As Watchmen nears release -- and Heroes/Villains approaches its season debut -- I've heard a lot of stink about the later ripping off the former. Sure, they're both studies in the reasons for and results of vigilanteism. But they approach the topic from opposite directions. Where all the Watchmen (save Dr. Manhattan) are just people in costume, the Heroes all have powers that set them apart from the rest of the world. Heroes explores the pain and suffering superpowers bring as they force their benefactors into vigilanteism -- a classic (if slightly more focused in Heroes) comic viewpoint. Watchmen explores what wanting to be a savior does to normal people.
In the (bent for my purpose) words of Douglas Adams, anyone who wants to be a superhero is ipso facto totally unqualified for the job. Watchmen provides ample evidence for this. The Watchmen wllingly put on their costumes, built their toys, and love what they do. (Or at least love to hate what they do. Or do it out of the need to satisfy some neurotic need from a spoiled childhood. Or because they hate everyone. You get the idea.)
"Classic" superheros like Peter Parker, for example, have their great power (and responsibility) thrust upon them. Parker's humanity remains, which stages an ongoing fight between his needs and the needs of society. Heroes follows a similar path, but focuses on how everyone has a different view on what comprises society's "needs."
And yes, this "master plan" focus does approximate the "master plan" in Watchmen. (I'm being intentionally vague to avoid spoilers for those who haven't read it and/or plan to see the flick.) But I can say this: I personally believe that the "master plan" in Watchmen isn't the point of the book -- not to mention that the "master plan" concept is far from unique to Watchmen.
Anyway, if you'd like to engage further in this discussion, it came up recently in the Watchmen group read thread in the GWC Forum. Watchmen is this month's GWC Book of the Month.