This piece discusses the plot of “Passengers.”

Earlier this week, Slate editor Sam Adams joked that “‘Passengers’ may be the first movie to be released solely in the form of thinkpieces.” He was responding to a wave of reviews of the science-fiction movie from director Morten Tyldum that expressed outrage over the film’s plot twist. “Passengers,” which opens today, was advertised as a sweet drama about two people traveling to colonize a distant world who wake up earlier than they should have from their hibernation, dooming them to die before they finish their 120-year-long journey. Instead, though, it turns out that mechanic Jim Preston (Chris Pratt) woke up by accident after a meteor strike caused his sleep pod to malfunction, and after a year of loneliness, he made a conscious decision to awaken writer Aurora Lane (Jennifer Lawrence), effectively stealing her life so he could have company.

The way that “Passengers” deals with this plot twist is inconsistent in a way that has more to do with a bad script than bad politics. Jim genuinely does agonize over his decision and recognize that he’s doing a bad thing. But rather than deal with the magnitude of what he’s done to her, “Passengers” redeems him with standard movie acts of Manly Braveness. In all the frenetic action that follows after Aurora learns what Jim has done to her, “Passengers” simply drops the thread.

Now, I suppose I could go on and write another couple of hundred words about how terrible this all is, and how “Passengers” could have done vastly more with its premise by turning it into any number of horror-movie scenarios. But that’s been done, and besides, it’s not the only way to interpret the movie.

You could read “Passengers” as a mildly Trumpist story about how Aurora, a white, cosmopolitan journalist who dips into memoir-writing, puts aside her outrage at the harm that’s been done to her, which is bad but not exactly a war crime, and learns to appreciate a working-class white man (even the film’s lone black character encourages her to get over herself).

Alternatively, you could look at all the energy that’s been spent on the wrong done to Aurora and suggest that the feminist readings of the movie ignore the economic implications of the movie’s premise: In “Passengers,” the ship is sharply stratified by class, and colonists such as Jim have to agree to pay 20 percent of their future lifetime earnings to the corporation that is settling new worlds for trillions of dollars in profits. Identity politics are distracting us from the real story!

You could even talk about what it means that “Passengers” was co-financed by Wanda Pictures, one of China’s largest movie production companies, and what, if anything, Chinese tastes mean for the movie’s politics and for the future of American movie-making in general.

The point isn’t that any of these interpretations of “Passengers” are truer than the others. And it’s certainly not that writer Jon Spaihts,who wrote the first draft of the script in 2007, intended any of the resonances it’s possible to see in the movie; the film business moves too slowly for that. But instead, “Passengers” feels like an opportunity to look at the freight we load onto pop culture relative to art’s ability to bear that weight. And while it’s worth examining what floats to the surface of even the most unconscious mind, “Passengers” is getting a heavy load relative to a story that simply doesn’t have terribly much to it, that has only the inklings of ideas necessary to move the story along rather than actual ideological commitments. If there’s anything we should demand of movies like this, it’s less that they should be different and more that they should show any evidence of thought at all.