Watch Patton Oswalt Trash (and Defend) the Watchmen Movie

Illustration for article titled Watch Patton Oswalt Trash (and Defend) the emWatchmen/em Movie

It was a weird thing when the Watchmen movie came out in 2009. There it was, a cinematic adaptation of one of the most-loved superhero stories of all time and… it was bad. Mostly, according to comedian and uber-nerd Patton Oswalt, because it was too much like the comics it was based on.

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At an appearance in New Jersey's Word bookstore—picked up by ScreenCrush— Oswalt took questions while on stage with actor Patrick Wilson, who played Night Owl in Zack Snyder's big-budget movie. For the most part, Oswalt's responses to a fan's question about Watchmen won't be that big of a revelation to fans of Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons' seminal superhero drama. But it's great to see him bounce those thoughts off of Wilson, who offers great insight on what it was like to embody a character that existed in both visual and written forms.

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DISCUSSION

This still boggles me.

I like Watchmen the comic and Watchmen the movie almost as much.

My actual belief? Hardcore fans would never have liked the movie anyway for any number of petty reasons, while mainstream audiences just wouldn't like it PERIOD even if it was 100% faithful.

Because, let's be real, mainstream audiences love stupid, blunt, colorful superhero action movies (and I do too and proudly own all the Marvel Universe movies), but Watchmen is not that film. It's dark, moody, thought-provoking, anachronistic, and harshly cynical. It is actually a strong anti-superhero story that deconstructs "heroism" and shows the psychosis, instability, societal pressures, and intolerance that would drive a normal person to dress up in a gaudy costume to punch muggers in the street on a nightly basis.

And audiences didn't want that in this day and age. It can be both good AND unpopular.