Leaving the theater I felt a sense of perplexity.
Opening day of Star Wars normally left me exiting the Cineplex pumped up on a drug called fandom, in search of my next bump.
Someone asked me how I felt. If I liked it.
I said I had no idea. Honest to god no clue. I needed to see it again.
The Last Jedi challenged my understanding of Star Wars, unlike any other film, had done. I went in underprepared. I walked into a lightsaber fight with a blaster.
Some loved it instantly. It grew on others. And there were those that hated it.
There’s no truer collaborative art than film. Not everyone’s going to like the same painting, or the same photograph or the same movie.
Not everyone’s going to like every book by their favorite author.
Not everyone’s going to like every album by their favorite musician.
Yet some fans believe they need to like every movie from their favorite franchise. Scratch that. Some fans believe they are entitled to liking every movie from their favorite franchise.
There’s nothing wrong with not liking a movie. There’s also nothing wrong with honest criticism. That’s the first major step some in the fanboy and fangirl community have stumbled over.
“What did you think of the movie?”
“Why did it suck?”
“The script sucked.”
“What made the script suck?”
“Uh…Rian Johnson sucks.”
This circular conversation reminded me of an episode of The Office, when Andy Bernard said he should become a food critic, stating: “I’m not insightful enough to be a movie critic. Maybe I could be a food critic…These muffins taste bad.”
See, the purpose of offering criticism is to actually offer criticism. “It’s bad,” or “it sucked” isn’t a criticism. Tell me why.
I graduated from an art and design university. Every single project for every single class required me to go up in front of the class, present something I’d worked weeks or months on, and then have the entire class point out exactly what they found bad about it.
If this kind of criticism existed in every other industry, 99% would fall into deep depression and surround themselves with booze and narcotics.
However, Star Wars fandom didn’t run into problems from the inability to properly criticize a film. It ran into a problem when fanboys started crying over their spilled blue milk.
Not liking a movie is fine. You didn’t buy into the premise. That’ll happen. Creating petitions online to have a movie banished from canon? Do you honestly have nothing else to do? I think it’s time for you to move to a state that’s legalized pot because you need to chill out.
Seriously. It’s just a movie.
Others have said: “The Last Jedi ruined my childhood.”
A movie…35 years later…ruined your childhood?
I’ve got news for you. If that’s the case, your childhood was already ruined and it has nothing to do with a movie.
And the thing is, despite a number of film franchises and fandoms, this is truly unique to Star Wars.
DC fans have more or less accepted the only good movies are animated, but they still go to the next flick, hoping and praying.
Marvel fans don’t complain the comic book universe isn’t the same as the cinematic universe. They are fine with that. Yet I’ve heard countless “fans” complain about making a canon Star Wars book “Legend.” Who cares.
Did you enjoy it?
Then move along.
(Amazon actually confirmed to me every copy of The Thrawn Trilogy ships with a pacifier because so many people were crying about it no longer being canon).
Beyond that, Marvel fans don’t file petitions despite 80% of all Marvel movies sharing the exact same plot points. Superhero doesn’t want to do whatever he/she’s called to do, so-called friend joins bad side, good guy comes back, asks person who has an army for army, person with army says no, yet for whatever reason the army shows up, good guy gone bad has change of heart, becomes good in the end, cluster-fuck third act, end movie.
Despite the similarities, Marvel fans still enjoy the movies. They don’t rush out for torches and pitchforks should something come up that doesn’t work. Hell, every other X-Men movie is terrible, but that’s fine. Fans dust themselves off and go to the next one (plus they were gifted Logan, which in my opinion is the best Marvel movie and it’s not even close…but that’s a totally different topic).
The thing that bothers me most of all though, beyond the petitions and the book complaining is the bullying. Bullying to the point The Last Jedi cast members are dropping out of social media.
I grew up during the great void of Star Wars (born in 85). I read the books and wore the t-shirts. I have boxes of unopened action figures in storage. And I was bullied for it. I’d bet most Star Wars kids at the time were.
And now Star Wars “fans” have turned into the very bullies who made our fandom lives hell.
We accepted the bullying as part of growing up a fan and moved on. I refuse to accept someone who bullies another fan or actor because of their love or involvement with the franchise is one and the same as me.
Because we’re not.
You believe Rose was what’s wrong with The Last Jedi.
I believe you’re what’s wrong with humanity.
Congratulations, you turned someone’s crowning achievement into possibly their biggest regret. I hope the same never happens to you.
Because I’m not the same kind of fan as you.
I’m a fanboy.
You’re a fan “boy”.