. Manhattan's DNA all over, while erasing any physical evidence of Veidt's involvement in the disasters; removes the only real threat to his plans - Dr. Manhattan himself - from the earth long enough for his plan to be put into effect so that he cannot stop it; blocks him from knowing any of this ahead of time, despite Dr. Manhattan's near-omniscience, by using tachyons derived from Dr. Manhattan's OWN ENERGY. Can we get a nomination for the Magnificent Bastard Of The Century award over here, people!?
  • Adrenaline Time
  • Age Lift: While justified by having the characters in flashbacks between their mid-20s or 40s, with the exception of Rorschach (actor only year older) and Dr. Manhattan (Billy Crudup was 39 during filming, while Jon Osterman was 30 in the flashbacks), all actors are younger than their roles (Malin Akerman was 29, Laurie is 36; Patrick Wilson was 34, Dan is 41; Matthew Goode was 27, Adrian was 47; 36-year-old Carla Gugino and 42-year-old Jeffrey Dean Morgan play two characters in their sixties during 1986).
  • 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...
  • 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 Chekhov's Skill of genre savviness in his first line, interrupts with a slightly annoyed "I'm not hearing a question, Mr. Roth."
  • Author Tract: 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.
  • 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: Nite Owl after Rorschach dies.
    • Laurie has one when she realizes that the Comedian is her father.
  • 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: Oh, yes. Indeed, it is to modern comic book movies what Watchmen was to other comics in its day - brutal and nasty.
  • Book Ends: Begins and ends Rorschach's voiceover.

 Rorschach: Rorschach's journal. October 10th, 1985...

    • Also, the smiley face which is splattered by ketchup, right before.
  • Broken Ace: Veidt, by a margin about six miles wider than in the comic.
  • Bullet Time: Ozymandias uses this to evade an assassin's bullet.
  • Burning Building Rescue: Which somehow manages not to set Silk Spectre II's 3+ feet of flowing hair on fire.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Censor Shadow: Amusingly inverted. Dr. Manhattan's region is 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.Then again, the studios wanted this and Zack Snyder objected to this.
    • In the book, Dr. Manhattan questions the difference between a dead person and a living person, in the company of someone he knows well. In the movie, he asks the question in the live interview.
  • 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.
    • Arguably The narration itself, when collected into Rorschach's journal and delivered to the right wing newspaper.
  • Comic Book Movies Don't Use Codenames: Averted. Especially with Rorschach, since we don't learn his real name until later.
  • Contemplative Boss: Veidt 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.
  • Cowboy Bebop at His Computer:
    • The superhero team is not called the "Masks".
    • The Times (UK) captioned a photo of Silk Spectre II "Sally Jupiter".
    • Web videos from ComiCon - ComicCon for the love of cake - claimed that Carla Gugino and Malin Akerman were playing the first and second "Silk Sceptre", though this could just be a typo.
    • Ironically, the "Crimebusters" super-group convened by Ozy and Captain Metropolis was renamed "The Watchmen" for the purposes of this film, creating an inverse situation.
  • Creator Backlash: As part of his continuing vendetta with DC Comics, Alan Moore put a hex on this film, literally. It worked as well as hexes ever do.
  • 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.
  • Demoted to Extra: Captain Metropolis.
  • The Dog Shot First: The film's Rorschach answers the eternal question, "what if Greedo shot first but his blaster malfunctioned and then Han methodically blew him away anyway?"
  • Did You Just Scam Cthulhu? DID YOU JUST USE THE RESULTS OF SCAMMING CTHULHU TO SCAM THE ENTIRE WORLD?
  • Dyeing for Your Art: Matthew Goode (Ozymandias) usually has dark hair. What you see in the movie is actually a wig (here's a picture of it being applied).
  • 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 (possible reference to Dr. Manhattan's fate) and a Mc Gyver episode (the man climbing the parachute, Mc Gyver possibly refering 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.
  • 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.
  • Fake American: Silk Spectre is played by Swedish-Canadian actress Malin Akerman. 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 raped and brutalized by the Comedian.
  • Fan Service: The sex scene in the owlship is much more explicit than it was in the book.
  • Friendly Address Privileges: Rorschach, to the psychiatrist after his arrest.

 You keep calling me Walter. I don't like you.

  • Fingore: In addition to Rorschach's bone-snapping interrogation methods, in the director's cut, Veidt's secretary's fingers are shot off by the assassin hired by Veidt to kill Viedt.
  • Foe-Tossing Charge: Laurie and Dan's jailbreak starts out like this, a callback to a similar scene in 300.
  • 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.
  • 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 to the point of Gorn.
    • 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, and the camera focuses in on the gun so much we can no longer see the hippies. Then all the guns go off...
    • Also used during the cut scene where Hollis Mason is murdered.
  • Grandma, What Massive Hotness You Have!: Sally Jupiter, the first Silk Spectre.
  • Hazy Feel Turn: Dr. Manhattan turning to Ozymandias' side.
  • 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 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 through the flowers, 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.
  • Hollywood Dress Code: Dan's cardigans, thick glasses and bow ties = nerd. Veidt's very, very Eighties suits = everything you already think about the corporate atmosphere of that era, conveniently packaged with colored shirts with white collars and cuffs.
  • Hot Mom: Sally Jupiter, who is played by Carla Gugino (who is only seven years older than Malin Åkerman, the actress playing Laurie).
  • 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 this guy. 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".
  • 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.
    • In fairness, the hired killer is clearly an amateur, he's rushing the job and firing wildly without sighting, and using a handgun - there's a reason trained marksmen stand stock-still and brace their firing arm when shooting. If he'd managed to hit Veidt while firing like that it would have been sheer luck, not marksmanship.
    • Also, Veidt's smart enough to not hire a competent assassin when he's the target!
  • Informed Ability: You'd think the smartest man in the world would use at least a moderately secure password.
  • 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 anybody."
  • In-Universe Marketing
  • I Was Quite a Looker: The first Silk Spectre's problem.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Veidt's reaction to The Comedian's "smartest man on the cinder" speech.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall

 Ozymandias: I'm not a comic book villain.

  • Light Is Not Good: As opposed to the Eldritch Abomination from the comic, New York City here has a much brighter fate.
  • Living Legend: Like the comic, explores the positive and negative aspects of fame + heroism.
  • Made of Plasticine / Ludicrous Gibs: What happens when Dr. Manhattan uses his explosive powers against gangsters, Viet Cong, and Rorschach.
  • Made of Iron: Moreso than in the graphic novel. The main characters are all a bit more "super" than in the book.
  • Meaningful Name: A bit obvious when you're dealing with costumed heroes, but "The Comedian" is bitterly ironic.
    • Actually it might not, as Rorschach believed that The Comedian got his name because he too saw the "true face of humanity" and decided to become a parody of it.
  • 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, film!Veidt became 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.
  • Movie Superheroes Wear Black
  • Mythology Gag:
    • From the supplemental movie material: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n5WsciSNVS0#t=2m06s Rorschach's mask becomes completely blank, followed by a question mark. This is presumably a reference to his being an Expy of DC character The Question.
    • In the film, the sharp-eyed viewer can see that the name of the Veidt/Manhattan collaboration has the initials SQUID.
  • 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-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.
  • Not His Sled: The giant squid does not appear.
  • Nothing but Hits
  • Not Even Bothering with the Accent: For reasons never stated, The Comedian speaks with a Southern Accent despite being from New York City.
  • 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 Narrator.
  • Outrun the Fireball: Silk Spectre in the Burning Building Rescue.
  • Perfume Commercial: The film opens with the Comedian watching one, creating a huge contrast between its perfection and the rest of the Crapsack World.
  • Playing Gertrude: Carla Gugino and Jeffrey Dean Morgan are only 7 and 12 years older than Malin Akerman.
  • 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 murdered. 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.
  • Readings Are Off the Scale: The Antarctica reactor.
  • 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.
  • Revised Ending: Long story short, no Giant Squid in this version. Instead, Dr. Manhattan is framed for the destruction of New York, Moscow, and several other major cities around the world. Everything else remains the same.
  • 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.
  • Scenery Censor: Very noticeably averted with Doctor Manhattan's nudity.
  • 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, and 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.
  • 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.
  • Sissy Villain:
    • Both Zack Snyder and Matthew Goode are convinced that Ozymandias is gay.
    • "Possibly homosexual. Must remember to investigate further."
      • While the implications toward homosexuality are there, he nevertheless actually subverts the trope pretty strongly. No crossdressing, no makeup, no giggling, not even the vaguest suggestion of an interest in the arts beyond ancient religious objects, and any grand speeches he delivers end up as hard-voiced, snapped TheReasonYouSuckSpeeches. As for his dress sense, it's 1985. And he's still the most formidable hand-to-hand fighter in the story. Gay? Possibly. A sissy? Never.
  • Slow Motion: 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.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance:
    • "Unforgettable" over the Comedian's death scene.
    • Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" during one of the sex scenes. This musical selection also counts for some as Narm.
      • Though Snyder did mean to make the sexings seem ridiculous.
  • 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.
  • Spy Catsuit: Laurie's costume (as opposed to the Stripperific one in the comic).
  • Take That: Updated to target a newer President! The editor of the New Frontiersman responds to Ronald Reagan's candidacy by saying "Nobody wants a cowboy in the White House!" In the book, he responded to Robert Redford's candidacy with "Nobody wants a cowboy actor in the White House!"
    • Another one was earlier, one of the differences between the comic and the movie. In the comic, the assassin came for Veidt when he was alone except for an assistant in a lobby. In the film, his assistant was there, as well as half a dozen executives of oil companies and car companies, and other important figures dependent on fossil fuels, which Veidt is talking about replacing. Those figures include at least one who represents a named Real Life figure, Lee Iacocca, who gets shot in the head. Zack Snyder has said that he has nothing against Iacocca, though, so either the writer just wanted someone famous to get shot or just has something against Iacocca.
  • 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.
    • And the Comedians main weapons are guns, flamethrowers and grenade launchers,
  • 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").
  • Trailers Always Lie: "Justice is coming for all of us, no matter what we do."
  • 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: Shout-Out in the title sequence. When the movie shows Neil Armstrong landing on the moon, he says "Good luck, Mr. Gorsky!"
  • Viewers are Morons: Why Robert Redford was changed to Ronald Reagan when it was announced who would be running for president in 1988.
  • 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.
  • Viral Marketing: Veidt Enterprises had the products - Nostalgia and The Veidt Method - appear. Keene Act informational movies are throughout.
  • 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 Eighties. It wasn't.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Group version from Nite Owl II: "What the hell happened to us? What happened to the American Dream?"
    • "You're lookin' at it!"
  • Who Shot JFK?: 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 (almost hilariously) when he and Nite Owl are doing riot control: he jumps in the middle of the rioters, pauses for a moment; directly in front of him are a woman, a black man and a white man. He punches the girl first, then the black guy then the white, with equal force. Let it not be said the Comedian is not an equal opportunity thug.
    • Don't forget he also killed a pregnant woman!
    • "BUT THAT WAS FUCKIN' WAR!!"
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