I really enjoyed TROS. I've seen it twice already and plan to go at least once more. I enjoyed the other Disney-era films as well. I hope to see more. I go to the movies to be entertained, and Star Wars has always delivered in that regard. Even the prequels were enjoyable, warts and all, and I still watch them all the time.
But it really seems that movies can't just be treated as entertainment anymore. They're dragged into these stupid internet culture wars (some of it political, some of it just bog-standard nerd wars). Grown people—grown people—took TLJ way too fucking personally. They're having white-hot rage over an entry in a kids' fantasy film series that's about laser sword-wielding space wizards, ragtag rebels, and comically evil Empires. TROS has been better-received, but it's obvious that some people really hate its guts as well. This is all just a rehash of the whole "debate" over the prequels and everything else that induced rage in certain parts of the fanbase. And it's not just Star Wars that gets this treatment, though Star Wars hate is certainly more visible because of the sheer size of the fan base.
I can only imagine what it must look like to an outside observer when they see someone get this bent out of shape over a movie, to the point where many find it necessary to churn out constant hour-long YouTube videos about how much they hate the movie, or to harass the cast and crew on social media, or to storm review sites en masse to bombard a movie's page with 1/10 scores, or to actively discourage others from even giving the movie a chance, or to write rambling manifestos. How did this get to become acceptable behavior? This level of hate towards a movie has gone beyond all reason and sanity, and is nothing short of a reflection of the worst aspects of fandom. I love Star Wars, but it's not something that defines me as a human being. They're movies. Fun movies, but movies nonetheless. If I see something I object to, I can get over it. To paraphrase Lando: I may not like it, I may not agree with it, but I accept it. I don't go on some damn fool idealistic crusade, demanding that directors get fired or whatever, and taking every chance I get to remind everyone how much I didn't like this, that, or the other.
Seriously, being a fan of Star Wars, and especially of Disney-era Star Wars, has been fucking depressing these past two years (although it's been pretty damn depressing in the past as well). It seems like every day I see something online that makes me go "This totally justifies the existence of the internet," only to later see something that makes me go "Okay. That's enough. Time to shut the whole thing down," and Star Wars "discussion" as of late has definitely been part of the latter. Toxic fandom has been an issue for way too long, and it's grown increasingly cancerous in this era of social media that we're in. I just hope that once enough time has passed between the sequels and now that cooler heads will prevail. The fury over the prequels when they were new was arguably just as bad, yet here we are 20 years after The Phantom Menace and people are far less hostile towards them. Nostalgia is a hell of a drug. Maybe in 15-20 years people will grow to appreciate the sequels more, though by then they'd be complaining about some new Star Wars film or show supposedly ruining the franchise forever, just like the fifty other times it was supposedly ruined forever.
It reminds me of Holden McNeil's line in Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back (a film that's now 18 years old):
People tend to get super invested in quality content that they love. The flipside of that is, while their love can be intense, so can their hatred. Two sides of the same coin and all.. There's also a feeling of personal attack if someone dislikes content overs love or if said content has seemingly gone down in quality - it's largely the same with video game consoles. People have some sort of investment in the product (on a personal and/or financial level), and if said product/content/whatever is "attacked" they feel it's a personal slight on them.
We're also just a very bored, overprivileged society as a whole these days. Most of us (at least younger folks) have never known the real hardship of something like war, famine, economic depression, etc, so we turn to frivolous shit to bitch about because that's about all there is these days for many of us in the Western world.. And hell, I include myself in this, and I have been guilty of the same somewhat. Outside of having mountains of student loans up the ass, I'm a pretty comfortable middle class dude with a decent life XD.
I have mixed feelings on this idea of "toxic fandom." I certainly agree that fans should definitely NOT be harassing or flinging insults at people to their face (whether it be the cast or other fans) for most anything related to entertainment - that idea is absurd to me and just screams immaturity and toxicity. But fans simply making youtube videos or ranting about the product ITSELF I think is fine, in fact it's potentially great! Art should be critiqued, as it opens discussion and potentially allows artists and their work to grow and evolve. It's freedom of speech, which is particularly justified in cases where the consumer is spending their time and money on a product. They have every right to voice their opinion, even if it's an extremely harsh or passionate one.
But again, where *I* have beef is if fans are attacking other fans or the artists/performers/content creators themselves - whether it be TLJ fans baselessly claiming "sexism" or "immature manchildren" or whatever to those who (I believe rightfully) weren't keen on Last Jedi, or old school Star Wars nerds attacking the cast, writers, director, or fans of the NEW stuff, etc. Criticize the art all you want. Spend hours on it, be passionate about it, shout it from the rooftops. Hell, this dude on youtube, Mauler, has like a 6 hour critique of the Last Jedi as well as an hour of just raw ranting of each event of TLJ. I'm not terribly proud to admit this but I watched it all and actually found it entertaining lol.
Attack the ART, not the FANS nor the ARTIST (unless said artist is baselessly/unjustly attacking the fans FIRST - which I actually HAVE seen a bit in a few cases lately). That's the separation I make, and it should be the one everyone makes.
We seem to be increasingly forgetting the very simple concept of live and let live. This is particularly worrying, and asinine considering this is seemingly even becoming the case for the harmless ENTERTAINMENT we prefer now...
Last edited by DarthMetalliCube - on 31 December 2019