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Oh Yeah! Two Other Things I Hated In the Watchmen Movie!

I should pretty well cap any Watchmen movie talk with this, lest I make this a recurring feature, but here are two annoying things about the movie that I totally forgot about earlier.

1. Okay, were they seriously saying that Ozymandias gave Janey Slater and Wally Weaver cancer as part of his plan? Did I get that straight? If so; seriously?

2. I understand why they didn’t want to keep Moore’s lift of a scene from Mad Max (was pretty clever of Snyder to make that one of the things on the big screen behind Ozymandias, though), but I didn’t really care for Rorschach going all Jason Vorhees on the child murderer. And, when I get to the point of criticizing the way a sociopathic vigilante violently dispatches of a child murderer, it’s probably time to abandon this topic entirely.

47 Comments

I agree about his handling of the child murderer. I liked the original version better. It was a much more deserving fate.

I have a bone to pick with your #1.

On page 24 of chapter XI, Veidt says that Janey Slater, Wally Weaver, and Moloch were hired by Dimensional Developments — a subsidiary of Pyramid — where they were exposed to radation and given cancer as a calculated part of Veidt’s plot to get Dr. Manhattan off the planet.

You got a problem with that, you got a problem with the source material, my friend.

Yeah, I was pretty sure that Veidt did actually give at least Janey Slater cancer in the book. My memory said that Weaver just happened to die of cancer himself and Veidt just used that fact, but my copy of the book is loaned out at the moment and Eric’s cite above includes Wally in the list, so I guess I’m misremembering.

But yeah – the Janey Slater getting cancer from Veidt thing is part of the original story IIRC. The dude was a monster – he was willing to kill of thousands of people for his vision of peace – what’s giving a few people cancer compared to that?

Re: #2

When I told my girlfriend about the original “Rorschach vs. child murderer” scene, she mentioned that it might be because Synder didn’t want to look like he was copying Saw and such movies. I still think that’s bull since it was in the source material and predates Saw and any other similar scene, it was probably Synder just cutting down for time/using a less faithful but more direct kill.

Uncle Joe Mccarthy

March 8, 2009 at 8:33 pm

didnt need to do the saw or the mad max thing…but couldve still burnt the molester alive

it is much more theatrical to have rorshach walking away as the molester is screaming while being burnt alive, then it is to watch him hack away

I remember at some point during my first read through thinking that Wally and Janey got cancer from working in the lab where Jon had his accident, but subsequent readings have made it clear that Veidt gave it to them.

Tom Fitzpatrick

March 8, 2009 at 8:37 pm

I think the burning of the child molester/killer and watching the building burn down would have had a much better effect that the chopping of the blade.

I suppose that if given more theatrical time, maybe Synder would have done it that way.

I’m almost positive that Snyder had Rorschach kill the murderer that way, because he didn’t think he could get away with showing him kill a dog, but still wanted to include the line about feeling the “impact of the blow up his arm, etc, etc.”

I think they changed the Rorschach scene to more clearly illustrate that it was this moment that Rorschach’s mind snapped. Yeah, not exactly subtle, but…

I honestly don’t think Rorsharch was a bad guy (or a sociopath actually), and the way the he handled the child murderer (though it was different from the comic) was very fitting to his character (though I too liked the original method). And personally, even though it was intended to be his mind “snapping”, to me it just felt like that was the day he took on a darker perspective. Thus allowing him to do many of the brash and violent things he does. If anything, Rorsharch was more of a hero than anyone, in my opinion.

Also, as for Ozymandes. He wasn’t a monster at all. The film did portray him in a way I feel doesn’t reflect the comic. He was a ultilitarian. And if you go by utilitarian standards (the most good for the most people) than what he did is perfectly rational. I don’t agree with it at all, as I am of the opinion humans would revert back to killing anyway, as it is clearly in our nature.

Anyway, that’s my two cents.

I’m pretty sure that the comic implies Veidt gave Wally Weaver cancer too, besides Janey Slater and Moloch who were certainly killed by him. Even though Wally died already in the seventies, the book depicts Veidt as a meticulous and patient planner. He originally came up with his plan to save the world in the first and only Crimebusters meeting, and spent the next 15+ years setting the wheels in motion. Killing Wally years before Janey and Moloch kinda makes sense, because if all three had gotten the cancer at the same time, Dr. Manhattan (or someone else) might’ve found that a bit suspicious.

Was the exploding wall of televisions anywhere in the original text? Because otherwise, that’s a nice tip of the hat to Terry Gilliam, who was supposed to direct Watchmen a couple of decades ago, and the opening credits to Brazil:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DUzn8tobguk

Why isn’t anyone talking about the 2 big problems in the film?

When did the Watchmen photo get taken? The meeting ended in everyone storming out….did they take it at the start? Despite the meeting, was there some Watchmen team up time later? (one of the RPG supplements posits this with the Crimebusters)

The ending breakdance battle between Ozy and Rorshach was cut….might be saving it for a sequel. (http://scavgraphics.deviantart.com/art/Watchmen-2-Electric-Boogaloo-114886763)

One of the things that bugged me: Adrian catching the bullet is a lot less impressive when he appears to be wearing body armour.

“Was the exploding wall of televisions anywhere in the original text?”

The wall of televisions was in the comic, but I don’t remember them “exploding” even in the movie… A few of them got broken when folks were fighting Veidt, but I didn’t see any explosions.

My fault for being vague — not the wall of TVs at Karnak, but the…I guess stack of television is the better terminology…in the shop window, over which someone is grafitti’ing the words “Who Watches the Watchmen” at the end of the opening credits.

After he finishes, someone tosses a molotov cocktail into them, if I remember correctly.

Agreed that the Rorschach thing was handled very poorly (I wanted to hear him say “Mother”)…it really lacked the impact you got in the comic, of someone who didn’t just decide that murdering murderers was justified, he decided that he could impose his own moral order on the universe, free of guilt or fear, because all of society’s rules were empty and meaningless. I just didn’t get that enough from the movie.

But yes, Veidt gave those people cancer in the comic–and others as well. They don’t give names, but Roth mentions something like fifteen close associates of Doctor Manhattan who have developed terminal cancer over the years. (And of course, Roth and Nova Express are also owned by Veidt’s firms, something I don’t think they had a chance to mention in the film.)

I was more dissapointed that they cut out Rorscach’s monologue. I really wanted to hear Haley deliver “Bloodstain on chest like map of violent new continent” and the rest of it. What we got was so much duller. “If god saw what happened that night, he didn’t seem to mind” carries so much less philisophical weight when compared to “Looked at sky through smoke heavy with human fat and god was not there”.

Le sigh. But for the casual movie-goer like a friend of mine who saw the movie with me, Rorschach’s ultimate character came across well and is no less poignant as a whole. You still get what you need to get about the man without every single bit of narrative dialog that’s in every issue. Not only that, but they remembered to leave in the most poignant moments, the best and most memorable lines, and the stuff that makes you go “okay wow, this is how this character thinks.” They could’ve easily omitted the stuff about Rorschach’s distaste for “liberals and free thinkers” or his negative comments about homosexuality to appease the modern audience, but they didn’t! In the there’s no denying that we get the full length and breadth of this character.

Preston: While the comic does predate the Saw movies by 20 years, people who haven’t read the comic won’t know that. The movie has to be made to appease both fans of the comic and people who aren’t familiar with the source material. The latter would’ve seen Rorshach’s origin as derivative if Snyder hadn’t changed it the way he did.

And like Ryan said, while the specifics may not be the same, the spirit of Rorshach’s origin story is the same. His character isn’t changed in any significant way, so, imo, complaining about how he killed the child murderer is just splitting hairs.

Actually, there are a few things that bother me with some of what’s been discussed between the two threads. I’ll start with what’s directly relevant here:

I was disappointed with the murder of the child molester as well. Here’s why: In the comic, the idea is that Rorschach is born when Kolvacs does the murder. The thing about the murder sequence in the comic (chaining the guy, handing him a saw, and burning the place down and then watching it) is that it shows a deliberate change in the character; we know that the character has thought about exactly what he is doing, has it planned out, and he does it anyway, giving the villain a chance to escape if he’ll only mutilate himself to do so.

The scene in the film came across as a random act of rage. Rorschach is furious because of what has happened, and only after the villain admits it, he slices him up. Visceral, yes, but it had a “heat of the moment” feel to it that didn’t seem to indicate any permanent change (really, the guy’s confession is what sent Rorschach over? He had it figured out…why not just gut the guy when walks through the door in Snyder’s version? Why chain him? It makes little sense to me…It could have been Nite Owl doing the same thing and the effect would have been the same to me).

The other scene is Laurie’s conception. I think Moore spells it out pretty clearly that she was conceived through rape, yet Snyder (probably for reasons tied to the ratings board…see the movie “This film is not yet rated” for why I’m saying that) doesn’t go through with it and sugar coats it with the weak “one time affair” line. Why does this bother me? It’s not that I want to watch rape on screen or get some joy over seeing women abused. The problem is, we have a film with buckets of blood, brutal murders, full nudity 90% of the time for one character (even if he is blue), sex scenes with partial nudity with other characters, death on the scale of millions…

…yet we (the American movie public) can’t handle the idea that a character was conceived through a rape. So we have to change it to something less squeamish or controversial. Ridiculous. Why go balls out on everything else, but we have to change that part of the story, apparently for no other reason I can think of than a rating and/or what people would think? I think it goes to Silhouette’s death in the open as well (really, they were laying in bed in a nurse’s uniform and full costume and shot? We can’t handle the idea of lesbian sex? Unreal).

Plus, I think it hits Laurie a lot harder in the book piecing that together. There are reasons why characters are written with back stories that make them what they are. It may seem like a nitpick, but when you make changes like that, you’re basically saying “You can’t handle this”, and it’s annoying.

On a lighter note, it sucked that Bubastis only showed up at the end as a freaky looking cat. It would have been cool to get some backstory on that instead of suddenly seeing a freaky cat show up for no clear reason.

Good film overall, and I wish they could have done more with Rorschach’s back story/chapter 6 (seeing the psychiatrist fall apart was one of the best parts of the book), but some of it just seemed weak (Dan’s tossing Adrian around at the end was another thing…we have to give people a heroic ending of some kind in a story where the whole point is how unheroic and ordinary super-heroes are).

Did anybody else notice Sally Jupiter yelling, ‘I should have had that abortion!’ while beating her daughter?

I mean, anybody besides the people in the theater who heard me yell, “Abortion and child abuse together slap!”

What the fuck?!

Otherwise, it turns out I was all over this. It was a fun movie.

Actually, in the original she wasn’t a rape baby. Not only was it mentioned as a one-time affair in the book, but the attempted rape happened way before Laurie’s birth, and when she yelled at The Comedian at a banquet after discovering what he had done he said “only once” in a sad, quiet, regretful voice. IMHO, the best Comedian moment and something that should have been left in and would have given him a shot at best supporting actor. But I digress. A fairly major part near the end was Laurie coming to terms with the fact that somewhere along the line her mother had forgiven her father.
On another note, I think that Silhouette and her girlfriend were shown in uniform so that people could tell in that few seconds that they were the same people from the earlier scene. I assume that they were feeling a bit kinky and were then interrupted before they got the costumes off.
Finally, on Bubastis, she wasn’t shown much more in the book. I was surprised by how little she was there last time I read it. She’s just so cool that you assume in your memory that she showed up more. My annoyance with that scene was that she was called “Clair.”

I don’t agree with Rawinder that it’s just splitting hairs, not when you factor in all the other grotesquely amputated limbs, compound fractures and explosions of blood.

Overall, across the board. it’s obvious that Snyder greatly increased the graphic depiction of violence from what was in the book. Further, by OOMPHING the sound and the intensity of the blows, he celebrated the violence.
Compare the movie’s beating of the muggers to the book, basically the same sequence occurs but the tone is completely different. Laurie and Dan appear to enjoy the brutality in the movie (that was my sense on Saturday, anyway, I’ve only seen it once ). Didn’t they give a nasty little grin to each to each just before the compound fracturing and neck-breaking began?
Remember in the book how they were gasping and shaking after the fight, talking about how weird they felt after the adreneline rush, etc. Moore made it clear that these were trained fighters, yes, but trained fighters who hadn’t fought in a very long time. And, other than Rorschach breaking fingers, and the Comedian of course, the Watchmen in the book didn’t appear to be enjoying causing irreparable physical damage. And, in the book, Moore and Gibbons made it clear how the two violent Watchmen were both badly scarred, physically or emotionally, by violence.

Here, as another response said, it all felt just like another Batman movie.

It seems that if a director wants to have impact on a 2009 audience they feel that they have to show graphic depictions of dismemberments, amputations, eye gougings, castrations, or other such brutalities. The younger members of Saturday night’s crowd were indeed oohing and ahhing at the most visceral scenes, so I guess Snyder would call it a success. I had managed to convince my wife to accompany me, a woman who shuns most Hollywood crap and virtually all superhero stuff, by telling her that this would be something different.
Next time I don’t think she’ll believe me.

What really annoyed me was showing two lesbian characters kiss and then slaughtering them so vividly. The message: you gay, you die.

Thanks, Snyder…

Dan – it was Rorschach’s mother who said “I should’ve had that abortion” not Laurie’s.

Dalarsco – Not sure where you get the idea that Bubastis was called Clair? He calls her Bubastis quite clearly at one point, and then says “sorry,girl” when he kills her. Other than that I don’t think anyone even mentions her.

@Dan Felty

I believe that was Rorschach’s mother slapping a young Rorschach and yelling, “I should of had that abortion.”

I disliked the scene of Rorschach dispatching the kidnapper for much the same reason Blackjack did: It was out of character. Rorschach does not lose control. Ever. The world is chaos; he is not, and he does not yield to chaos. Disposing of the kidnapper in a premeditated execution shows control. “But he’s becoming Rorshach,” I’m sure people will say. No, he became Rorschach the second he realized what happened to the girl and he viciously attacks the dogs. By the time the kidnapper returns, Kovacs is gone and Rorshach is all that remains.

Similarly, Spectre and Nite Owl’s battle with the gang was out of character — they come across just as bad or worse than the thugs do.

The jail cell dismemberment was simply stupid. In the book the other henchman stabs the trapped henchman before cutting the bars. This should have been handled the same way — the least the “nothing personal” thug would do is provide a quick death.

Ryan,it’s possible to be both a utilitarian and a monster at the same time.

Yeah, you’re right, and it’s in the comic. Thanks!

@Kane: The same thing happened in the book. Silhouette was outed, kicked out of the Minutemen for PR, and then murdered.
@Rhod: Lol, I guess I misheard “girl” as “Clair”.
@ Bryan Long: I disagree about the jail scene. It never made sense in the book that they would bother killing him if his corpse was still there getting in the way.

Michael Mayket

March 9, 2009 at 3:17 pm

I saw this last night and just sort of laughed at #1 that a guy on a comic site doesn’t know what’s in the comic, but whattayagonnado?

The only thing I truly hated was that horrid cover of Desolation Row over the closing credits… oh and Moloch’s ears. I realize Gibbons gave him those ears, but having to see it on Frewer was just so wrong.

Dalarsco, I’m completely in agreement with your last statement. I had the same conversation with a friend.

With Big Figure and his goons, it’s Moore/Gibbons that don’t actually make any sense. In the comic, they kill the guy, but he’s still hanging there, in their way. In the movie, they kill him to get him physically out of the way, so they can cut the bars. Gory or not, that seems to make MUCH more sense than his murder in the book.

If they hadn’t killed Lawrence in the book, that meant they would have had to put up with him in agony while burning through the bars. That isn’t a casual thing to tolerate

Cutting Lawrence’s arms off in the movie was probably why they decided not to have Rorschach leave Grice handcuffed in the building set on fire with a rusty saw. The rest of the gore of the movie would have cut the drama of that scene if it stayed true to the book.

But having Rorschach hatchet that guy was so much less Ditko/Mr.A than leaving him only to cut off his own leg to escape.

I hated this movie, And it’s because of scenes like Rorschach with the child molester that I hated it.

Rorschach hatcheting the guy in the head repeatedly is a perfect example that Zach Snyder just didn’t understand the tone of the book he was trying to adapt. Rorschach snapping and repeatedly hatcheting the guy after seeing what he did doesn’t show what a lunatic he was. It shows a slight sense of insanity, yes, but I’m sure every moviegoer who sees this movie while most likely look at as “He snapped, plus the guy totally deserved it”

You’re not supposed to be able to identify with his actions. You’re supposed to be aghast at them. I’m pretty positive that was Moore’s whole idea on Rorschach (The extreme dark objectivist hero taken to it’s logical conclusion). But you don’t get that if you think his actions were justified.

Chaining someone up and setting them on fire is so much more visceral and awful. Plus as someone mentioned above it shows malice aforethought . It drives home how fucked up he is. Combine that with killing the dogs (Which are simply animals with no evil intentions) and you’ve got a better understanding of his character. Take that away and you loose everything about him, and he becomes instead of a realistic portrayal and character study, into an anti-hero. I don’t know how many people I heard referring to Rorschach as “Badass” when I left the movie theater. Which completely misses the point.

This is all a symptom of Snyders hard-on for violence. It was clear in 300 but it fit the tone of the book. But it doesn’t fit for Watchmen. If Snyder had showed a man set ablaze in graphic detail the audience would have been horrified. Instead they walk out thinking that Rorschach is admirable. That just shouldn’t be.

“I think Moore spells it out pretty clearly that she was conceived through rape”

He doesn’t, actually. When Laurie accuses Comedian of trying to rape her mother, he says “Only once…”, implying that the second time when they had sex (when Laurie was conceived), it was consensual. I can’t remember the exact issue or page number, but I’m certain Sally admits this in the comic too.

“What really annoyed me was showing two lesbian characters kiss and then slaughtering them so vividly. The message: you gay, you die.”

I thought Snyder’s (and Moore’s, since Silhouette was killed in the comic too) intention was to criticize homophobia, not homosexuality. Silhouette was killed in an era when homosexuality was illegal and hate crimes against homosexuals were quite common. Of course the movie suffers from the fact that all the other gay characters in the comic book (the lesbian cab driver, for example) were left out… So I can sorta understand why someone would find it suspicious that the only gay character in the movie is killed immediately after she “comes out”.

EtcEtcEtc, the same complaint was made about Moore’s portrayal of Rorschach in the book. Moore intended Rorschach to come across as despicable but many readers saw him as admirable. Part of this has to do with the ending. Rorschach is the only one who wants to expose Ozzie’s plan, which obviously can’t last for more than a couple of months unless Ozzie fakes more alien attacks, but Moore lacked the guts to go with an ending that made sense for Watchmen- they get there too late, the US mistakes Ozzie’s alien for a Soviet attack and a nuclear war results.

I agree that the idea Veidt’s plan would actually work is kinda far-fetched, but the ending you describe would’ve been thematically very different from the ending Moore wrote. Watchmen is fiction, and fictional stories don’t always have to have the most obvious ending if the writer can persuade the reader to take the leap of faith needed to accept a less plausible ending. Just because Moore didn’t go for the most obvious ending doesn’t mean he “lacked the guts” to do it: the ending we got simply fits the themes of the book better, even if it isn’t altogether credible.

Yeah, but Moore’s ending is troubling for another reason- it’s not how comic book characters usually deal with utopias created by a villain. In Avengers 219-220, the Avengers free Ba-Bani from Moondragon. In the X-Men/Alpha Flight series, the X-Men and Alpha Flight thwarted Loki’s plan. In Emperor Doom, the Avengers free the world from Doom. Each of these decisions resulted in the deaths of countless innocents but they were justified on the grounds that people are better off in the long run making decisions for themselves that under the control of a psychopath. In Watchmen, Rorschach is the only character who takes that view. So instead of concluding that our heroes are crazy like Rorschach, many readers concluded that Rorschach was the hero.
And yes, there’s a difference between,for example, suspending disbelief that Peter Parker gets his powers from a radioactive spider and suspending disbelief that a plan to kill millions of people could actually create a better world. No one in real life thinks that people can get super-powers from radioactive spiders. Plenty of people have thought that it’s possible to create a better world by killing millions of people and the harm they’ve done to humanity is immeasurable.

Moore doesn’t want to suspend disbelief that a plan to kill millions of people would result in a better world. He leaves that moral judgement for the reader to make, hence you have the famous closing line of the comic. What I meant by “leap of faith” is that it it requires some suspension of disbelief to accept that Veidt’s plan would’ve worked at all, even if it only leads to a temporary peace.

As for the characters in Watchmen not reacting to the utopia as superheroes generally do: isn’t the whole point of Watchmen that these characters aren’t like the superheroes that preceded them? There are no heroes in Watchmen, no one to clearly identify with. Rorschach is generally a despicable character, but a lot of the readers symphatize with his refusal to accept Veidt’s utopia. That doesn’t mean Rorschach is a hero any more than Veidt is.

I haven’t seen it yet. I’ll probably wait till I can download it, as I don’t think it’s worth going to the cinema for it.

The reviews have been average, though comic blogs have been surprisingly kind to it. From what I can tell though, they’ve all gone in expecting it to not live up to the comic, and have therefore found themselves pleasantly surprised rather than disappointed.

The movie is, apparently, quite faithful to the source material, though it had to cut quite a bit even though it’s a long movie. But if it’s the same as the comic without quite fitting in all the little details, then what’s the point? And if it were to be too different from the source, what would be the point then? When adapting a “graphic novel”, I don’t think you can win. Things like Batman and Spider-Man, where the creations have thousands of stories and your job as a writer/director is to capture the (a) spirit of those creations and translate them for film. You’re able to tell an original story while still being able to claim that you’ve remained faithful to the source. With books, such as Fight Club, you’re able to create a unique visual interpretation of the story (Of course, I sometimes question whether this robs people of their chance to use the description and their imagination to create a visual. Anyone who reads the Lord of the Rings now will imagine Elijah Wood as soon as Frodo appears). But graphic novels are already visual so, again, you have to stay fairly true to the source and you don’t really bring much to the table (except maybe some slick Snyder-esque fight scenes).

I think it’s also likely to hurt the graphic novel once all the hype dies down. There are some who hope that the film will get people into comic or book stores to further investigate the medium of comics/graphic novels. This never happens. In fact, the existence of the movie will make it less likely that new readers will pick up the masterpiece that Moore and Gibbons created. Who’s going to struggle through a dense graphic novel when they can watch an action film? The question is who reads the Watchmen now that we can all watch them?

I know some great movies have been adaptations, like Clockwork Orange. But this is unlikely to be achieved with graphic novels (V for Vendetta was okay, but it didn’t touch the original). We can all see that, while Watchmen is widely regarded to be the greatest graphic novel of all time, the movie will never even be on a Top 100 list. Similar to how I felt about The Hitchhiker’s Guide, the book is a candidate for the greatest ever, but the film, while enjoyable, is quite forgettable. (Somehow Peter Jackson pulled it off with Lord of the Rings. Though I don’t think the movies touch the books, there is a consensus among critics and fans that they are some of the greatest movies ever made.)

So that, in a very concise nutshell, is why I won’t watch the Watchmen. Though I’m glad it doesn’t suck.

Citizen Scribbler

March 10, 2009 at 8:46 am

Honestly, I still don’t get why Manhattan had to kill Rorschach. After all, Ozy seems momentarily contented to allow him to live, with the very sensible position that nobody would ever believe him (although he says it like a total jerk and even incorporates a pun into the remark).

And when Doc and Ozy have their final conversation, Doc doesn’t even have the stones to confess what he just did, saying something like, “I strongly doubt Rorschach will ever reach civilization”. Yeah, Doc. Not unless they scrape him up off the snow that you splattered him across! It was unnecessary. Can anyone please explain why Manhattan had to kill Rorschach anyhow?

By the by. I was under the impression that a sociopath (which I’m told is a discarded term these days) is someone who intentionally likes to hurt people and society for their own pleasure- particularly the innocent, like a serial killer. I don’t think Rorschach fits in that category, even if he enjoys punishing those he believes are guilty.

-Citizen Scribbler

@Dalarsco: You misunderstand my point. I’m saying that even these thugs would do — Lawrence? Is that his name? — the faint courtesy of providing him with a quick death BEFORE hacking through his arms. In the comic, they cut his throat before using the arc welder to melt the lock. And that is why they didn’t move his body before getting started — they used an arc welder in the comic, not a saw. They killed him because having him scream and thrash from the heat would have delayed them. So they gave him a “mercy” killing. The movie scene is unnecessarily graphic while not making much sense at all — it adds nothing but gore. You might argue that Figure and the thug had no knives or stabbing implements, which is more plausible, but they could still choke Lawrence, snap his neck or cut his throat with the saw.

Any way I look at it, it’s an unnecessary change that brings nothing to the table. And that’s pretty much true of all of the changes that added more gore.

And I don’t disagree with every change — frankly, with a bit better exposition, Ozymandias’ plot in the movie is more plausible and certainly tighter that the plot in the comic. It simply wasn’t outlined very well.

I’m with you on #2, for much more specific reasons: leaving the bad guy inside a burning building was a Ditko trademark on Mr. A (and I think he had the Question do it once or twice too– though whoever was scripting may have put in a caption to the effect of “good thing the cops showed up and arrested them as they were escaping the blaze!”). Switching to a hatchet murder means missing a pretty clever link to the character’s origins.

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