02558: Fickle Fandom

Star Wars Celebration (the 1st) - fans in costume via Wikimedia Commons

With the release of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, opinions about the movie have been largely positive with the exception of some vocal critics. Many folks have weighed in on why the movie works with caveats why it may not be so great when it comes to specific points.

But I've seen more than one person discuss on social media that somehow the negative sentiments related to the movie have sometehing to do with more fervent fans of the series. And as a pretty serious Star Wars fan who loved the movie, I can't help but take personal offense at insinuations that fandom would somehow lead to automatically disliking the movie.

To be fair, the movie was clearly designed to jar audiences given how it tried to subvert various tropes of the Star Wars franchise in rather innnovative ways. Rian Johnson knew what he was doing when he crafted this story and by doing created a movie that was bound to divide opinions as it tried to force new life into the franchise. It didn't want to get trapped in the patterns that had become too familiar to everyone and had the audacity to do something new.

But a lot of the disagreements around the movie seem to tie more to nostalgia and old ideas put forward by what is now termed as Legends material from the old Expanded Universe. Not appreciating the new canon set in place when Disney took over the reins of the Star Wars franchise helpd inspire a lot of the complaints about the movie, in my opinion, and that's just a shame.

To be a geek is to be passionate about something whether it's a TV show or a movie. It's a celebration of something and one that is shared with like-minded fellows and it's sad when that passion is used to justify pseudo-elitism and divisiveness within fandom communities. We can be so much better.

For now, I can only advocate people to enjoy the movie for what it is and look at it mainly in the context of the other movies in the series. Not all the moving parts fit perfectly well together but that can be easily forgiven because of the larger cinematic experience created by such forms of entertainment.