Tonight I went with my two husbands and my son to see Star Wars: The Last Jedi. I watched my friends slowly post their thoughts on Facebook over the last couple days, and in the build up to the movie release as well. I saw a lot of negativity in my feed due to Star Wars, and not just this year; in 2015 as well when The Force Awakens was released. There was negativity about Rogue One too, though that seemed to be less.
Star Wars is not the only franchise this centers around. It seems any trilogy that comes out (Hunger Games, Divergent, Twilight) is subject to criticism. Not to mention all the Marvel movies that have been created over the past decade. It seems you can trace this all the way back to 1999 when X-Men became a thing in theaters. Though back then we didn’t have the cyclone of negativity and echo chambers that is Facebook.
Even with all these other movies, though, Star Wars seems to be at the top of most people’s lists of “things I need to complain about until I die”. The following are my thoughts on that, and they don’t cancel out someone’s right to dislike the franchise or a particular movie, but rather I’m just hoping to bring some of the positive aspects to light.
First of all, fellow geeks, do you realize what a glorious time we’re living in?? Do you understand that now is the time of the geek? The nerd? Because it is. I’m thirty-five years old. I remember when being someone who read too many books, liked Star Trek or Star Wars (or ::gasp:: both!), or read comic books was a total loser. You were picked on and degraded and no one looked at it as cool. But NOW? Now is our time! I’m reminded of the quote from 21 Jump Street, “Liking comic books is popular, environmental awareness, being tolerant. If I was just born ten years later, I would have been the coolest person ever.”
Tonight at the previews before Star Wars there were ads for a Marvel movie about the infinity war, a movie based off a book I’ve loved since I was a child (A Wrinkle in Time), and the second Jurassic World movie. Psst! I remember dinosaurs being geeky as well, folks. That’s no longer the case. Now we are surrounded by choices in entertainment that offer geekdom as a healthy thing, a relatable thing, a “cool” thing. We’re at a point in time where there are at least ten Marvel shows you can choose from on Netflix, Hulu, or cable. There are at least seven DC shows available in the same ways. There is almost too much entertainment for us to choose from.
All of this is not to say that you can’t hate a movie. You can. It’s a free country and freedom of speech doesn’t just mean “speech everyone agrees with”. So hate on the new Star Wars movie all you want, but while you’re doing that, think over what it took to get us here. I just watched Star Wars….in theaters….with my 8 year old son whose face positively lit up to see “the scroll” start up on the screen. At the end of the night he said it was the most amazing movie. I’m a bit older than him and a bit more cynical. I had issues with the movie. I won’t get into them now. That’s not what this is about.
As geeks, we should be grateful for the era we are living in. This is our time, ladies and gentlemen. We have so much at our fingertips when we search for something of interest to us. Why hate on Star Wars when you can find the positive in it? Why kill someone else’s joy when you can find something to love instead? Why post about how much you hated something when we are so damn fortunate to have these new movies?
I wish I could say this is our time and just our time, but unfortunately it seems instead it’s the time of the ungrateful geek, and I refuse to be one of them.