All of the truly meaningful lessons in life (the importance of love, the trappings of power, the follies of dinosaur cloning) are taught to us by movies. We learn by watching the established heroes of the film either learn a lesson themselves or fight to protect it.
This is why it's so weird when, on occasion, the good guys of the film seem to let the obvious moral that they themselves helped establish whiff by them as they do EXACTLY what they just taught us to never do.
(If you like Jedi you'll love Cracked's adventures in Jedi School mini-series.)
Star Wars is as basic as good vs. evil gets, and no matter if the evil is the Sith or the Empire, the side of good remains the same in each film. Jedi (the spiritual, bearded hippies of space) want freedom and democracy, and the Sith want to have all the power and all the control, and perhaps explode a planet or two if it suits their needs or seems like it might be fun.
But of course that's what makes them the bad guys and the Jedi the good guys -- while the Sith and Empire won't be content until they hold the entire galaxy in their fists, the Jedi are selfless, thinking only about the well-being of others. After all, you don't see Obi-Wan or Yoda enslaving countless drones of men for their own purposes, right?
What, did you think these guys were salaried?
In Attack of the Clones, Obi-Wan stumbles onto an army of clones while tracking the bounty hunter Jango Fett (wanted for the attempted assassination of Senator Amidala). The clones have been created in Jango's likeness by order of a Jedi who had died years before the order was placed. Totally not sketchy.
When he contacts the other Jedi and informs them of what's going on, they ask Obi-Wan if he thinks this army is connected to the threat on the senator's life, and in what has to be the least intuitive moment of his Jedi career, Obi-Wan says no.
"Tell you what, we'll just call it in the air: Heads, they're connected. Tails, they're not."
The Jedi seem to agree with this assessment, because this isn't Star Wars: Attack of the Functional, Logical Plot, it's Star Wars: Attack of the KEEP MOVING THE PLOT FORWARD UNTIL GIANT CGI MONSTERS ARE FIGHTING CGI CLONES! So the Jedi Council doesn't dwell on this for a second, and why would they? What would a bunch of clones of the guy who tried to kill the senator have to do with that guy who tried to kill the senator? Did you answer "Probably nothing, I bet"? Congratulations, you're Yoda. As Yoda, you then, after making a few moves in the Senate, use these clones to build your own Grand Army of the Republic.
"Alright, helmets, time for lunch injections!"
And sure, having an entire army is convenient. We get that. But while Yoda was sending wave after wave of mindless clones to their deaths, did anyone stop to consider whether or not enslaving an entire race might be a bad thing or, at the very least, un-Jedi-like behavior? It's true that they were bred for battle and even designed to be genetically obedient, but that doesn't really change the fact that they are sentient slaves of the Republic.
In fact, them being created and designed for self-sacrifice really makes the whole situation that more horrifying. Utilizing the clones just because they've been bred for war isn't better; that's like saying, "No, no, it's cool, they're allowed to be soldier slaves because they've been soldier slaves since they were children."
Broken will to live included.
And they're the good guys!
The central conflict in Iron Man: 2 is this: Should Tony Stark be allowed to keep his one-man-army suit to himself or be forced to share it with the government? (The secondary conflict is "Look out, that robot warrior has WHIPS!")
He'll whip you in fucking half!
It's an interesting debate. On one hand, it's kind of a dick move to fly around all by yourself in arc-reactor-powered jet boots and not share that action with the rest of the world (not to mention totally unsustainable as a national defense plan). On the other hand, the rest of the world is full of lunatics who will no doubt use the technology for unspeakable crimes.
Stark decides to keep the armor to himself, but once we get introduced to Ivan Vanko (a combination of Crimson Fury from the comics and whichever one of Mega Man's villains had whips), the U.S. government gets really worried. If some Russian guy can build his own lightning-whip vest in his dank one-roomer, surely North Korea or Iran can eventually figure it out. This is why they call upon Lt. Col. Rhodes, a close friend to Tony, to try to talk Tony into giving up the goods.
Of course, the request is just him asking in the way you'd ask a dog to drop the ball.
Negotiations prove fruitless, as Tony has become more reckless, arrogant, selfish and just all-around douchey. Left with no other choice, Rhodes snatches one of Tony's back-up suits and turns it over to the government who, with the help of Tony's professional rival Justin Hammer, weaponizes the suit further.
Unfortunately for everything except the plot, Hammer has been secretly working with Vanko, the very same wrong hands everyone was worried about the whole film. This makes for many killer robots, followed by the expected explosions and death that would come with such killer robots, and it's up to Tony and Rhodes to team up and save the day.
When the smoke clears, Rhodes, now seeing just what this technology can do in the hands of one maniacal individual, does the responsible thing and returns ownership of the suit to Tony ...
This way, no more than 50 percent of America's military might is controlled by career alcoholics.
... the alcoholic narcissist playboy billionaire.
Sure, early in the movie Tony thought he was dying of some kind of plot-device-related blood poisoning, which might explain away his reckless and erratic behavior. And, sure, he's been cured of the blood poisoning, so it's possible that he'll be less reckless, but still, eventually he's going to actually die, right? And even alive, he's still an asshole. He's still not going to work with the government, even though he's seen what happens when they're forced to blindly fumble around with his inferior competitors. But at least Rhodes knows better, right?
"OK, what haven't I exploded yet?"
Wrong. When the film ends, we last see Rhodes flying off, playfully telling Tony that he plans to borrow the suit and take on the role of War Machine. Even though the entire movie highlighted the dangers of giving total power to an individual, Rhodes is fine with that as long as he's the individual with the power. This is like a teacher insisting that a student share his gum with the rest of the class, but then decides it's OK as long as HE gets a stick. Only in this case the gum can kill people with missiles.
With all its ridiculous plot twists and ultra-action, it's hard to imagine any coherent moral lesson coming from a series of films that play out less like spy movies and more like an imaginary playground game. Even the name of Hunt's agency, Impossible Mission Force, sounds more like something scrawled onto the side of a treehouse than onto a government-run building.
"Our front company is the International Monetary Fund."
But the movies are fun to watch. And there is one clear through line: Ethan is a good spy and a good man who loves his country and the company he works for.
Even though that company is fucking terrible.
First of all, Ethan gets wrongfully disavowed and hunted down by IMF in two of the three films, making them statistically more harmful than helpful. On top of that, in all three of these movies the bad guy is actually an agent for the IMF. All three films. This means that every problem of the series could go away if the agency had simply called it quits sometime in the '80s.
HE'S STILL WORKING FOR THEM!
You can tell just from the preview alone that Hunt is back to his old ways of running on the sides of tall things while in a constant state of explosion-caused propulsion. He is once more working for the IMF and from the looks of it is once more disavowed by them.
Look, it's one thing when your bosses repeatedly fuck up, it's another thing when they fuck up AND treat you like garbage -- and boy do they treat him like some salty garbage in the third film, when Ethan's boss learns that he led an unauthorized mission to successfully capture a known enemy because of information he withheld from the agency. So what does he get? Paid leave? A demerit of some kind?
Nope! A sweet mouth patch!
Oh OK, Hannibal mask it is then.
By the third film, you'd think that after Hunt had saved the world twice in the past they would perhaps listen to what he has to say instead of instantly gagging him and assuming he's turned bad, but then again we're talking about an agency that has had a different boss for every damn film.
The newest is played by Metallica.
So after all that, he's learned absolutely nothing. It would be one thing if Ethan Hunt was like James Bond, who has absolutely no passion outside of his work and therefore would pursue adventure after adventure -- but we've seen just the opposite from him up to this point. He's even married and completely in love in MI:3 -- why wouldn't he just quit or work for literally any company that won't repeatedly disavow him and consistently hire traitors? There are so many companies that hardly ever do either of those things, Ethan. NYPD. FBI. Sports Authority. So many, Ethan. What's it going to take to get you to realize that IMF is the crazy ex-girlfriend of jobs?