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Watchmen (Movie)

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Watchmen takes place in an alternate timeline in which masked, costumed vigilantes fight crime in America. In the 1930s and 40s, the vigilantes form a group called the Minutemen. Decades later, a second generation of superheroes attempt to form a team as well, calling themselves the [[
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Movie Details

Tyler Bates

North America:
Warner Bros.
Paramount Pictures

Running Time
Theatrical cut:
163 min.
Director's cut:
191 min.


$120 million

Release Date
March 6, 2009



Featured Characters:

Supporting Characters:


Other Characters:

  • Seymour
  • Detective Fine
  • Detective Gallagher


  • Karnak




See also: Watchmen

Watchmen is based on the 1986 limited series of the same name, written by Alan Moore and illustrated by Dave Gibbons.

"Watchmen" is set in an alternate 1985 America in which costumed superheroes are part of the fabric of everyday society, and the "Doomsday Clock" - which charts the USA's tension with the Soviet Union - is permanently set at five minutes to midnight. When one of his former colleagues is murdered, the washed up but no less determined masked vigilante Rorschach sets out to uncover a plot to kill and discredit all past and present superheroes. As he reconnects with his former crime-fighting legion - a ragtag group of retired superheroes, only one of whom has true powers - Rorschach glimpses a wide-ranging and disturbing conspiracy with links to their shared past and catastrophic consequences for the future. Their mission is to watch over humanity... but who is watching the Watchmen?"


Watchmen takes place in an alternate timeline in which masked, costumed vigilantes fight crime in America. In the 1930s and 40s, the vigilantes form a group called the Minutemen. Decades later, a second generation of superheroes attempt to form a team as well, calling themselves the Watchmen. Various historical events are shown to have been altered or impacted by the existence of superheroes, such as the assassination of John F. Kennedy and the Vietnam War. The American victory in the Vietnam War, due to the intervention of the godlike being Dr. Manhattan, leads to Richard Nixon's third term as President following the repeal of term limits in the United States. By the 1980s, however, the Watchmen have been outlawed due to the Keene Act in 1977, and tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union have escalated the Cold War with threats of nuclear attack.

By 1985, only the vigilantes The Comedian and Dr. Manhattan are active and sanctioned by the government; however, the masked vigilante Rorschach, who refuses to retire, illegally remains active. Investigating the murder of government agent Edward Blake, Rorschach, knowing that Blake was The Comedian, concludes that someone is trying to eliminate masked heroes. He goes off to warn his retired comrades: the emotionally detached Dr. Manhattan and his lover Laurie Jupiter (the second Silk Spectre), Dan Dreiberg (the second Nite Owl), and Adrian Veidt (Ozymandias), but makes little progress.

After Blake's funeral, Dr. Manhattan is accused of causing the cancers afflicting his former girlfriend and colleagues from before the accident that turned him into the being he is now. Manhattan exiles himself to Mars, giving the Soviet Union the confidence to invade Afghanistan in his absence. Later, Rorschach's conspiracy theory appears to be justified when Adrian, who had long since made his identity as Ozymandias public before retiring, narrowly avoids an assassination attempt, and Rorschach himself is framed for murder.

Meanwhile, Laurie falls in love with Dan, having previously broken up with Manhattan, and the two former heroes decide to come out of retirement as they grow closer to one another. After breaking Rorschach out of Sing Sing prison alongside Nite Owl, Silk Spectre is confronted by Manhattan, who takes her to Mars and explains he is no longer interested in humanity, denying her request to intervene. Probing her memories, they both discover that The Comedian is her father. His interest in humanity renewed, Manhattan returns to Earth with Silk Spectre.

Investigating further into the conspiracy, Rorschach and Nite Owl discover that Adrian may be behind everything. Rorschach records his suspicions in his journal, which recounts the events of the story thus far from his perspective, and posts it to a newspaper office. Rorschach and Nite Owl confront Adrian, presumably now Ozymandias once again, in his Antarctic retreat. Ozymandias confirms that he is the mastermind behind The Comedian's murder, Manhattan's exile, and the framing of Rorschach; he also staged his own assassination attempt to place himself above suspicion. He explains that his plan is to unify the United States and Soviet Union and prevent nuclear war by destroying the world's main cities with exploding energy reactors he had Dr. Manhattan create for him under the pretense of providing free energy for the world. Rorschach and Nite Owl attempt to stop him, only to find his plan has already been enacted; the energy signatures are recognized as Dr. Manhattan's, and the two opposing sides of the Cold War unite to combat their "common enemy."

Laurie and Manhattan arrive only to see half of New York City in ruins and realize Ozymandias's plan. They arrive to confront him, only to agree that, with the cessation of hostilities around the world, this conspiracy is best left unrevealed to the public to compromise. Rorschach, however, is unwilling to cooperate, and allows himself to be vaporized by Manhattan as a means of stopping him from revealing the truth. Manhattan shares a final kiss with Laurie and departs for another galaxy.

With the end of the Cold War and the transformation of humanity into a united front, Laurie and Dan return to the destroyed New York City, which is being rebuilt, and begin life anew together. Meanwhile, a newspaper editor in New York complains about how there is nothing worthwhile to print; he lets a young employee look for something to run in a collection of crank letters, among which is Rorschach's journal.



Watchmen is a 2009 film adaptation of Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons' comic book mini series published by DC, directed by Zack Snyder. Set in 1985, the film follows a group of costumed vigilantes as war begins to break out between the United States and the Soviet Union. The film began shooting in Vancouver in September 2007 for release on March 6, 2009. Like his previous film 300, Snyder closely modeled his storyboards on the comic, but chose not to shoot all of Watchmen using chroma key. Following the novel's 1986 publication, the film adaptation was mired in development hell. Producer Lawrence Gordon began developing the project at 20th Century Fox and Warner Bros. with producer Joel Silver and director Terry Gilliam, the latter eventually deeming the complex novel 'unfilmable'. During the 2000s, Gordon and Lloyd Levin collaborated with Universal Studios and Paramount Pictures to produce a script by David Hayter (who set it in modern times). Darren Aronofsky and Paul Greengrass were attached to Paramount's project, before it was canceled over budget disputes. The project returned to Warner Bros., with Paramount handling international rights. Fox is now suing Gordon for failing to pay a buy-out in 1991, which enabled him to develop the film at the other studios.

A DVD based on elements of the Watchmen universe will be released; it will include an animated adaptation of the comic Tales of the Black Freighter within the story, starring Gerard Butler, and the autobiography Under the Hood by Hollis Mason, detailing the older generation of superheroes known as the Minutemen from the comic's back-story. An extended edition of the film, with Tales of the Black Freighter interspersed through the main storyline in a manner reminiscent of the comic, is also possible.

  • There are three known versions of the film, the latter two of which will be released on DVD roughly four months after the theatrical release of the film:
    • (1) The Theatrical Cut, which is 2 hours and 43 minutes long, including ten minutes of credits. Without the credits, this version is 2 hours and 33 minutes long, or thereabouts. It does not include any "Tales of the Black Freighter" scenes, and is considered the "Basic" version.
    • (2) A Director's Cut that has all the scenes removed from the theatrical cut restored, but still without the "Black Freighter" scenes. This version will run roughly 3 hours. This version may be released on DVD alongside the theatrical and super extended cut.
    • (3) The so-called "Crazy Ultimate Freaky Edition" Cut. This version is the Director's Cut plus the "Black Freighter" scenes. This also includes transition footage shot specifically for this version to lead in and out of the Black Freighter scenes. This is going to be around 3 hours 25-30 minutes long. It is not known whether any of "Under the Hood" will be included in this or any version. This could be considered an extended director's cut, since this was the original vision Snyder had of the adaptation. Snyder has stated that this version will also be released on DVD.


  • The first official image from director Zack Snyder - a test shot of Rorshach holding The Comedian's button - was actually hidden in a trailer for Snyder's previous film, 300 . It features that film's associate producer, Wesley Coller, wearing a makeshift mask in front of a composite New York backdrop, and was created as an experiment by Snyder to establish the mood and look of his proposed Watchmen project. Snyder's wife, Deborah Snyder, bet him $100 that no one would discover it, while he was convinced that someone would find it almost immediately. He won.
  • The teaser trailer [1] was released several days online before debuting in theaters before The Dark Knight's presentation. The song present in the trailer is rock band The Smashing Pumpkins's song,"The Beginning Is the End Is the Beginning", an alternate take on their similar song,"The End Is the Beginning Is the End", which was released on Batman & Robin's OST. The theatrical trailer [2] debuted with Quantum of Solace's theater presentation, featuring the song "Take a Bow" by Muse. "Take a Bow" has the same theme of corruption, conspiracy, and apocalyptic consequences like "The Beginning Is the End" and "Pruit Igoe" and "Prophecies" by Phillip Glass.[3][4].
  • Zack Snyder's son Eli Snyder portray's the young Walter Kovacs.
  • Jeffrey Dean Morgan plays Edward Blake, the Comedian. Blake's middle name is Morgan.
  • In the scene where Laurie Jupiter/Silk Spectre II and Daniel Dreiberg/Nite Owl II are attacked by a group of thugs in an alleyway, one of the thugs can be seen wearing a T-shirt with the V-symbol from V for Vendetta on the front.
  • "Ride of The Valkyries" plays during Dr. Manhattan's assistance in the Vietnam war. As well as being a reference to Apocalypse Now, in the book, that particular piece of music is referenced in Hollis Mason's recount of a sad childhood memory in the "Under the Hood" vignette.[5]
  • Sally Jupiter's Retirement party is a recreation of the famous Last Supper by Leonardo Da Vinci.
  • The first trailer for the film, which premiered with The Dark Knight sparked so much interest that it sent the graphic novel back onto the bestseller list. Barnes and Noble Bookstores reported selling out of the novel nationwide.
  • During the opening credits, we see the original Nite Owl I stop a thief. There are Batman/Fledermaus posters hanging on the wall of the alley. We can assume the people he rescues are Mr. and Mrs. Wayne, the parents of Batman, coming out of the theater. Thus, there's no need for Bruce Wayne to become Batman in the Watchmen's Universe.
  • Two particular songs from the 1980s -- Nena's "99 Luftballons" and Tears For Fears' "Everybody Wants To Rule The World" -- appear in the movie to underscore the general atmosphere of the universe that the story takes place in.

See Also

Links and References

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