Opinion : Kylo Ren

This is a new segment I will be doing from time to time. It will differ from our normal posts by presenting more of an opinion and less of a informative article. The intent of this segment is not to be a review, though I may occasional talk about books, movies and games and convey my likes and dislikes about them. Instead this is more of a one sided discussion (though if you agree or disagree feel free to comment) where I will talk about whatever I feel like regarding anything I want. I will not talk about religion or politics, but if there are readers out there (and I hope there are) who wish to know my opinion about something leave a note in the comments. I aspire to be a writer (despite my poor grammar and spelling) and though I have not published anything, my minimal experience crafting stories has led me to become critical of plots and characters so these will probably be favorite topics of conversation for me.  As it is today, no doubt you have deduced from the title that I will be writing about Kylo Ren. Another thing that needs to be said is if I am talking about any media you can assume that there will be spoilers so don’t read if you are that one person who has not seen Star Wars yet.

Alright so lets talk about Kylo Ren as far as character tropes go he can be considered the dragon of the series just  as Darth Vader was before him. This means that while he is not the main villain also known as the big bad he is the number one bad ass the plucky hero must fight through to get to the main boss. It is not made clear what made Kylo turn to the dark side but it is clear by the end when he kills his father that he has wholly embraced evil. So lets talk about things that work for this dude. His original appearance in the film, when he orders a village to be massacred and stops a laser (or whatever they are called) in mid air, totally adds to his bad ass credibility. The whole laser thing in particular is noteworthy because it is a trick that we haven’t seen before in the movies implying he might have some serious skills. Also I like the design of his costume the heavy cloak and hood combined with that sweet helmet looked rather intimidating and the deep gravely voice was great. Personality wise, Ren comes off as deeply disturbed flying off the handle and destroying innocent electronics who just happen to be near him. Comparing this to Vader calmly force choking people when they displeased him is interesting, both are undeniably violent responses but in a film that had a lot of similarities to previous movies (some might say too many) it was nice to see the differences in their reactions to bad news. There are many archetypal villain types out there for a writer to pick from and I think the ax craziness of Ren was refreshing in a universe where most force users good and evil have been fairly composed (exception being Anakin in Ep. 2,3). I thought his parentage was a giveaway from shortly after the beginning (only so many times you can pull the surprise parents trick), but I found that it worked well with the story and set up some much needed internal character conflict for Han, Leia, and Ren himself. Also the ending where he kills Han and apparently seals his fate as a evil dude, work well for the character, though I feel mixed about this scene as a whole (too close to the death of Kenobi for me). Finally the much discussed final fight scene, this has been discussed by a lot of people claiming either that Ren is a wuss for not being able to beat two non Jedi in a fight or that he is a bad ass for fighting while wounded and doing as well as he did. Here is my take, Ren fought in a frenzied, berserker type of attack that fit his flash pan temper well and I found compelling compared to the intricately choreographed light saber dances of Ep. 1,2,3. Also, they certainly talked up the bow caster enough that it makes being shot with it and surviving let alone fighting truly a feat of bad assery, but more on that later.

Alright lets talk about some things that did not work as well and what I might have done differently. His appearance without the mask was not intimidating or scary in the slightest. Now I am not dissing Adam Driver in the least way, I thought he did an amazing acting job, what I am talking about is more costuming than anything. He could have used a hair cut for one perhaps something reminiscent of a military style buzz cut and a scar or something to toughen up his face. This was in no doubt a conscious decision on the part of the creators, to accentuate the fact that this was supposed to be a troubled young man and not the callous veteran that Vader was by A New Hope. However I think the effect along with a few dialogue options was to make him sound a little like a whinny teenager. Which is something we all want to avoid after the insufferably bitchy Anakin from the prequels. When Kylo talks to the Vader mask about his weakness and his fears about not being able to do what is “necessary” I feel the whole scene would have been better if Kylo had not be so forthcoming about his perceived weakness. This would have served two purposes. One I think this is the main scene that leads people to see Kylo as whinny and if they had toned the self loathing down a bit it would have alleviated that. Second when Rey does her mind trick on him it would have made that scene more memorable because it would have revealed these feelings of inadequacy to the audience for the first time. I also would have liked to see more of that homicidal rage I like so much perhaps instead of destroy the defenseless electronics he could have killed the defenseless messenger dude. I thought the mood swings and rages really made this character interesting and would have like to see some more. And back to the final fight scene, they should have played up the wound more perhaps shown him put his hand to his side and pull it back with blood on it or something. I know it is a PG-13 film so you are limited on gore but the audience really needed something to remind us just how seriously he was hurt, it would have added a whole new dimension to the final fight. But hey that’s just like my opinion.


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