Hey everyone! I'm Joe and I'm here to give you all my thoughts on the new villain in "Star Wars 7: The Force Awakens", Kylo Ren. Now before I go into detail about my thoughts on this character, there will be SPOILERS in this article so if you haven't seen "The Force Awakens" yet, DON'T read this article. Those of you still reading more than likely have seen the movie and if you'd like to know my thoughts, here they are:
Why I think Kylo Ren is one of the most compelling villains I've seen in not only the Star Wars saga but in movies in general is because of the internal and emotional battle we see raging inside of him when he removes his mask discovering that he's just a normal human being and seeing him pray to Darth Vader's burnt mask for guidance like a Christian praying to a crucifix. When we're first introduced to Kylo Ren, he has a team of Stormtroopers massacre an entire village on Jakku searching for information on the whereabouts of Luke Skywalker who at this point has been missing for sometime. He's shown to be a very intense and brutal figure in the First Order with his mind reading Force ability that he uses to torture Poe Dameron for information and his violent temper when he rages out on the computer displays after learning that his men failed to capture BB-8. And some of those below him are shown to be afraid of him such as the officer who informs him of their setback, and the Stormtroopers who happen to walk by while he rages out over Rey escaping and quickly turn around and walk away not wanting to get involved. On the surface he looks like a more temperamental version of Darth Vader but it turns out there's more underneath that mask because we find out later on during his communication with Supreme Leader Snoke that his real name is Ben Solo, the son of Han Solo and Leia Organa, and the nephew of Luke Skywalker. Han tells Rey and Finn on the Falcon that when Luke tried to rebuild the Jedi Order, one of his pupils betrayed him after being seduced by the Dark Side. Feeling responsible for this failure, Luke went into hiding unable to face his sister and brother-in-law for failing their son.
I for one REALLY loved this reveal because aside from the fact that it was something I didn't expect to see coming, but I thought it also brought a lot of necessary emotional depth to understand where this guy is coming from and why Han, Leia and Luke feel torn apart over this ordeal. And we also see Kylo Ren remove his mask before interrogating Rey after she's captured which from what I can tell a lot of people seem to be pretty divided on. Some people will argue that Kylo Ren was a pathetic excuse of a villain after showing his face, and another reason which I quote "has Daddy issues". Come ON! Now don't take this the wrong way, if you're not a big fan of this character or this movie overall that's fine. I'm just saying that I don't like it when some people make up these excuses for not liking a movie for whatever reason it may be, and I also find that excuse to be really childish. Not to go off topic, but it's the same problem I have with the people who hate Tobey Maguire's portrayal of Spider-Man/Peter Parker because of the way his face looks when he cries and when he tries to stop the train. Not only is that complaint one that I've heard a million times over since the 2012 reboot was announced, it's incredibly childish and REALLY shallow. Anyway I'm getting off track.
But as far as Kylo Ren revealing his face to Rey (and essentially the audience), I thought it was terrific because I think it humanizes him showing you that he's not just some guy in a mask barking orders to the soldiers below him, "Bring me the passengers! I want them alive!" but he's not a fully trained Sith Lord at this point and he's only throwing the lightsaber around just to act tough in front of his victims and make sure his subordinates remain loyal to him. Even though General Hux doesn't seem hesitant to stand up to him every now and then. Seeing his face also plays an important part in the scene where he kills his father Han Solo, because before he kills him, you can clearly see that he's conflicted inside and he does want to be good again but also wants to live up to the image of his grandfather's dark side, Darth Vader. And it also shows when he's praying to Darth Vader's helmet asking for him (Vader) to show the power of the darkness since he's feeling the light inside of him. All that stuff I found to be very compelling along with his parents' sense of remorse feeling like they failed their son and wanting for him to come back, along with Luke going into hiding feeling that not only did he fail his nephew and his sister but also failed as a Jedi to bring the Jedi power back to the galaxy. With Anakin Skywalker, we didn't really have that family dynamic that we have with Kylo Ren. Anakin didn't have a father growing up and his mother died in his arms as he attempted to rescue her from the sand people, but he did have that teacher-student relationship with Obi Wan which did make for some legitimate emotional moments in "Revenge of the Sith" particularly in the scene where Obi Wan goes "You were my brother Anakin! I loved you!"
But back to Kylo Ren, believe it or not I actually find him to be more interesting than Darth Vader as far as being introduced to a villain is concerned in a new Star Wars movie due to the whole family dynamic along with his struggle against the Light Side of the Force and not the Dark Side. Now before you all freak out over me saying that, Darth Vader is an awesome villain and arguably the best villain of all time in cinema history but it's mostly because we've learned more about him in the years since 1977 with not just the movies but with the expanded universe lore such as the books, TV series and the video games. Some people will argue that Kylo Ren isn't that interesting at this point either since we don't know what made him turn to the Dark Side or if Snoke was the one that seduced him. But to be honest I'm glad we don't know at this point because it would ruin the whole purpose of seeing another movie not even bothering to see another one. And even though we still don't know at this point why he turned evil, I still think it was clever to show us earlier on in the is trilogy that he's struggling inside and isn't fully experienced unlike Darth Vader in the original film who had been evil for a number of years. Imagine your sitting in a theater in 1977 watching "A New Hope" for the first time not really knowing what to expect, and by the time the movie ends, all you really know about Darth Vader at that point alone is that he was at one point a pupil under Obi Wan Kenobi who was seduced by the Dark Side, helped the Empire hunt down and kill most of the Jedi and betrayed and murdered Luke's father (you know before we find out that the last part was a lie). And in their confrontation on the Death Star Vader says, "When I left you, I was but the learner now I am the master!" Until "Empire Strikes Back", he's really not THAT interesting of a villain and aside from leading a squadron of TIE fighters against the Rebels, choking the Rebel soldier to death and nearly killing the Imperial officer after he mocked his belief in the Force, he doesn't do a whole lot either and is kept on a leash by Grand Moff Tarkin.
Again, I'm not hating on Darth Vader because like I said earlier because he's arguably the best villain of all time. But as far as the introduction is concerned I think Kylo Ren was more of an interesting character who we can kinda sympathize with but keep in mind that what he's doing is wrong. Now I could go on about the final lightsaber fight with him, Rey and Finn but I'll probably be here too long. But let me conclude my thoughts here with this: since he was inexperienced, at that point wounded by Chewbacca and taken aback by the challenge he faced against Rey with his torture attempts and being cut up by her with her lightsaber, imagine what he's going to be like in Episode 8 and how hard Finn, Rey and Poe might have against him. And by the way, Adam Driver is PERFECT as this character.
Thank you all for reading my first attempt on writing a thoughts on what movie I love to see and how big of a fan I can be. Hope you all had a great Christmas recently and Happy New Year!