The whole story was there, more or less. The major plot points were covered. The squid wasn't there, but had they included it, along with the subplot covering the scientists or the recurring Black Freighter comic (speaking of which, why are they even bothering with it if they said they haven't filmed the squid ending? Wasn't it one of the big ties to it? I'm guessing they're doing it to appease the fans and being a big animation geek I'm looking forward to it but...still) it would probably have left the movie in a bigger, muddled mess than it might have been. So I can forgive the absence of the squid. Still wish they could have left the city in corpses as it had been in the comic.
The story was definitely there, but you know what? The humanity wasn't.
This showed especially in the action scenes. It's forgivable for characters like Ozymandias, the Comedian, and, to a lesser extent, Rorschach, characters we're supposed to be shocked and awed by, but for characters like Dan and Laurie who we're supposed to sympathize with and/or relate to, it...really cut off that connection. We see Dan and Laurie reaching heights of brutality that only the Comedian and Rorschach should be seen to do, and while this could serve as a deconstruction of the superhero in being "See these good guys? Yeah, they're good, but are they any better than the baddies they're going against?" but it's never treated as such. Never even get much "Geez, did we really do that?" out of either of them. It stole the thunder away from the acts committed by the Comedian and Rorschach, and stole the thunder away from the scene of Ozymandias catching the bullet. Not to mention it'll also steal away the thunder from the (I assume) scene in the extended cut of Dan strangling one of the citizens for information on Mason's murder, resulting in Rorschach, of all people, intervening him.
Even little things, like Rorschach twisting his ankle and unable to get up to fight off the police after he'd jumped from the window or Laurie in tears with mascara running down her face, holding the gun with two hands when she's about to shoot Veidt, being discarded altogether took away from what the original comic was intending, as being about superheroes portrayed as humans--complex, flawed, and ordinary.
What else. It needed a better soundtrack. Or rather, it needed to break the habit of playing music over certain scenes, rather than letting the scene quietly play out itself. Really, the only times the music should have been used were in the opening credits (easily the best part of the film) and in the background, being played by other citizens. The slow-motion wasn't gratuitous as it was in 300, but it was mostly unneeded and the slow-to-fast technique looks damn silly no matter how you slice it. The ambiguity from the Sally/Blake subplot was gone. Laurie needed a better actress. They also needed to keep her smoking habit in. Veidt's actor wasn't bad, but I still stand by my statement that he needed to BEEF IT UP for the love of God.
On to the positives. Dan was perfect. I was somehow more impressed with him than I was with Rorschach (though he, too, was great), probably because he and Hollis Mason were the closest ones to hitting home run with the comic's intention and giving the film a sense of humanity, even after he had to participate in some ridiculous action scenes. Dr. Manhattan looked great, the BLUE PENIS wasn't too distracting, and his voice ended up growing on me. The Comedian was good. The whole film was visually fantastic. Had I not read the comic and had I come in anticipating a popcorn flick, I probably would have devoured the whole thing, no complaints.
IN CONCLUSION: The Incredibles was a better Watchmen movie than the Watchmen movie was.
And that's my maybe controversial opinion of the year.