***Spoilers for The Force Awakens Ahead***
Kylo Ren was an integral part for Disney’s first attempt on the Star Wars franchise. The Force Awakens brought this character, and many others, to life for the first time along with the characters we come to know and love from the past. Kylo Ren is shrouded with alot of negative feedback from fans as well as alot of positive feedback due to the complexity of the character. I am going to take a moment to go over both sides and share my personal opinion on this matter.
I would like to go back to the prequel trilogy for a moment and share one of the bigger complaints that came into fruition. I was not a fan of Hayden Christiansen’s performance (whether this be the writing of Lucas, Hayden’s attempt at the role, or both). I felt the portrayel of Anakin was done sub-par. This is not to discredit what they were trying to do with the movie, because as a kid, I loved the prequels, even Jar-Jar. I felt that Anankin came across as very whiney and did not show the complete raw power that Darth Vader would become. Anakin had multiple outrageous breakdowns, (I.E. “He is holding me back!” from Attack of the Clones) which really killed it for me as an adult. Thankfully, he redeemed himself in the Clone Wars Cartoon, and even in The Rebels Series. As for Kylo Ren, many see him as a whiney, wimpy young adult who cannot control his temper, much to the likes of his grandfather. He uses his somewhat faulty crossguard lightsaber to destroy control panels and trash an interrogation room. There were many complaints in the way that Adam Driver (Kylo Ren) looked compared to his parents, which lead to insults along the lines of calling him ugly and poking fun at his appearance, most notably, his big ears and nose. The other big complaint was about his lack of skill against other characters who had no experience and just his overall demeanor.
Now that points have been made in regards to the negative feedback, let’s look at the positive elements of Kylo Ren. He is a character shrouded in mystery and one of the more colorful characters Lucasfilm has given us. He is unstable, young, aggressive, passionate, torn between what he wants and very, very dark. His temper and outbursts are not at the same level as Anakin’s were in the prequels, with no cheesy lines, just aggression and anger. Kylo’s outbursts show the depth J.J went to create a truely troubled young adult. He wants to be like his grandfather, but knows he is not as strong yet. He wants to be brutal (much like some high schoolers do now when they cannot find their place in society yet) but becomes torn because of something troubling him, like the call to the light. As for his inability to overpower Finn and Rey, I would like to take a look at what he is capable of. Nowhere, in any movie, have we seen someone stop time or a blaster bolt in mid-air (minus The Empire Strikes Back where Vader stopped Han Solo’s shots in his hand somehow…) which really was next level Force Use along with his ability to read into and torture victims minds. There was a very important scene in The Force Awakens, you might remember it, the one where Han SOlo was killed, careful examination shows Chewbacca watching the murder occur, and shot Kylo Ren on his left side by his hip (think where the kidney is located, maybe just below). In previous scenes, we saw Chewbacca’s crossbow obliterate a First Order Trooper’s armor (Traitor!!!) and act as a grenade launcher blast. Regardless of what power setting his bowcaster was set, that thing would do some serious damage to anyone, if not kill them. We move to the duel in the snowy night time forest now, and Finn takes up the lightsaber against Ren. I will have to confirm exactly when this happens, but we see Ren pound his side, and blood spurts onto the snow on the ground. Some interpret this as an adrenaline builder, pumping up for a fight. We see Ren get hit by Finn who has never been trained in lightsaber combat, which is kind of weird considering Ren is the awesome Dark Jedi. Ren shortly incapacitates Finn and we finally see Rey take her fate. Rey’s powers are new to her, but the power she has is overwhelming to Ren, this is why she was able to beat him in the interrogation, she is very, very strong with the force. Ren proceeds to pound his side and fights Rey. She has had some skill using her rod for fighting, so she is nothing to look down on. She soon overwhelms Ren and defeats him. The confusion of how she was able to do it can be explained:
1. Kylo Ren was shot by Chewbacca’s Bowcaster
2. He is not fully trained (neither is Rey)
3. He does not really have anyone to sword dance or practice with (that we know of)
4. Rey just happens to be more powerful to him
5. We will probably find out more in episode 8
That is kind of a summary on both sides of the argument. I am on the side that thinks Kylo Ren is awesome (which can be seen just in this writing). I think Kylo Ren is a great character with alot of potential. He can go in any direction in Episode 8. I also feel episode 8 will bring some much needed explanation on the very brief glimpse we got of the Knights of Ren. It has been said already that episode 8 will be very dark, so we can hope to see more as time goes on as long as we are patient. Kylo Ren is one of my favorite new characters, although I really liked them all. As far as the insults go against his appearance, who really cares. I think he looks great for the part, and actually enjoyed the scenes with his mask off.