Finally got a chance to do viewing #2 this past week. I watched with a clearer, more critical eye this time, and I think I’ve dug down into what much of the disconnect may be (aside from the stuff I mentioned before about white dudes who can’t see someone unlike themselves as a hero or protagonist.) Short version: It’s about recognizing that perfection is the enemy of progress.
Star Wars is a generational thing. The first two trilogies were created by Boomers for their own 1950s pulp-sci-fi nostalgia, and for two generations of youth: Gen Xers in the ’70s; Millennials in the 2000s. This most recent spate of films, however, is largely being created and driven by Gen Xers–those of us at whom this universe was originally aimed. We’re making these new films in part for our own nostalgia, but also to carry on these beloved stories for our own children. Millennials are involved in this, too, but by and large, we’re doing these stories for a younger generation. Not the kids who were born in the ’80s or ’90s, but the ones born this century–Generation Z (or whatever they’re calling the 21st-century kids.)
This being the case, I think one of the reasons this film is resonating so much with some of us yet not with others is parenting. Yes, some parents dislike it and some non-parents love it, but the overarching themes of the story are particularly aimed at and best able to be understood by people who are now telling these stories to their own children. Most especially, one of the key themes–that heroes are not infallible–is an understanding that’s hard to come by until you’ve had a moment of reckoning with your own failings as an adult who’s supposed to be someone for a child to look up to. Continue reading