A Synopsis of "Watchmen" by Warner Bros.

by Rachel Murray
The cast at the premiere of

The cast at the premiere of "Watchmen."

Kevin Winter/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

"Watchmen," released in 2009, was directed by Zack Snyder, who also directed blockbusters such as "300" and "Dawn of the Dead." The movie features Billy Crudup as Dr. Manhattan / Jon Osterman, Matthew Goode as Adrian Veidt / Ozymandias, Jackie Earle Haley as Rorschach, Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Edward Blake / the Comedian, and Patrick Wilson as Dan Dreiberg / Nite Owl. "Watchmen," based on the critically acclaimed graphic novel of the same name, divided movie critics. Some praised its accuracy to the original, but others criticized it for the same reason.

Plot Summary

"Watchmen" takes place in an alternate universe where masked heroes openly fight crime in America. After being outlawed by the government in 1985, the group of superheroes calling itself the Watchmen disband. However, after one of the members, the Comedian, is murdered, the members rejoin to find his murderer and the person intent on eliminating the Watchmen. During their investigation, they discover a deeper conspiracy, involving the Soviet Union, that threatens mankind.


Near the end of the film, Rorschach and Nite Owl discover that Ozymandias was responsible for the Comedian's murder, that he'd faked his own assassination attempt and that he'd framed Rorschach for Moloch's murder. Ozymandias had a plan to create a common enemy to unite the United States and the Soviet Union, preventing a nuclear war. He did this by destroying major world cities and framing Dr. Manhattan. Rather then disrupting the peace Ozymandias has created, the Watchmen decide not to reveal his lie.


Writer Alan Moore and artist Dave Gibbons created "Watchmen," which was published by DC Comics as a 12-issue comic book from 1986 to 1987. "Watchmen" is now reprinted as a graphic novel that received commercial success and critical acclaim. In 2005, Time magazine placed the graphic novel on its list of the 100 greatest novels of all time. "Watchmen" is also the only comic to receive the distinguished Hugo Award for fantasy or science fiction.


"Watchmen" received a mix of positive and negative reviews from film critics. The Chicago Sun-Times' Roger Ebert gave the film four out of four stars and called it a " compelling visceral film ... that evokes the feel of a graphic novel." William Arnold of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer said that "the action is brutal, stylish and well-staged." The "Washington Post" said "Watchmen is a bore," and the "Baltimore Sun" said its "storytelling and image-making lack originality and vitality." The reviews did not keep moviegoers away. "Watchmen" was the No. 1 movie on its opening weekend and had a total domestic gross of $107 million.


Photo Credits

  • Kevin Winter/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images