"I don't mind being the smartest man in the world, I just wish it wasn't this one."
Adrian Veidt is a former superhero and billionaire industrialist who draws inspiration from his hero Alexander the Great and the Egyptian pharaoh Ramesses II, for whom he is named. A child prodigy, Veidt graduated from high school and college before he was 18 and learned the art of lying as he hid the full scope of his brilliance for most of his childhood after being accused of cheating. When he inherited his family's fortune upon his parents' death in a car accident, Veidt gave it away to see if he could be a success by himself. Veidt traced Alexander the Great's path across the globe and ultimately returned to the United States, where he became a successful businessman.
With most superheroes being depicted to having superhuman strength and fighting abilities, he is portrayed as the most physically powerful out of all normal heroes. He was also barely fazed when repeatedly punched by Nite Owl II, showing no pain or discomfort, as it he did not even feel the attacks. He also showed no pain when he had a bullet lodged into his hand when he caught it as it was being shot at him. He also had great speed, enough to effortlessly catch a butcher knife at point-blank range, dodge gunfire by running and with acrobatics, and move his hand into the path of a bullet at point-blank range, lodging it in his palm.
- Genius Level Intelligence: Veidt has been deemed the "smartest man in the world" by many, mainly the media, though this title is deserved. Veidt deftly built both a legitimate and criminal empire from nothing and made it large enough to become a global threat through his exploitation of advanced technology and genetics. In one scene, he is shown viewing a wall filled floor to ceiling with television screens, each showing a different image, in order to demonstrate his ability to pay attention to each one simultaneously. From the juxtaposition of these numerous images, he is able to deftly paint a picture of the current political and social climate, from which he can predict future trends and make plans accordingly.
- Master Tactician:An excellent schemer and manipulator, with an ambition matching his intelligence, Veidt managed to successfully execute a plan to help Earth towards utopia by ending international hostilities between the United States and the Soviet Union and maintained secrecy about it for several years. He is shown to be a ruthless master strategist, swiftly eliminating anybody who dares to get in the way of his plans, while maintaining a facade of a billionaire philanthropist.
- Master Scientist: Veidt is a master scientist, well versed in genetic engineering and quantum physics. His mastery of genetic engineering is so great, he was able to create his pet, Bubastis, along with creating the S.Q.U.I.D..
- Master Engineer: Veidt is well versed in mechanical engineering as demonstrated through his creation of a variety of inventions such as energy hydrants, created designs that utilized Doctor Manhattan's energy, and his creation of Karnak in Antarctica.
- Peak Physical Condition: Veidt is depicted at the pinnacle of human physical ability, to the point of being able to mentally calculate physical reaction times, anticipate the pull of a trigger, and reflexively catch a bullet. While not technically superhuman, Veidt's extremely muscular and athletic physique (and resulting nigh-superhuman physical prowess) makes him immensely physically powerful by normal human standards.
- Peak Human Strength: Veidt has and can, by properly utilizing physical forces, momentum, and leverage (as well as his knowledge of anatomical weaknesses and undergoing frequent extremely intense strength-and-endurance-based exercises), easily generate low-level superhuman strength. Veidt has been able to effortlessly lift men as large as the Comedian above his head with both hands before throwing them through the air, smashed through stone and solid wood with one hit, send people flying through the air several feet with his attacks. Being attacked by him is almost like being struck by a vehicle, to the point where it may be fatal. This causes his attacks to be heavily weakening and debilitating to anyone he fought, including the Comedian, Nite Owl II, and Rorschach, all of whom are also portrayed with similar strength and physical prowess.
- Peak Human Durability: Veidt is also exceptionally durable by human standards due to his intense training during his travels and the years before becoming Ozymandias having made his skin, bones, and muscles far denser than an average human. Veidt is barely fazed when repeatedly punched, showing no pain or discomfort, as if he did not even feel the attacks. He also showed no pain when he had a bullet lodged into his hand when he caught it as it was being shot at him.
- Peak Human Speed and Agility: Ozymandias is incredibly fast and agile, and has demonstrated an almost superhuman nimbleness and agility enough to effortlessly catch a butcher knife at point-blank range, dodge gunfire by running and with acrobatics, and move his hand into the path of a bullet at point-blank range, lodging it in his palm.
- Peak Human Reflexes: Veidt has incredibly fast reflexes as demonstrated when he reflexively caught a bullet with his bare hand.
- Master Acrobat: A world-class athlete, Veidt does acrobatic performances in aid of charity events, performing excellently despite being in his mid-forties.
- Master Martial Artist: Veidt is a superb fighter, martial artist, and almost superhuman unarmed combatant, able to subdue Rorschach and Nite Owl II with little effort. His only defeat came early in his career at the hands of the Comedian, something he never got over. With the sole exceptions of Doctor Manhattan and the Comedian, Ozymandias was easily the most dangerous of the crime fighters of the 20th century due to his fighting skills alone. His fighting abilities are such that even Rorschach was wary of facing him in combat.
- Master Businessman: Veidt is a remarkably gifted businessman and financial analyst. Veidt deftly built both a legitimate and criminal billion dollar empire from nothing and it became large enough to become a global threat through his exploitation of advanced technology and genetics. He came to found his own shell companies, like Pyramid Deliveries and Dimensional Developments for his illegal activity.
Adrian has short blond hair that is always neatly kept, bright blue eyes, fair skin, and a muscular yet lean body. In his civilian life, Adrian normally wears nice business suits, sporting the colors purple and yellow.
His Ozymandias costume is a golden bodysuit, slightly covered in purple robes. He has purple shoes, a gold headband, a gold belt, and a long purple cape that connects to his robes. He used to wear a purple mask, but after his retirement, he decided to go without because everyone knew his true identity.
Adrian Veidt had an extremely colorful personality which gave him the large reputation of being caring, conscientious and a pacifist, who was a vegetarian and never resulted in killing during his cases, although he had to change his stance by killing innocent people so as to not leave any traces of his plan. He was one of the most respectful and consistently left-leaning of the superheroes and as a mogul, he was known as a benevolent philanthropist. Critics included the right-wing New Frontiersman, while the Comedian called him "an intellectual dilettante that dabs in national affairs that shouldn't concern him".
He studied science, art, religion, and philosophies. Futurology is one of the most interesting subjects for him. He likes avant-garde music like Cage, Stockhausen, Penderecki, Andrew Lang, Pierre Henry, Terry Riley. He also likes electronic music, like Jamaican dub.
Despite his caring, pacifistic and conscientious demeanor, Veidt actually kept his true colors hidden from anyone else, and it came out to light when he confronted with his former friends at his house.
Veidt's true nature was revealed to be that of an extremely arrogant, egotistical and cold individual which appeared to be the ultimate personification of destruction following the reason that his plan is known to be destructive, and that is Veidt's best-known feature which is that his destructive personality knows no limits, and even if he is aware to the dangerous consequences of his plan, he doesn't show even a little bit of compassion, mercy or even thought about the innocent lives which his plan is taking part of, which means that he is truly sinister and psychotic individual. However, it is important to remember that Veidt is not a sadist because that even if he doesn't show any compassion or mercy towards the innocent people that he wipes out in the path, he is not enjoying their deaths or their pain, but he indeed enjoys seeing that his plan succeeds, and this is what he likes; success.
In addition, he indeed showed to be an extremely megalomaniacal individual sharing crazy god complex, seeing himself as a real god, maybe the god of wisdom, and this is his greatest weakness; his amazing intelligence, following the reason that if other individuals which are superheroes like he was. His second weakness is his overconfidence and arrogance, which he is showing it the most, and this thing can be a really sharp tool for enemies in order to defeat him.
- He is a modified version of the character Thunderbolt from Charlton Comics. Both are trained to mental and bodily perfection in the East.
- His name recalls the famous poem by Percy Bryce Shelley, which takes as its theme the fleeting nature of empire.
- When Dan Dreiberg gains access to Veidt's computer by finding the correct password, one can see a file named "Boys", a possible reference to Veidt's supposed homosexuality (briefly mentioned by Rorschach in the comics).
- During the final confrontation with the other heroes, Dan condemns Veidt's plans by proclaiming that he has defiled mankind with his actions, his plan in the film focusing on framing Doctor Manhattan as the cause of the attack rather than the alien invasion of the comic. However, the project is referred to as S.Q.U.I.D. on one of the computer terminals, which alludes to the squid-like mutation that was teleported to New York in the novel.
- In a tongue-in-cheek, during the final confrontation with Rorschach and Nite Owl II (before Silk Spectre II and Doctor Manhattan arrive), just before Ozymandias reveals that his ultimate plan is already in action, he remarks that he is "not a comic book villain," to which Rorschach tilts his head at (the original line in the comics is "not a Republic serial villain", the old pulp films of the 1930s, but the reference might have been lost on a modern audience).
Behind the Scenes
- Matthew Goode plays Veidt in the film, in which, much like in the comics, he is the main antagonist. During earlier pre-production and attempts to make the film, Tom Cruise and Jude Law (a fan of the comic) both expressed interest in playing the role, but they left the project after several delays and budget cost issues.
- Goode was not familiar with the comic when he was cast, and read it at the urging of his friends. He joined the critical consensus, saying "it's the best graphic novel out there".
- He had his own interpretation of Veidt's backstory, in that he gave up his family's wealth and traveled the world, becoming a self-made man because he was ashamed of his parents' Nazi past. Notably, Veidt seems disturbed when confronted about the Comedian's death, he says the man was a right-wing fanatic and practically a Nazi (not a label Veidt would give lightly). Goode suggested Veidt disguised his German accent to highlight the themes of the American Dream and the difference between one's public and private personas.
- In the film, Veidt's costume is a parody of the Batman costume worn by George Clooney in the 1997 film Batman & Robin.