Despite some initial skepticism over HBO’s decision to make its own TV adaptation of Watchmen, aka the greatest comic book of all time, the show has been nothing short of a revelation, garnering acclaim from fans and the all-important critics on Rotten Tomatoes.
While the show functions as a sequel/remix of sorts following the events of the Watchmen comic, this adaptation honours the source material while still managing to be its own beast as a searing and unsubtle take on racial conflict.
Now with so much emphasis on racial tensions and politics in a show that’s literally based on a comic book, you’d expect there to be some backlash from the puffy-chested bros who loudly (and often unironically) shout “keep the wokeness outta mah comics!”
And you’d be right actually.
While Watchmen has a glowing 96 percent “Fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes, its audience score is a less-than-stellar 46 percent (at the time of writing) following a bout of review bombing from folks who are complaining about the show’s, uh, “wokeness,” its left-wing political stance, and for turning one of the comic’s major characters and fan favourite, Rorschach, into a symbol for white supremacy.
Look, Watchmen is an excellent adaptation that isn’t without its flaws, but it appears once again that the internet had a knee-jerk reaction to something they clearly have no clue about while parading around and thinking they do.
Fans, particularly those of the original comic by Alan Moore, who are decrying HBO’s TV adaptation for being “woke” and left-leaning seem to conveniently forget how political and left-leaning the source material was. Moore was about as subtle about his political stance when writing the comic as a punch to the face from Nite Owl.
Even more than that, the Rorschach fans kicking up a stink about the show also seem to forget (or just not realise) that the character was extremely *checks notes* racist, homophobic, sexist, and a fascist in the comics.
In short, Watchmen fans are upset with HBO for making a woke comic book too “woke” and for making the problematic Rorschach into a problematic symbol. Make of that what you will.
But we should’ve expected this sort of response given how Watchmen is an adaptation of a beloved comic with a rabid fanbase, some of whom who don’t seem to really understand its underlying subtext.
Without digging too much into spoiler territory, the examination of race and white supremacists by HBO’s Watchmen is a perfect and logical sense continuation from the events of the comics, which honours Moore’s aim of examining the natural conclusion of how the existence of actual superheroes will coincide with real historical events.
After all the recent talk about “woke culture” (not a thing), Watchmen is another example of how the show is merely a reflection of the current culture and those deriding it are the ones who are being left behind or are refusing to accept that times have changed.
And besides, we’re allowed to watch what we want to watch without people review bombing it on Rotten Tomatoes as an act of bad faith. If Watchmen isn’t your thing, there’s plenty of other content out there.