Ah, Twilight. What a time to be alive when the saga was at its peak. The height of the vampire love story’s popularity had an abundance of young girls swooning over Edward Cullen, aka the 100-year-old who loves to drool over a high school girl as she sleeps… But he sparkles and his hair is all lush, so it’s fine.
There are a lot of elements from the Twilight saga that have not aged so well, yet if we’re going to be honest, these movies were never exactly Citizen Kane. Still, it’s always fun to look back and get all nostalgic over the vampire series that has shaped a generation of millennials. Here are 10 things from Twilight that have NOT aged well.
10 THE UNCOMFORTABLE AGE GAP BETWEEN BELLA & EDWARD
Seriously? You’re going to make Edward over 100 years old and you’re going to make Bella seventeen? We already read Lolita in high school, and we don’t need to re-imagine it with vampires and werewolves.
Sure, Edward looks like a handsome young lad on the outside, but that really doesn’t change the fact that he’s older than the time it took for the Chicago Cubs to re-win the world series. Why couldn’t Meyer just bump up Bella’s age by one year? That would still be incredibly creepy, but at least it would be legal.
9 THE FIXATION EVERY BOY ON EARTH HAS WITH BELLA SWAN
Don’t get us wrong, Kristen Stewart is lovely. But the fact that every boy in the whole world seems to be madly in love with her and only has eyes for this one girl is a bit of an issue. It leads young women to believe this fantasy situation is normal, and if they don’t have their whole town drooling all over them at once, they must not be worthy.
The truth is, life doesn’t work this way. Chances are, you won’t be the only beauty in the town and you’re not going to be everyone’s type, which is perfectly okay. Even Mike still has puppy-eyes for Bella despite the fact that he has the hilarious/badass Anna Kendrick practically tripping over him.
8 RACIST THEMES
Looking closer into the saga, it’s hard to feel comfortable with its negative portrayals of anyone who is not “alabaster white,” as Meyer herself puts it. One of the most glaring issues in Twilight stems from its portrayal of Native Americans as “animals” and “savages” throughout the series. In Meyer’s novels, the non-white characters basically exist as a threat to the “pale faces.”
Jacob’s character may be BFFs with Bella, but at the end of the day, he is simply a plot device used to bring the two “pale-faced” lovers closer together. Plus, the only two black characters in the first film are both the bad guys. One is a bloodthirsty vampire who hangs out with the likes of James and Victoria and the other is a Forks student who’s portrayed as reckless for nearly killing Bella in a car accident. Seriously, not cool.
7 BELLA DEVOTING HER LIFE TO HER BOYFRIEND
It is extremely insulting to women (and the human race) to witness how obsessed with Edward Bella is, to the point where she literally cannot function without him. This is especially evident in the second film when Edward dumps Bella (in the middle of a forest) and leaves her all alone (in the middle of a forest). Total boyfriend material right there, folks.
Her reaction to this break up is extremely painful to watch because it is meant to be romantic when, in reality, it is the aftermath of a toxic and codependent relationship. There is an excruciating scene where an entire montage occurs in dedication to Bella’s post-breakup depression (which goes on for a whole year). We get it, breakups are painful, but nobody suffers quite like Bella Swan.
6 EDWARD’S ABUSIVE BEHAVIOR
It’s honestly ridiculous how more people didn’t pick up on the abuse going on between the most swooned-after couple in pop culture for such an extended period of time. Regardless, the blatant abuse and toxic behavior in the relationship between Edward and Bella is truly unfortunate, considering how many young viewers on the cusp of dating found themselves looking up to Edward and Bella’s relationship as “goals” before “goals” was ever really a thing.
Edward is wildly controlling and insanely possessive. He thinks he knows what’s best for Bella at all times. He isolates her from friends and family. He threatens to commit suicide when he can’t be with her. These are all CLEAR signs of abuse.
5 BELLA & EDWARD’S TEEN WEDDING
Although this is addressed as problematic in the film (in perhaps the only instance in Twilight that is intentionally funny, thanks to Anna Kendrick), Bella as a teenage bride has major creepy vibes. A teen bride gets married to a 100-year-old groom who’s wearing more makeup to their own wedding than she is?
If Edward wasn’t as sparkly and fresh-faced as he is in the films, this would just be another episode of Criminal Minds. Who gets married at 19 or 100 and has a healthy marriage? That’s what we would like to know. Doesn’t Bella have any dreams and ambitions beyond her fangy boy toy? College, perhaps?
4 SPECIAL EFFECTS
We understand that the main visual focal points in Twilight are Jacob’s abs and Edwards overly-gelled hair, but this doesn’t mean the special effects in this film have to be downright laughable. We seem to recall everyone in the theater bursting into laughter whenever the films would attempt special effects.
This is especially evident in the first film, where the budget was obviously a whole lot smaller before the series became a billion-dollar franchise. You could potentially argue that the horrendous effects from the first film only added to its campy charm. Yet chances are the first film spent its entire budget into buying the rights to that Radiohead song in the credits.
3 BELLA’S ENTIRE CHARACTER
Bella Swan has never been what you’d call a complex character. In fact, she is pretty much the definition of a Mary Sue, but even Mary Sue characters aren’t as passive as Ms. Swan. The truth is, we don’t know anything about Bella other than the fact that she’s crazy about Eddy Boy and that she is the queen of clumsy.
“Clumsiness” is one of the worst traits you could give a female character because it’s a poor way of making her seem more “relatable” to audiences when, in reality, this is far from an actual character flaw. On the whole, she is just not the kind of character young girls should be looking up to.
2 THAT WHOLE IMPRINTING THING
Elements in the Twilight saga would be much better suited for horror movies than romance films. Unfortunately, these terrifying elements have nothing to do with vampires and werewolves. The real horror comes from the stalker-like fixations that all these characters keep developing on each other.
The vibes coming from these movies feel a lot more like Fatal Attraction than The Notebook, despite the fact that this is not Stephenie’s intent. In the final film, Jacob Black attempts to make Bella and Edward’s newborn baby his soulmate. You heard that right…
1 THE TWILIGHT HATE
As problematic as Twilight is, the hate that the saga received was for all the wrong reasons. Not many people were actively criticizing Twilight for its portrayal of women and minorities. People were hating on Twilight because it was a series targeted for 12-year-old girls.
Many people argue that the Twilight hate circling the planet back in 2008-2012 was the result of plain old misogyny, considering how anything that young girls would go nuts over must be straight-up trash. Over recent years, many people have come out confessing their secret love for Twilight. Now, liking Twilight is almost considered cool. Oh, how the times have changed…
NEXT: Twilight: The 5 Best Relationships (& The 5 Worst)