Star Wars: The Force Awakens- Spoilers!

If you haven’t seen Star Wars: The Force Awakens, please do so and then come back to this part. This section will contain spoilers and thoughts concerning the movie and, specifically, the character/villain of Kylo Ren. Now this will not be a hate on the movie because of how it fits or doesn’t fit within the greater Star Wars universe and the movies that preceded it. That is to say, I will look at The Force Awakens as a stand-alone without making too many mentions about the original trilogy. For example:

Seriously, big spoiler coming: read at your own risk.

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If you’re one of those people that lived under a rock, this is your last warning. (CC contributed by Lee Haywood)

Han Solo dies…(dramatic sound). Now some may be right-pissed that the franchise killed their favorite character. They may even be angry that Solo’s character arc of the original trilogy has been completely ignored as he starts this movie being the same as he was in A New Hope, worse actually as he is a bit of a coward: my son turned evil so I just walked out on my wife and went back to my smuggling ways. However, in the context of the movie Solo’s death is fully justified. It is both foreshadowed and impactful and serves as part of Kylo’s character arc.

Now, without making comparisons to Darth Vader, let me talk about the one failure of an otherwise great movie, Goth Vader…I mean Kylo Ren.

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The helmet is like a bad make-up version of Darth Vader’s.

Oh the promise that initial introduction scene has. Ren shows up, the chaos and carnage reflected on his helmet as he slowly walks through the village where his men are slaughtering everyone. He interrogates Max von Sydow (seriously, who was this character and what’s his connection to the original trilogy) and pulls out that wicked lightsaber. Then, in an ultra-badass moment, he stops a blaster shot dead in its tracks. I was hopeful, I was hyped, I was ready. Give me more!

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My reaction. (CC contributed by Tim Parkinson)

Then he is told some bad news and he throws a temper tantrum. I should’ve caught on then that Ren was just a whiny child, but the impression he made in that initial introduction was still fresh in my mind. It wasn’t until he removed his mask that Ren fully showed that he was not the villain that I wanted him to be.

Perhaps this was done intentionally. Ren, or Ben Solo, is torn between the Dark and the Light, so it may be fitting that this is reflected with his mask. Badass when he is wearing it and super annoying when he isn’t. If this was the desired effect, then Adam Driver played his part perfectly. Although it does kind of portray the dark side as more awesome and dangerous than the light side. However, this does not, in any way, excuse how weak Ren is at the end. Am I seriously supposed to believe that Kylo Ren, a man with a mentor, a man who has trained in the dark side for years, can lose a lightsaber fight to an inexperienced stormtrooper and a girl who, only recently, has realized her connection to the force.

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Interesting observation, let’s unpack it.

Now to be fair to Kylo Ren he is wounded by Chewbacca’s weapon and the film does set up the fact that this weapon is deadly and overpowered. So it is fair to say that Ren, after getting shot in the side, is hurt and not on his best form. He is bleeding at the start of the fight, which is weird because wouldn’t a blaster hit also cauterize the wound instantly. So Ren is a bit weakened, but he is a Sith Lord, he shouldn’t be at a disadvantage.

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This guy took on two Jedi and he wasn’t at a disadvantage.

Fine, Rey having stronger force powers is believable. The force is something of a “you have it or don’t” type of deal. She also may have some knowledge of fighting with melee weapons as she does carry a staff with her throughout the movie. It is, therefore, somewhat plausible that she could win in a fight against a wounded and weakened Kylo Ren. I don’t buy it, but it is plausible.

But how the hell does Finn wound him? Seriously! Finn is a stormtrooper that has, up to that point, almost never fired a blaster, much less handled a lightsaber. At least, that’s what I get from the movie. I assume Finn has never shot a blaster in his life, otherwise who knows how many people Finn has killed.

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Is he questioning his purpose, or is the weight of his victims finally too much to bare.

Wounded as he is, Ren’s main weapon, something he has trained with all of his life, is a lightsaber. Finn—and it does need to be stressed that this guy, and I’m being generous, has only used a ranged weapon up to this point—should not have, in any way, wounded him and the fight should not have lasted as long as it did.

This is the main reason that kept the movie from being great for me. I can even believe that a handful of resistance fighters can destroy the Death Star 2.0. I also didn’t fully mind how much of a spoiled child, for lack of a better word, Ren is. But I still held out hope, especially thanks to that introduction, that when Ren finally got to show-off his full skills he would deliver. He didn’t.

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My reaction changed. (CC contributed by zeitfaenger.at)

There is clear foreshadowing that Ren will now become somewhat robotic and more like Vader. I kind of hope this doesn’t happen as it is too predictable, but if it means making him into a real, dangerous, threat in the next movie, then I’m all for it.

 

 

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2 thoughts on “Star Wars: The Force Awakens- Spoilers!

  1. I love you Dino, but you might want to rethink some parts of this.

    -I don’t remember anyone saying Han Solo “walked out” on his wife. He distinctly says that Leia wouldn’t want to see him. As a spouse and a parent, I could see the ruin that follows after the loss of a child (in this case, to the dark side). It’s not anyone’s fault, but the sight of each other would be a visual reminder of the tragedy. He’s running from the pain, not just packing up and leaving.

    -Side note: Max Von Sydow might not turn out to be anyone, just a nameless loyalist. If he’s anyone, he could be Wedge, who was a trusted ally throughout the original trilogy (Desth Star, Battle of Hoth and Death Star II). Apparently the actor who played Wedge turned down a role in TFA, so maybe.

    -There is no indication that Kylo Ren is a “Sith Lord” or that Snoke is either. I think it’s a deliberate choice that the Sith are never named in film. People have theorized that Snoke is Darth Plageuis, but we have no idea. The most we know know is that Ren had some Jedi training and has tapped into the dark side. He is volatile and rudimentary. He can stop a blaster blot, but fails at other tasks. He’s still honing his power. This is symbolized by his rude and crude saber blade. At this point he’s potential energy. He doesn’t have the benefit of thousands of years of Sith knowledge (presumably).

    -But seriously a bowcaster shot would have to weaken him considerably and Rey is a ride or die badass.

    -As for how Finn can wound him, I have no other answer for that at this point. I only saw the film once and don’t remember exactly how it happened. Was it overconfidence on Ren’s part? Then when he’s wounded he falls apart and Rey is able to best him more easily because he is deflated. Just conjecture, I’d have to see it again.

    -But! Throughout the film we see that Ren can be weakened by emotion. He clearly has a Vader complex and he loses confidence easily. When he’s (mostly) clear-headed he is able to stop the blaster bolt and extract information from Poe Dameron. But when he’s challenged directly, he loses his mojo. So his weakness at the end is as much mental as it is physical. We know he can stop shots, but Chewie is able to tag him because he is too emotional at that point. He’s trying desperately to be a robot like Vader, but he’s missing the point that Vader wasn’t able to eliminate that part of himself completely either. Maybe, and this is purely speculation, he doesn’t beat Finn and Rey because subconsciously he doesn’t want to. In the same way, Vader wasn’t able to kill Luke because of the “pull of the light” as Ren calls it.

    -Besides, how many lightsaber duels has Ren been in? Maybe none. We don’t know.

    You could be right about Ren, but I think people’s problems with him are that they expected him to be one thing and he turned out to be something else. There are a lot of assumptions about his power and what he can do without any textual proof from the film. The force abilities in TFA are shown to be volatile and crude, because the Jedi and the Sith have all but disappeared, and their training and knowledge with them. Everyone seems to be fumbling blindly. The only stabilizing force, Luke, is missing, and it’s not like he had the full Jedi temple training either. The galaxy in TFA is unstable in every way.

    Just some thoughts.

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  2. Dino did you forget Kylo Ren got hit with Chewie’s bow laser which has in the past sent everyone else flying and is certain death? Kylo Ren was tough as hell! He got hit with it and he didnt even flinch and was still able to fight. How is that weak? Its you or me getting hit with a shotgun then having a sword fight after then people calling us pussies because we lost to some kid.

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