Watchmen

Comic Vs. Movie

10 Differences Between the Watchmen Comic and Movie

Catch Watchmen Thursday, December 17th at 6P ET/PT on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Warner Bros./courtesy Everett Collection

In 1986, writer Alan Moore, artist Dave Gibbons, and colorist John Higgins upended the public’s perception of comic books. With the limited series Watchmen, the trio created a gorgeously emotional and sophisticated work of comic book fiction that could go toe-to-toe with the most esteemed literary classics. (In fact, Time Magazine placed it on its list of the 100 best novels of the modern era.) So it was only a matter of time before the resurgence of the comic book movie would generate enough momentum to push Watchmen to the big screen — which it did in 2009.

Of course, given such treasured source material, fans (and Moore alike) were understandably wary of the film adaptation and how the paneled page would translate to the moving picture. But by using the comic as an established storyboard, director Zack Snyder was able to maintain much of the look and feel of the original work.

However, there are still multiple differences between Watchmen the book and Watchmen the movie. Before you catch Watchmen on IFC, check out 10 ways the two titles differ from one another. (Note: Spoilers abound!)

1. The level of superhuman strength is greatly increased in the film.

DC Comics/Warner Bros.

DC Comics/Warner Bros.

The original Watchmen story chronicles the lives of average (albeit keenly trained) people who don costumes to fight crime and injustice. Aside from the godlike Doctor Manhattan, caped crusaders are limited to the peaks of human strength in the real world. Comparatively in Snyder’s film, the Watchmen are literally superhuman, with the ability to punch through concrete walls and withstand skull-crushing collisions with marble tables.


2. The Black Freighter subplot isn’t in the movie.

DC Comics/Warner Bros.

DC Comics/Warner Bros.

Acting as both a comic-within-a-comic meta narrative as well as a framing device, the swashbuckling Tales of the Black Freighter — featuring a shipwrecked mariner, an ominous ocean liner, and a raft of dead bodies — provides a metaphor-heavy counterpart to the main plot. But in order to keep the film at a reasonable length, the Black Freighter subplot was scrapped for the theatrical version. (An animated version of the story was released direct-to-video a few weeks after the film’s release.)


3. The character backstories are simplified for the movie.

DC Comics/Warner Bros.

DC Comics/Warner Bros.

Watchmen has a rich and storied history for the main characters, flashing back to conversations and events that directly influenced their actions. Although the novel had over 400 pages to work with multiple storylines, many of them had to be condensed or excised for the sake of the film’s running time. However, Snyder successfully sums up several narratives with a stylized credits sequence that showcases key historical moments with single slow-motion shots, which critics and fans hailed as arguably the best part of the movie.


4. The Keene Act is more important in the comic.

DC Comics/Warner Bros.

DC Comics/Warner Bros.

Along with personal histories, broader world events were pared down in the movie — among them being the law against costumed vigilantes known as the Keene Act. The book presents a fuller explanation for the public’s derision toward superheroes and how it led to their collective retirement as well as four terms for President Nixon. Although a fake Keene Act PSA from 1977 was released as a promotion, the movie barely addresses the legislative ban.


5. Comic book Nite Owl is more vulnerable.

DC Comics/Warner Bros.

DC Comics/Warner Bros.

To go with his paunchy stomach, the book version of Daniel Dreiberg/Nite Owl has character flaws and vulnerabilities that go beyond the physical. He’s not nearly as confident as he is in the movie (you’d never see him grin before a fight, for example) and his fear of Rorschach and Doctor Manhattan is palpable in light of the clear threats they pose to him. And speaking of Rorschach…


6. Rorschach’s character-defining moment is handled differently in the film.

DC Comics/Warner Bros.

DC Comics/Warner Bros.

The original Watchmen places more emphasis on the moment where Rorschach murders the child molester, depicting it as the moment he adopted his halting speech and truly became the deranged sociopath we all know and love. On the page, he cuffs the guy to his stove and sets his house on fire, leaving him to choose whether to hack off a limb or burn to death. On the screen, it’s multiple whacks to the noggin with a meat cleaver.


7. The inherent humor of Watchmen merchandise is lost in the film.

DC Comics/Warner Bros.

DC Comics/Warner Bros.

While warning Adrian Veidt aka Ozymandias of a possible mask-killer, Rorschach notices a line of Watchmen toys on Veidt’s desk and mocks his willingness to “prostitute” his persona for a line of “toy soldiers.” Since Hollywood would never denigrate the possibility of a merchandising tie-in, that mockery is omitted and replaced with Nite Owl happily musing at the tiny action figures on Ozy’s shelf.


8. Silk Spectre’s confrontation with The Comedian doesn’t happen in the film.

DC Comics/Warner Bros.

DC Comics/Warner Bros.

The very complex relationship between the original Silk Spectre and the Comedian includes sexual encounters both forced and consensual — the former of which causes Laurie Jupiter aka Silk Spectre II to publicly confront the Comedian and throw a drink in his face, the latter of which resulted in Laurie. The Comedian is left tongue-tied and unable to inform Laurie of his biological relationship to her. No such scene exists in the movie.


9. Nite Owl doesn’t witness Rorschach’s death in the comic.

DC Comics/Warner Bros.

DC Comics/Warner Bros.

A man of his convictions, Rorschach tells Doctor Manhattan in the book that the only way to stop him from exposing Veidt and his destructive actions is to kill him. Manhattan obliges by disintegrating Rorschach. Meanwhile, Nite Owl is making time with Silk Spectre and misses his death — unlike the movie, where Nite Owl witnesses Rorschach being vaporized and the resulting inkblot stain causes him to scream in angry disbelief.


10. The movie ending’s source of mass destruction is very different.

DC Comics/Warner Bros.

DC Comics/Warner Bros.

In the book, Ozymandias’ master plan to unite the world to fight a common enemy comes in the form of a giant psychic squid teleported to the center of New York City. This plot doesn’t involve changing the public’s perception toward Doctor Manhattan and declaring him the scourge of humanity. This, however, is central to the movie’s ending wherein Veidt’s actions frame Manhattan as a destructive force that needs to be stopped.

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Grow TFU

Adulting Like You Mean It

Commuters makes its debut on IFC's Comedy Crib.

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Jared Warner, Nick Ciavarella, and Tim Dean were once a part of Murderfist, a group of comedy writers, actors, producers, parents, and reluctant adults. Together with InstaMiniSeries’s Nikki Borges, they’re making their IFC Comedy Crib debut with the refreshingly-honest and joyfully-hilarious Commuters. The webseries follows thirtysomethings Harris and Olivia as they brave the waters of true adulthood, and it’s right on point.

Jared, Nick, Nikki and Tim were kind enough to answer a few questions about Commuters for us. Here’s a snippet of that conversation…

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IFC: How would you describe Commuters to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?

Nick: Two 30-somethings leave the Brooklyn life behind, and move to the New Jersey suburbs in a forced attempt to “grow up.” But they soon find out they’ve got a long way to go to get to where they want to be.

IFC: How would you describe Commuters to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Jared: It’s a show about how f*cking stupid people who think they are smart can be.

IFC: What’s your origin story? When did you all meet and how long have you been working together?

Jared: Nick, Tim, and I were all in the sketch group Murderfist since, what, like 2004? God. Anyway, Tim and Nick left the group to pursue other frivolous things, like children and careers, but we all enjoyed writing together and kept at it. We were always more interested in storytelling than sketch comedy lends itself to, which led to our webseries Jared Posts A Personal. That was a show about being in your 20s and embracing the chaos of being young in the city. Commuters is the counterpoint, i guess. Our director Adam worked at Borders (~THE PAST!!~) with Tim, came out to a Murderfist show once, and we’ve kept him imprisoned ever since.

IFC: What was the genesis of Commuters?

Tim: Jared had an idea for a series about the more realistic, less romantic aspects of being in a serious relationship.  I moved out of the city to the suburbs and Nick got engaged out in LA.   We sort of combined all of those facets and Commuters was the end result.

IFC: How would Harris describe Olivia?

Jared: Olivia is the smartest, coolest, hottest person in the world, and Harris can’t believe he gets to be with her, even though she does overreact to everything and has no chill. Like seriously, ease up. It doesn’t always have to be ‘a thing.’

IFC: How would Olivia describe Harris?

Nikki:  Harris is smart, confident with a dry sense of humor but he’s also kind of a major chicken shit…. Kind of like if Han Solo and Barney Rubble had a baby.

IFC: Why do you think the world is ready for this series?

Nikki:  I think this is the most accurate portrayal of what a modern relationship looks like. Expectations for what your life is ‘supposed to look like’ are confusing and often a let down but when you’re married to your best friend, it’s going to be ok because you will always find a way to make each other laugh.

IFC: Is the exciting life of NYC twentysomethings a sweet dream from which we all must awake, or is it a nightmare that we don’t realize is happening until it’s over?

Tim: Now that i’ve spent time living in the suburbs, helping to raise a two year old, y’all city folk have no fucking clue how great you’ve got it.

Nikki: I think of it similar to how I think about college. There’s a time and age for it to be glorious but no one wants to hang out with that 7th year senior. Luckily, NYC is so multifaceted that you can still have an exciting life here but it doesn’t have to be just what the twentysomethings are doing (thank god).

Jared: New York City is a garbage fire.

See the whole season of Commuters right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

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C'mon Fellas

A Man Mansplains To Men

Why Baroness von Sketch Show is a must-see.

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Mansplaining is when a man takes it upon himself to explain something to a woman that she already knows. It happens a lot, but it’s not going to happen here. Ladies, go ahead and skip to the end of this post to watch a free episode of IFC’s latest addition, Baroness von Sketch Show.

However, if you’re a man, you might actually benefit from a good mansplanation. So take a knee, lean in, and absorb the following wisdom.

No Dicks

Baroness von Sketch Show is made entirely by women, therefore this show isn’t focused on men. Can you believe it? I know what you’re thinking: how will we know when to laugh if the jokes aren’t viewed through the dusty lens of the patriarchy? Where are the thinly veiled penis jokes? Am I a bad person? In order: you will, nowhere, and yes.

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Huge Balls

Did you know that there’s more to life than poop jokes, sex jokes, body part jokes? I mean, those things are all really good things, natch, and totally edgy. But Baroness von Sketch Show does something even edgier. It holds up a brutal funhouse mirror to our everyday life. This is a bulls**t world we made, fellas.

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Oh Canada

After you watch the Canadian powerhouses of Baroness von Sketch Show and think to yourself “Dear god, this is so real” and “I’ve gotta talk about this,” do yourself a favor and think a-boot your options: Refrain from sharing your sage wisdom with any woman anywhere (believe us, she gets it). Instead, tell a fellow bro and get the mansplaining out of your system while also spreading the word about a great show.

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Dudes, that’s the deal.
Women, start reading again here:


Check out the preview episode of Baroness von Sketch Show and watch the series premiere August 2 on IFC.

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Happy Tears

Binge Don’t Cringe

Catch up on episodes of Documentary Now! and Portlandia.

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Photo Credit: GIFs via GIPHY

A brain can only take so much.

Every five minutes, all day, every day, ludicrously stressful headlines push our mental limits as we struggle to adapt to a reality that seems increasingly less real. What’s a mind to do when simple denial just isn’t good enough anymore?

Radical suggestion: repeal and replace. And by that we mean take all the bad news that keeps you up at night, press pause, and substitute it with some genuine (not nervous, for a change) laughter. Here are some of the issues on our mind.

Gender Inequality

Feminist bookstore owners by day, still feminist bookstore owners by night, Toni and Candace show the male gaze who’s boss. Learn about their origin story (SPOILER: there’s an epic dance battle) and see what happens when their own brand of empowerment gets out of hand.

Healthcare

From Candace’s heart attack to the rise of the rawvolution, this Portlandia episode proves that healthcare is vital.

Peaceful Protests

Too many online petitions, too little time? Get WOKE with Fred and Carrie when they learn how to protest.

What Could Have Been

Can’t say the name “Clinton” without bursting into tears? Documentary Now!’s masterfully political “The Bunker” sheds a cozy new light on the house that Bill and Hill built. Just pretend you don’t know how the story really ends.

Fake News

A healthy way to break the high-drama news cycle is to switch over to “Dronez”, which has all the thrills of ubiquitous adventure journalism without any of the customary depression.

The more you watch, the better you feel. So get started on past episodes of Documentary Now! and Portlandia right now at IFC.com and the IFC app.

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