Anghus Houvouras on whether Star Wars’ Finn is a hero, or a mentally imbalanced, disgruntled former employee…
If Star Wars: The Last Jedi has taught us anything, it’s that there are those who take the happenings of a galaxy far, far away a little too seriously. I didn’t like The Last Jedi. It was messy, incoherent and a dumpster fire of baffling choices. The good news has been how many great discussions have arisen from this polarizing piece of hot garbage. Star Wars hasn’t been this much fun since the Summer of 99 when in-denial fans were dealing with the painful realization that they had waited 17 years to watch a cringe-inducing train wreck.
The more I thought about The Last Jedi, the more strange thoughts began to rumble around in my cerebellum. I started thinking about the new characters and their story arcs that have unfolded over Episode VII and VIII. You’ve got Poe Dameron; the hot-headed pilot struggling with what it means to be a leader. You’ve got Rey; the super force-sensitive nobody who is trying to understand her role in the universe. Then you’ve got Finn; the Stormtrooper who defects to the Resistance constantly dealing with doubt and the cause he has pledged his allegiance to.
Finn’s defection to the Resistance was always questionable. At first it was a ruse to escape the First Order and then to impress a pretty girl. Halfway through Star Wars: The Force Awakens he’s still using the Resistance as a cover story as he prepares to get the hell out of dodge and head to the Outer Rim. He’s only brought back into the fray when Rey is captured. He risks his life and helps take down the First Order’s Starkiller Base only when it helps him find and save Rey.
Between The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi he’s been in a medically induced coma. When he finally comes out and realizes the Resistance are doomed to failure, he once again tries to jump ship. Once again he decides to put a plan together to escape, but only because he wants to make sure Rey can find her way back to safety.
So it’s safe to say that Finn isn’t so much a defector as a guy who found defecting convenient but has never really had a vested interest in the intergalactic war. However, whenever Finn gets around Captain Phasma, his blood boils and furious anger erupts from every pore. In the first movie, he takes great pleasure in humiliating Captain Phasma and having her thrown into a dumpster. In the second film he is gripped with a murderous rage as he ends up beating Phasma half to death. I started to ask myself, what does Finn have against Phasma?
Go back to the beginning of The Force Awakens. Finn is off on his first mission as a gun-toting Stormtrooper. He’s ordered to shoot a bunch of people and resists. He gets back to the ship, Phasma sees him taking his helmet off and orders him to get back in uniform. A few minutes later when talking with Kylo Ren she actually defends him saying it’s the first time he’s ever acted out. And for some reason, Finn becomes obsessed with Phasma and her eventual destruction.
So through the movies we’ve established that Finn isn’t all that fond of being a member of the Resistance and yet has uncontrollable reservoirs of anger about his old boss.
Does that make Finn more of a disgruntled former employee than a hero?
Everybody’s probably known someone at work who dislikes their boss for no good reason. The kind of person who gets upset because they’re expected to consistently meet the requirements they were hired to perform. Every time they have to be reminded to clock in on time or make sure to straighten up before closing they swallow sadness, using every ounce of willpower to suppress the urge to scream out YOU THINK YOU’RE BETTER THAN ME?!?!?!
This is Finn. He performed his duties poorly and was called out by his boss for his lackluster performance. He was deficient in the job he was trained for and because she dared identify him as a slacker he now has a murder-boner for Captain Phasma. In The Force Awakens we see his crazy impulses emboldened by the Resistance who desperately needs his help. In The Last Jedi we see him return to work like a disgruntled postal worker who wants his boss and former co-workers to pay for making him feel less than adequate. Even his intended noble sacrifice at the end of the film is a product of him not wanting the First Order to ‘win’ instead of saving lives of friends and allies.
The more I think about it, the less sympathetic Finn becomes. While no one can blame the guy for wanting to leave the evil First Order, Finn’s motivations were always suspect. And after watching John Boyega’s raw rage and anger towards his former boss, it feels more like we’re watching an unhinged psycho with a grudge than the actions of a true hero.
What do you think? Is Finn a true hero or just a former employee with a grudge and an unhealthy obsession with his boss who shamed him?