There is little doubt that many people will have an opinion about the Starman movie. What I will do here is to consider three common points of view.
First, many will believe that Will Smith made a community’s argument against crime and violence in America wrong. While many of these folks seem to subscribe to the two million gun deaths (or more) argument, I will concede that it is a problem but it is the result of other issues, not the causes of them.
Second, I won’t deny that there are some actors in our society that glorify violence and glorify killing, such as the sports stars who spew outlines about murdering or the pop singers who have songs with lyrics about murdering or the mafia members who love the violence so much that they are the ones who kill the most. But one must also ask why many young boys grow up idolizing these people, even though many would claim that many of them should be put away for what they do.
Third, Will Smith portrays “the brave man in a one-man army” in this movie. This has become an unfortunate stereotype, which may have fueled the shooting in Texas. Young men who emulate such heroes may end up in violent situations and probably have nothing good to show for it but they feel like they are part of a culture that gives them this feeling of courage and honor, and they will likely wind up being killed, although perhaps not by one of their heroes.
One other point of view has to do with the film itself. Critics have called the Starman movie “inferior” to Forrest Gump or for that matter, Saving Private Ryan. They don’t mention that the greatest veterans of WW II and Korea were in no way less brave than the man at the center of this film. Will Smith’s character, after all, knew the dangers and the pitfalls before he went into Vietnam, and the truth is that while he was in the Air Force, he seemed to go through a lot of dangerous situations that were survivable and bearable.
To be fair, this does not mean that Will Smith made Starman a perfect film. There are numerous weak scenes, some of which are embarrassingly bad. Will Smith doesn’t have a memorable voice, although his distinctive accent does help to make the movie more interesting and more memorable to some. His character is not shown enough and there are a lot of jokes that don’t land.
One scene, where Will Smith is sitting at the dinner table, listening to his wife talk, is, in my opinion, the worst scene in the movie. It also may be the least funny scene of the film, with Will Smith in the throes of laughter. It’s uncomfortable to watch and not funny.
At one point, Jones’ character asks what it would take to earn his loyalty. The answer is for Will Smith to be shot and dies. In another scene, Jones talks about the terrible things that Will Smith did while he was in Vietnam, and he seems to be saying that if this happened to him, he would lose it, and he would kill himself.
In the film, Jones points out that nobody could possibly be stupid enough to put themselves in harm’s way for someone else, so he doesn’t care about his perceived loyalty, and he doesn’t go to Vietnam for his loyalty, either. He says he does it for his country, just like Smith does.
This scene is both inappropriate and off-putting for the film because Will Smith makes his character very human, and he is supposed to be a role model, and as a result, it’s a serious problem. Just because we need a hero doesn’t mean we need someone who promotes bad behavior. We need someone who is true to themselves and the values that make them the best person for the job.
Even Jones admits in the film that he loved his father, and he said that he tried to be like him and he wanted to be just like him. How can you take from this that Will Smith was the right man for the job?
In conclusion, Starman, a superbly made film, fails to answer some important questions and delivers some bad actions. Some elements that make Starman a good film are the witty dialogue and the characters, but overall, Starman failed as a movie and as a serious piece of art.