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In the 1930s and 40s, the costumed vigilantes form a group called the Minutemen. Decades later, a second generation of superheroes attempt to form a team as well. Various historical events are shown to have been altered or impacted by the

      For the upcoming animated movie, see Watchmen: Chapter I.

Watchmen is a 2009 superhero movie directed by Zack Snyder. It is a direct adaptation of the critically acclaimed graphic novel of the same name, and is centered around an alternate 1985 in which superheroes have been outlawed.

Synopsis for "Watchmen (Movie)"

In the 1930s and 40s, the costumed vigilantes form a group called the Minutemen. Decades later, a second generation of superheroes attempt to form a team as well. 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 Doctor Manhattan, leads to Richard Nixon's third term as President following the repeal of term limits in the United States. By the 1980's, however, costumed vigilantes 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 Doctor 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 Doctor 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, 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 Veidt 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 Veidt, now wearing his Ozymandias costume 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 major cities around the world with exploding energy reactors he had Doctor 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 Doctor 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. 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.

Appearing in "Watchmen (Movie)"

Featured Characters:

Supporting Characters:

Antagonists:

  • Ozymandias (Adrian Veidt) (Single appearance)
  • Big Figure (Rocky Ryan) (First appearance; dies)
  • Knot-Tops
  • Roy Chess (Single appearance; dies)

Other Characters:

Locations:

Items:

Vehicles:

Cast


Trivia

  • The film was followed by the short Under the Hood, which expanded on the world of the film through TV interviews with various minor characters in it in the 1970s.
  • 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].
  • "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]
  • While the term "Watchmen" is used at various points throughout the film, it is not meant to be the name of the Crimebusters in the film. Rather it's meant to act as a colloquial term for costumed vigilantes, per director Zack Snyder.
Quote1 The original [team] we called the Minutemen, as per the graphic novel. We never exactly say whether or not in the more modern version we call them the Watchmen/Crimebusters. We loosely called them Watchmen as more of a the symbolic name, more than anything else. Quote2
Zack Snyder[[src]]

See Also

Links and References

Superboy Vol 4 69
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