On the Relative Value of “Jupiter Ascending”

I have a working theory accelerated by a sinus infection that I only seek to like controversial things because they are controversial. Which may indeed mean that they’re bad. Today’s case study is “Jupiter Ascending”.

This movie may deserve public condemnation. But it may also be really great. The feminist lens on Star Wars is fine. The commitment to worldbuilding is present if cringeworthy. But liking it means I may allow trash to fly under the radar and I worry about that. I don’t want to endorse trash.

Which tells me something about my theory. I’m watching the same movie again wanting something more than it can offer. It simply is what it is. And liking it for what it is also shouldn’t carry a cost.

I need this movie to be a lot of things. It may be none of them. But it contains a useful idea in the neighborhood of Balem and Jupiter (“Jupe”?). He was willing to kill “her” multiple times and he stayed deeply unhappy for the same boring reasons.

The trick is to emerge. Jupiter can’t be who she is so long as the idea of Balem’s mother lives. So on the other hand part of what makes Balem contemptible is the grudge. But a lot of it is the inflection. And the general tackiness that surrounds him.

His methods suck. But that is true of a lot of people and things.

“Jupiter Ascending” is (I hope) a transitional object. I will say I think it’s pretty good. And I hate that.


About wlivings

PhD student in Religion, Ethics, and Philosophy at Florida State University. Stetson '12, Vanderbilt '14.
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