Kylo Ren and Why He’s a Bad Ass … (There will be spoilers)

So the title says it all. As I mentioned in a previous post I love the character of Kylo Ren and the more I think about why the more I feel strongly about the character. So without further ado here is my take.

***** SPOILERS *****

1. Kylo Ren is the son of Han Solo and Leia Organa

Is this not enough to make him the most awesome character? A Jedi turned dark, son of the Galaxy’s most beloved Scoundrel and the Galaxy’s most beloved princess? It may not be the end all be all, but it is certainly a nice touch. I know some EU loving folks hate that he was named Ben, but come on it is the movies and it was made for anyone, not just those that read the EU. That being said I can understand your opinion on the matter, I just disagree.

2. He is the Leader of an organization called the Knights of Ren

We don’t know anything about the Knights of Ren except that they had some hand in killing off Luke’s Jedi and they’re named after Kylo Ren. The brief glimpse we get of them from Rey’s vision in SW: TFA is an imposing one at best. If he is running this crowd he has to, at least, have some power.

3. Blaster Bolt

Okay, I touched on this in my last post, but seriously it is worth a mention. The first time we see Kylo Ren he is at the head of a squad of Stormtroopers and barking orders. Shortly after Poe Dameron takes a shot at him. I want to talk about the shots leading up to this, though. Poe is going around and decimating Stormtroopers with his sniper rifle (at least, that is how I saw it). The force of the blast is knocking them off their feet and causing minor explosions. This isn’t Han Solo’s hold out blaster, this is a powerful gun. That being said, Kylo Ren stops the bolt in place AND Poe in place. Two things at once. Now the blaster bolt is what I want to focus on.

In Star Wars, we see a consistent theme where Jedi block blaster fire with their lightsabers. We see Darth Vader deflect blaster fire with his friggin hands (okay he probably uses the force). Note, however, that these are all deflections. Kylo straight up stops the bolt in its tracks. That is some power.

4. Tantrums

Let’s call a spade a spade right? Kylo’s angry outbursts put him in the light of being an angry teen and I think that is okay to an extent. Let’s take a look at where he is in life. He is struggling internally between light and dark sides of the force. He is under the thumb of Supreme Leader Snoke whether by manipulation or his choices. His father left him, his mother exiled him. He has extreme power and a desire to be connected to family. He acts this out in his devotion to Darth Vader his grandfather.

Now, let’s say all these emotions are rising up inside a person. When things are going their way (such as on Jakku) it is easy to control the anger and be cold and calculating. However, when the tables turn and something goes wrong all those suppressed emotions surge to the surface and rage bubbles up. These are the moments when Kylo’s angst emerges. I’m okay with this because it is real. This is how people are. When things go our way we suppress the hurt and chagrin of our past. When things go wrong all of it comes to the surface. For some this results in temper tantrums, others go out and drink themselves into a stupor.

5. Force of Will

We’ve seen Obi-Wan use the force to persuade others’ minds. We’ve even seen Luke do it in Return of the Jedi. However, we’ve never seen someone use the dark side of the force in this manner, except for perhaps Darth Sidious. Kylo forces his way into people’s minds and reads their thoughts. That’s pretty dark side and badass if you ask me. Yes, we see Rey beat him at his own game, but not before he gets, at least, some glimpses from her mind.

6. Take it like a Man

Alright, this is my final point. We’ve seen Kylo evolve in this film and when he kills Han Solo the fall to the Dark Side is complete. This is a powerful turning moment for Kylo. He becomes a sith as it were. Now that’s not the point I want to make. Remember Chewbacca’s bowcaster? How everyone ever hit by the thing flew hundreds of feet or simply blew up? Yeah, that one that looks like a crossbow. So Chewbacca is distraught over Han Solo’s death and he levels a shot right into Kylo’s side.

This is where he showcases the power he wields. The bowcaster bolt takes Kylo full in the side, which from the rest of the movie should have thrown him into the pit with good ol’ Han. However, that doesn’t happen, he takes the hit and looks up at Chewbacca, like “Is that all you got?” Then he sees Finn and Rey and decides it’s time for them to die.

Cut to the forest. Rey and Finn are running for their lives and Kylo shows up, blood all over his side and still dripping to the ground. He is still standing. He ignites his saber and goes on to duel with Stormtrooper trained Finn. Now Finn doesn’t fare too well, but he gives Kylo, at least, a run before the Jedi turned dark slices Finn from tail to head.

I don’t know about you, but if I had just been shot and I just had a knockout drag out with some dude, I wouldn’t be ready for another fight just after. Yet, this is what Kylo does. He almost wins the fight too. Rey gathers herself and pulls out a win leaving Kylo with a nasty facial scar, but let’s take a look at that scene. Kylo is fighting Ren, she’s doing okay, managing to keep Kylo off her and getting in a cursory jab at his shoulder. Don’t forget he’s bleeding out here and must be really friggin tired. Sabers lock and it looks like Rey is gonna get dead when Kylo hesitates. He looks Rey in the eye and offers to train her in the force. This is your classic bad guy mistake.

I think it is more than a mistake, though, I think this is his last moment of decency. Kylo has just killed his father, he is on the verge of becoming a full sith (dark jedi or whatever, a bad mammajamma) and he sees the potential in Rey. He offers his guidance to her. I don’t think this was a personal gain moment. This was a moment of “Wow, she is good. Think about how good she could be with training!” For Kylo, I think this is a pure moment of respect and he hesitates. Rey fights back and wins the duel.

So in the end, Kylo is an extremely dynamic character. He has multiple, and subtle, personality quirks as well as a growth through the film. I loved Darth Vader, but I think Kylo Ren is a better character overall. Until next time folks.

 

Your Friendly Neighborhood Author,

 

DJ Morand