‘The Last Jedi’ was a Star Wars movie that ended up polarizing its fan base when it took lots of risks with its unique storytelling and choices that was different for one of the most lucrative movie franchises of all time. In the movie, the story progresses immediately after the end of its predecessor ‘The Force Awakens’ with the presumed protagonist Resistance fighting for its last strands of survival. They were being chased to oblivion by the antagonist The First Order, who were remnants of the vanquished Empire from the Original Trilogy. Upon discovery of a tracking device within the Resistance ship, the movie portrays the attempts by the Resistance to thwart the First Order from totally destroying them. Parallel to the movie’s narrative is the training of Rey, a nobody with the Force trained by one of the veterans of the original series Luke Skywalker. The Resistance believed that Luke will be instrumental to them winning the war with the ‘evil’ First Order and hence was counting on him to help them just as he saved the day in the first movie of the original trilogy. However, Luke beaten by his demons (from a failed assassination bid on his nephew once he found that the latter was moving away from his teaching to the evil side) chose to sacrifice himself by projecting himself across the galaxy to distract his nephew as the Resistance fled to its safety. This portrayal of heroism was unusual to the Star Wars fan base who reminisced how Luke took down the Death Star in the original trilogy and were astounded by the former’s meekness this time around. As a result, the hugely successful movie polarized the fan base so bitterly to this day.
The portrayal of heroism in this movie was duly summed up by one of the supporting characters within the movie, who goes by the name Rose where she mentions:
We have always been taught that any war is fought with a clear black and white narrative — good vs evil. There is a clear definition of who the good guys and the bad guys are. One is supposed to hate everything about the bad guys; and like or adore everything about the good guys. This simple mode of definition — works very well. However, we all know how life is different. One look at world history and we get our answer. During the cold war, USA was portrayed a benevolent superpower whereas the Soviet Union was the evil empire and gained notoriety in art and culture. Yet if one considers the events from the fall of the Berlin Wall till date, the lovable superpower doesn’t look like what it was made out to be. Similarly, the traditional model of warfare between good and evil doesn’t work anymore. If one glances through the social media, the world is clearly polarized than ever before. Take any field and it is difficult to obtain consensus. The entire world economy is crawling because people simply cannot make up their mind on anything like they used to. There is a constant sense of attrition and diatribe. In this context any win would seem not worth it. Maybe if we did save what we believed in, by sacrificing our hatred, the outcome may be different.