Ethos Education

Fast & Furious: Hobbs & Shaw: Who decides what’s right and wrong?

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Learning Objectives:

  • Students will reflect on their values and where they come from.
  • Explore Nietzsche’s ideas about morality and the Superman.
  • Consider what it means for Christians to live according to the values taught by Jesus.
  • Give a personal response to the moral philosophies of Nietzsche and Jesus.

Learning Outcomes:

  • Communicate personal values and views on the values of the characters in the film clip.
  • Apply student’s ideas by asking and answering questions on moral issues from the perspectives of the main characters.
  • Enquire into Nietzsche’s philosophy of morality and the Superman, contrasting this with Jesus’ manifesto for the ‘blessed’ life laid out in the Beatitudes.
  • Contextualise Christian and Nietzsche’s views by considering how each philosophy might respond to the genocidal ideas of the antagonist in the film.
  • Evaluate each moral philosophy, and their own values, by considering how society would be different if these approaches were adopted on some of the pressing moral issues we face today.

Supporting Values Education:

The value of democracy encourages people to express their views and consider different opinions. The value of the rule of law celebrates the consensus of values in Britain that are enshrined in our laws, and promotes adherence to these rules. This lesson allows students to consider Nietzsche’s philosophical challenge to traditional values, exploring the importance of deep thinking about the values we hold, and the consequences for our society if some people hold themselves to be above the law.

STARTER:

Ask the students to consider and then vote on what they think are the three most important moral issues facing our society today. They may find it helpful to use the following list to vote from, but they should also feel free to add in their own ideas.

  • Bullying and cyber bullying.
  • Crime and how it is punished.
  • Body image and cosmetic surgery.
  • Euthanasia.
  • Fake news and gossiping.
  • Cloning and genetic engineering.
  • Abortion.
  • Gender and sexuality.
  • Animal rights and veganism.
  • The wealth gap between rich and poor.
  • War and weapons of mass destruction.
  • The environment and climate change.
  • Racism.
  • Freedom of speech.
  • The role of the Royal family.

Note the three vote winners for later. Ask a few people to justify their views on why they think these issues are particularly important. Explain that in today’s lesson you are going to be thinking about how we make moral decisions about these and other issues, where our values come from, and who is best qualified to decide what is right and wrong. Explain that you will consider Christian views on morality based on the teachings of Jesus, learn about what the philosopher Nietzsche thought about these ideas, and have a chance to express their own opinions, but first they will be introduced to two characters who are so superior to the rest of us that nobody can tell them what to do!

Show the clip from Fast & Furious: Hobbs & Shaw (Universal, 2019, certificate 12). Click here to buy the DVD online. Explain that this clip shows the two main characters, Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) and Shaw (Jason Statham) getting up and starting the day in their own unique styles. Ask the students to consider what the men’s morning routines reveal about what is important to them and what values they might hold.

  • Start time: 0.04.47 (the start of chapter 2 of the DVD).
  • End time: 0.06.47.
  • Clip length: 2 minutes.

The clip starts with a split screen showing two alarm clocks going off at 06:00. It continues in split screen for some time without dialogue. The first line is Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) and Shaw (Jason Statham) saying, in unison, ‘Where?’. It ends with Shaw saying ‘I’m what you might call ‘a champagne problem’’.

Ask the students for some words to describe Hobbs and Shaw. What sort of things do they care about?

MAIN ACTIVITIES:

Choose two students to assume the roles of Hobbs and Shaw. These students will need to feel some affinity with their character, and be able to think fast and communicate well. Invite your ‘Hobbs’ and ‘Shaw’ to sit in hot seat chairs at the front to be interviewed by the class.

Give the class the chance to ask some general questions first, such as:

  • What’s your favourite thing to do in the morning?
  • Why do you think it’s important to stay physically fit?
  • What do you like about your work?
  • If I gave you £1 million, how would you spend it?

Next, spend some time quizzing ‘Hobbs’ and ‘Shaw’ about their views on the top three moral issues the students identified earlier. What advice might they give on what’s right and wrong in these situations? Allow time for students to respectfully challenge those in the hot seats on the views they express, and time for ‘Hobbs’ and ‘Shaw’ to justify their answers.

Tell the students that, later in the film, Hobbs quotes the philosopher Nietzsche. Explain that Nietzsche expressed radical views about morality, and also spoke about the need for a ‘Superman’ who would be so superior to everyone else that they could redefine right and wrong. Ask your ‘Hobbs’ and ‘Shaw’ if they think either of them might qualify as this sort of ‘Superman’, then invite them to resume their roles as students to join the rest of the class in exploring Nietzsche’s philosophies in more depth.

Give out copies of the Nietzsche and The ‘Superman’ worksheet. Ask the students to read through the information carefully, highlighting ideas that appeal to them and noting any questions or problems they can see with Nietzsche’s views.

Spend some time as a class discussing the students’ thoughts about Nietzsche, and clarifying any questions they may have. If they come up with anything that is very difficult to answer in the time available, you could direct them to research an answer for homework. Do the students think Hobbs and Shaw are the kind of people Nietzsche was thinking about when he wrote about a ‘Superman’? Ask the students to show their understanding of Nietzsche’s ideas by writing an answer to the questions at the bottom of the worksheet.

Give out copies of the Jesus and The Blessed Life worksheet. Explain to the students that, while Nietzsche criticised Christianity in his culture for having a ‘herd morality’, when Jesus first taught about the way people should live, his ideas were radical. Ask the students to read through the information carefully, again highlighting ideas that appeal to them and noting any questions or problems they can see with Jesus’ teachings.

Spend a little time discussing the students’ thoughts about Jesus and his ideas about what it looks like to be blessed. Do the students think Hobbs and Shaw would agree with any of Jesus’ points? Ask the students to show their understanding of the Bible passage by writing an answer to the questions at the bottom of the worksheet.

Show a second clip from Fast & Furious: Hobbs & Shaw (Universal, 2019, certificate 12). Explain that this clip shows the main antagonist, Brixton (Idris Elba), discussing his organisation’s aim to ‘carve out all human weakness’; then shows Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) interviewing a suspect and sharing some of his philosophy with her. Ask the students to consider what Nietzsche and Jesus might each have to say about Brixton and his organisation.

  • Start time: 0.25.40 (the start of chapter 5 of the DVD).
  • End time: 0.28.11.
  • Clip length: 2 minutes and 31 seconds.

The clip starts with a view of Eteon Headquarters in the UK. The first line is a woman saying ‘The director called. He ordered a new baseline for you’. It ends with Hobbs saying ‘Cause I’m flexing this… and all of that’.

Explain to the students that Eteon plans to wipe out weakness in humanity by killing people with a virus. They intend to make those who remain stronger by enhancing their bodies with technology. Ask the students to consider how Eteon might justify this moral decision. They should come up with a short mission statement for the group, describing what they intend for humanity and why they think this is a good idea. The mission statement should reference ideas either from Nietzsche or Jesus. Next, ask the students to write a short response from Hobbs and Shaw, describing how they intend to stop Eteon and why they think it’s important to do so. This response should also reference ideas either from Nietzsche or Jesus.

SUMMARY AND ASSESSMENT OF LEARNING:

Refer back to the list of three important moral issues agreed upon at the start of the lesson. Ask the students to choose one they feel particularly interested in. Each student should consider the following questions, and write a paragraph to answer them in as much detail as possible.

  • How might Nietzsche’s ‘Superman’ deal with this moral issue?
  • What would the world be like if everyone dealt with the issue in this way?
  • How might Jesus deal with this moral issue?
  • What would the world be like if everyone dealt with the issue in this way?
  • Which view of the world is closest to what the world is really like at the moment?
  • Which sort of world would you most like to live in and why?

YOU WILL NEED:

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