Watchmen

Other mistake: When Silk Spectre visits Night Owl she touches and notes the dusty aircraft under the canvas, as if it hasn't been used for a while. In fact at the start of the movie as the cops are investigating the Comedian crime scene, we see the aircraft hovering and listening in. Also, the aircraft has to go through a body of water each trip it makes, which would wash off any dust.

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Suggested correction: That wasn't Nite Owl's ship hovering near the crime scene at the beginning of the movie. It was just a fancy looking blimp. Not only is Nite Owl just a regular civilian at this point, but the movie also shows him to be having a beer with Hollis Mason at Mason's garage at roughly the same time the crime scene is being investigated. Not to mention that he doesn't even find out about the murder until he gets home later and finds Rorschach in his kitchen. He doesn't use his ship for the first time in the movie's present timeline until a few scenes after Silk Spectre is shown inspecting it.

Phaneron Premium member

Plot hole: Although this film is a virtual jigsaw puzzle of flashbacks, the dynamic between Dan, Laurie and Rorschach pretty much defines the movie's continuity in the present. However, when Rorschach is framed for murder and arrested, he goes directly to a maximum-security prison, apparently without trial, conviction or sentencing (all of which would require months of due-process, at least). Even if this lapse of time is some sort of artistic device to rapidly advance Rorschach's story, there is no corresponding lapse of months in the relationship between Dan and Laurie, which runs parallel with Rorschach's story. Either there is no due process for Rorschach in this story, or there is a glaring plot hole.

Charles Austin Miller

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Suggested correction: Rorschach was a famous and dangerous outlaw. We are talking about an alternate 80's here with Nixon as president and a nation-wide ban on masks (the Keene Act). Rorschach probably faced the death penalty for his long list of crimes, besides the murder he was finally captured for (not to mention to handful of cops he seriously injured whilst trying to evade capture). I don't think it's strange that his trial was quick or not fully by the book. They made sure he was locked away fast and quietly. The justice system probably works a lot faster in a world of masked vigilantes.

lionhead

Yes, Rorschach was a vigilante; but, before masked superheroes were outlawed, Rorschach was also responsible for sending dozens (if not scores) of far worse criminals to prison, thus benefitting society. This much is stated in the film. His contributions to justice would certainly carry weight, and testimony in his favor would have to be considered in any legal proceedings against him. Also, after his capture, authorities were still trying to assess his mental state, which implies that some sort of due-process was still in place. Rorschach should have received a months-long trial, at the very least.

Charles Austin Miller

To be fair, the original, Hugo Award-winning "Watchmen" graphic novel makes the same continuity leap when it comes to Rorschach's fate. Rorschach keeps a secret diary that dates everything, but it egregiously skips over his trial and sentencing, even though the relationship between Dan and Laurie remains consistent. So, we can say that the movie is faithful to the novel, but the novel itself is flawed with a gaping plot hole.

Charles Austin Miller

The cops of that city don't care about his past deeds, which includes dropping the body of a criminal in front of the police station with the message "Never." They don't like him. Not even his colleagues liked him. That was a long time ago too, he's been the sole masked vigilante for a long time and I bet the cops just started disliking him more and more for his antics. Thus, a quick trial.

lionhead

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Rorschach: Men get arrested. Dogs get put down.

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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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