Watchmen

"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 (The Comedian) is murdered, the masked vigilante Rorschach sets out to uncover a plot to kill and discredit all past and present superheroes. Along with Dr. Manhattan, Nite Owl II & Silk Spectre II, they all set out to prevent their own destruction, but in doing so discover a deeper and far more diabolical plot.

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Trivia: During the opening fight scene, Comedian throws a mug at his attacker, but misses. The mug strikes the numerals on his apartment door, knocking the '1' off. This turns 3001 into "300", the name of the director's previous hit film.

johnrosa

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Question: I don't quite understand why Dr. Manhattan had to kill Rorschach. That is, I don't quite get why that was the only solution. Rorschach was a valuable member of the Watchmen, and in the type of world they were in (chaos, corruption, murder, etc) one would think that they would want to keep as many of themselves banded together as possible. Couldn't some sort of negotiation or compromise have been reached/agreed to by Rorschach instead of him being killed?

Answer: He has spent years as a costumed vigilante despite the fact that it was illegal. He has a very strict idea of what is right ("never compromise") and has proven himself incapable of doing otherwise. So no, there was no real chance of negotiating with him - Rorschach himself made it clear he'd have to die if they wanted his silence.

Garlonuss Premium member

Death was not the only choice. Doc M could easily have teleported/banished Rorschach to Mars/anywhere secluded in an oxygen bubble. He could have spared his life and just made him mute or manipulate his brain chemistry/atoms to remove the memory of what happened. The point is Doc M is all powerful and could manipulate matter at his whim; death was just a plot device creating a chance of an emotive martyrdom/sacrificial ending.

Ethically speaking, exiling him to Mars or erasing his memory of the event can be considered just as cruel as killing him, because then his agency is being taken away from him. Rorshach's malcontent with the situation poses a problem for the other heroes, and since Dr. Manhattan isn't willing to let him tell the truth of what happened, he obliges Rorschach's demand that he kill him instead.

Phaneron Premium member

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