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  1. #1
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    Default How much did Kylo/Ben live up to his potential? *What* was it to you?

    Kylo Ren/Ben Solo is kind of at ground center for most of the ST’s marketing , debate about its decisions, debate about its quality, and at the heart of the BTS decision making process: months spent designing his look for TFA, clearly one of Rian Johnson’s favorite characters, and someone LFL didn’t want as the main villain for TROS, leading to Palpatine’s return.

    So I kind of want to discuss both how well he lived up to his potential... and *what* exactly you guys think his potential really was.

    Adam Driver’s a magnificent actor. But so are Boyega, Ridley, Hamill, Ford, McDiarmid, etc. Did he get used the right way? Which film used him best? Which film used him worst?

    Like, to me, this kind of comes down to a dispute about whether or not Ben Solo as a male lead and Rey’s companion is what he was supposed to be, or if Kylo Ren was supposed to be Rey’s enemy and main antagonist. I feel that if Rey was meant to be the main lead with Finn as her companion as part of an overall feminist and progressive message, than Kylo was meant to be the main villain only. Frankly, while Adam Driver playing Han and Leia’s kid sounds like it should be the male lead... I don’t think it can be if Daisy Ridley is supposed to play the actual lead, whether as a Skywalker or not; you can’t have him overwhelm her role in the story.

    I also don’t think his potential was truly realized as either Kylo or Ben: LFL refused to have him hated enough to make Kylo a great villain, but Ben Solo is literally monosyllabic and only around for a few minutes.

    To me, the closest he got to being used “right” was in TFA:

    - He’s an functional badguy for the entire film, and while pitiable, we’re *not* asked to sympathize with him over other characters.
    - He wears his best villainous costume - seriously, the “tattered tabard” look makes a more imposing and detailed silhouette and complements the mask better than his other outfits.
    - He comes off as more intimidating and dangerous Force user here in comparison to Rey - he freezes blaster bolts in mid-air, twice incapacitated Rey with a wave of his hand, and required a highly choreographed series of events in order to lose his fight.
    - His story works great as a villainous foil to both Rey and Finn - both of them have underdog traits emphasized against him, their deprived childhoods are contrasted by his privileged one, and he even erroneously but ironically projects his weaknesses on to them, making their virtues stand out - he calls Finn “traitor” when he’s murdered his loving father and Finn is standing loyally in defense of Rey, and his creepy narcissism and rejection of his family highlights Rey’s gaining of a family and growth to fight for others against him (at least in TFA’s ending before TLJ.)

    In constants, I’d say his worst film is TLJ. Both TLJ and TROS are trying to have their cake and eat it too - have Kylo as a villain and Ben as a protagonist - but TROS at least knows you’d have to delineate between the characters, and offers *some* explanation for why he turned evil and why we should cheer for him eventually. TLJ just insists he can be do both without anymore explanation or build-up. TROS isn’t going deep with the character, but TLJ is as shallow as a puddle... and has the most bland costume as well.
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  2. #2
    Astonishing Member thwhtGuardian's Avatar
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    He was great for the first few minutes of the Force Awakens but as soon as Poe makes fun of him it's all down hill from there.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by thwhtGuardian View Post
    He was great for the first few minutes of the Force Awakens but as soon as Poe makes fun of him it's all down hill from there.
    I kind of doubt it’s Poe’s bravado that starts him downhill for you; I think it’s more likely to be be the slowly accumulating nature of the rest of his TFA story... followed by a schizophrenic approach by the next two films that undermine.

    Poe trash talking is Poe trash talking, not anything done by Kylo, and he ends up being tortured and successfully relieved of his secrets later... but it *is* the first time anything in film suggests that someone can choose to not take Kylo seriously, and TFA embraces that idea for *some* of Kylo’s characterization... and then suffers from having TLJ and TROS ignore the areas where TFA meant for him to be taken seriously, and instead trying to build off the less intimidating elements of the character, but for the wrong reasons.

    TFA, for instance, never blinks away from Kylo being a violent and dangerous villain towards our young heroes, or the civilians in the movie, and wants him to be a villain who can evolve... later. Where they want you to take him less seriously is in regards to his maturity, but even that’s supposed to be a bit of a mixed bag - he can be pathetically petulant and bratty, but his petulant brattiness is tied to his murdering his father, narcissistically violating Rey’s mind, and sadistically torturing and toying with Finn.

    To me, this all says that in TFA, we’re supposed to realize he’s an “uncool” villain, unlike Vader - he’s the Neo-Nazi school shooter compared to Vader’s war-veteran-gone-evil-overlord. The goal, which I think largely worked for TFA, is for Kylo to be a “Hate Sink” in the Tv Tropes parlance - someone the audience loves to hate in a spiteful and disgusted way. And for that, he can be someone the audience can find both pathetic and dangerous...

    ...But I don’t think that TLJ ever wanted to view him that way, and neither did TROS after TLJ tried to change the paradigm, and that wound up retroactively making TFA worse in hindsight - it’s a film actively hurt by its association with TLJ and TROS, especially regarding Kylo.

    In TFA, Kylo being immature and self-centered are two vices and flaws on his side we’re supposed to reject him for.

    In TLJ, Kylo being immature is supposed to make him seem sympathetic by suggesting he could still be redeemed and has just made some “youthful” decisions, and the film agrees with him being self-centered, because the film really *does* revolve more around him than Rye and certainly more than Finn.

    Kylo throwing a fit and destroying a console in TFA is intentional humor because it’s emphasizing he’s a pathetic @$$hole... but throwing a fit and destroying his helmet in TLJ is supposed to be a serious and dramatic moment.

    The latter films treatment of Kylo as sympathetic rejects the impetus behind his more pathetic moments in TFA - which end sup screwing over both films, as Kylo is now too pathetic to be a hero, but too “pitiable” in the film’s vision to be a villain.
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  4. #4
    Astonishing Member David Walton's Avatar
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    I agree with what you're saying here.

    Kylo killing Han off seems like it was originally intended to show us he's not redeemable in the same way Anakin was. And it worked. Fans were screaming for his death. If they had continued down that path, I think the trilogy would have been more satisfying.

    Rian Johnson's sympathetic approach to Kylo is a bit mind-boggling and it's not typical of his thought process. I mean, Knives Out openly mocks and condemns the kind of privilege he represents. All I can figure is that Johnson was trying really hard to mash up ESB and ROTJ in one film.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by David Walton View Post
    I agree with what you're saying here.

    Kylo killing Han off seems like it was originally intended to show us he's not redeemable in the same way Anakin was. And it worked. Fans were screaming for his death. If they had continued down that path, I think the trilogy would have been more satisfying.

    Rian Johnson's sympathetic approach to Kylo is a bit mind-boggling and it's not typical of his thought process. I mean, Knives Out openly mocks and condemns the kind of privilege he represents. All I can figure is that Johnson was trying really hard to mash up ESB and ROTJ in one film.
    I’m inclined to think that Johnson’s mishandling of Kylo stems from some discomfort and lack of intuitive creative writing with Rey, actually, though he might also have been more aware of a pro-Kylo Ren/pro-Adam Driver bias in LFL above him that might have influenced him as well.

    I’m a big fan of two of Johnson’s other films; Knives Out is the one I know you’ve seen, but I’d also recommend Brick pretty heavily. In comparing the bad guys murderers of these two films, Kylo’s TFA actions would make him seem more intuitively linked to a similar path as Tug - the unsympathetic and insecure berserk muscle of Brick - even though he oddly comes off in TLJ as a somewhat more softly treated counterpart to Ransom - the superficially charming and cunning but still clearly an @$$hole from Knifes Out.

    This is really odd... unless you look at the way he wrote Rey, and the way he positioned Kylo, all in comparison to Knives Out. Benoit Blanc and Luke Skywalker occupy similar places of being older male leads the heroine has a complicated relationship with; that part checks out, though I’d argue that Blanc is more useful and complimentary to Marta’s arc than Luke is to Rey’s. Kylo is located in a similar place and given somewhat similar treatment to Ransom... which is a bit odd and illogical in detail as both a comparison to Knives Out and a follow up to TFA (Finn’s spot as male lead in *that* movie seems totally dropped here.

    And I think the reason Kylo doesn’t fit into a Ransom comparison that well is because the films are treating Marta and Rey similarly... when they really, really shouldn’t. Marta is a vaguely “Ingenue”-like innocent and virtuous member of the same household Ransom belongs to, who knows enough about Ransom to have an initially correct but easily manipulated view of him that he can exploit by playing with it, all while Ransom is written to be a charismatic and cunningly convincing mastermind.

    Rey...

    Rey is not an innocent “Ingenue” - she’s a self sufficient survivor - and is not a member of Kylo’s household. In fact, he’s an existential and very real threat to the “household” she already constructed in TFA. She also has much more bluntly informative knowledge of Kylo’s true nature and personality than Marta has of Ransom, and what she knows is considerably more vile, threatening, and painful than what Marta discovers about Ransom (charming first time killer vs dedicated mass murderer and open fanatic who violated Rey’s mind in a metaphor for sexual assault.)

    So why is Rey’s TLJ story so similar to Marta’s Knives Out story?

    Because I think that’s what made Kylo’s story get off track: Rian Johnson not connecting with the type of assertive, somewhat cynical at times, and already motivated and developed “Action Girl” that Rey was in TFA. And I think he personally held Kylo as his favorite character from TFA, had that reflected back at him from LFL and Kathleen Kennedy herself (and with nobody in that group actually being engaged with John Boyega as Finn)... and that little mixture somehow wound up with him dismissing and just nor caring about Kylo’s various crimes and assaults in TFA, especially regarding Rey and the type of perspective she should have.

    I mean, in terms of plot substance, there isn’t really a whole lot of difference between TFA and TLJ regarding Kylo’s story and characterization... but there is a *lot* of substantial difference between the particular way TLJ views Kylo’s relationship to Rey, Rey’s perspective of him, and what significance and role Kylo would have in Rey’s story (rejecting Finn as her companion and co-lead in favor of Kylo for both.)

    In other words... TLJ is what happens when a sequel to TFA is created by a guy who struggles with a female lead who has no reason to care about his favorite character, while working with and under a team that thinks that the story should have “naturally” have focused on Kylo above Finn as both a protagonist and as Rey’s companion.
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  6. #6
    Astonishing Member thwhtGuardian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by godisawesome View Post
    I kind of doubt it’s Poe’s bravado that starts him downhill for you; I think it’s more likely to be be the slowly accumulating nature of the rest of his TFA story... followed by a schizophrenic approach by the next two films that undermine.

    Poe trash talking is Poe trash talking, not anything done by Kylo, and he ends up being tortured and successfully relieved of his secrets later... but it *is* the first time anything in film suggests that someone can choose to not take Kylo seriously, and TFA embraces that idea for *some* of Kylo’s characterization... and then suffers from having TLJ and TROS ignore the areas where TFA meant for him to be taken seriously, and instead trying to build off the less intimidating elements of the character, but for the wrong reasons.

    TFA, for instance, never blinks away from Kylo being a violent and dangerous villain towards our young heroes, or the civilians in the movie, and wants him to be a villain who can evolve... later. Where they want you to take him less seriously is in regards to his maturity, but even that’s supposed to be a bit of a mixed bag - he can be pathetically petulant and bratty, but his petulant brattiness is tied to his murdering his father, narcissistically violating Rey’s mind, and sadistically torturing and toying with Finn.

    To me, this all says that in TFA, we’re supposed to realize he’s an “uncool” villain, unlike Vader - he’s the Neo-Nazi school shooter compared to Vader’s war-veteran-gone-evil-overlord. The goal, which I think largely worked for TFA, is for Kylo to be a “Hate Sink” in the Tv Tropes parlance - someone the audience loves to hate in a spiteful and disgusted way. And for that, he can be someone the audience can find both pathetic and dangerous...

    ...But I don’t think that TLJ ever wanted to view him that way, and neither did TROS after TLJ tried to change the paradigm, and that wound up retroactively making TFA worse in hindsight - it’s a film actively hurt by its association with TLJ and TROS, especially regarding Kylo.

    In TFA, Kylo being immature and self-centered are two vices and flaws on his side we’re supposed to reject him for.

    In TLJ, Kylo being immature is supposed to make him seem sympathetic by suggesting he could still be redeemed and has just made some “youthful” decisions, and the film agrees with him being self-centered, because the film really *does* revolve more around him than Rye and certainly more than Finn.

    Kylo throwing a fit and destroying a console in TFA is intentional humor because it’s emphasizing he’s a pathetic @$$hole... but throwing a fit and destroying his helmet in TLJ is supposed to be a serious and dramatic moment.

    The latter films treatment of Kylo as sympathetic rejects the impetus behind his more pathetic moments in TFA - which end sup screwing over both films, as Kylo is now too pathetic to be a hero, but too “pitiable” in the film’s vision to be a villain.
    No that really was it. There's bravado like Leia's comment to Tarkin in New Hope and there's making a joke at an inappropriate time which is what we got in the Force Awakens and the tone in the two of those scenes is wildly different. In the former the line created tension immediately between Leia and Tarkin, both the way Tarkin blew past the comment with a mocking smile and the way Leia sagged ever so slightly showing the underlying fear really sold the scene and made it a classic but in the latter it killed all the tension they'd just built up around Kylo rather than aping the feel of the original scene because it was done at the wrong time and Poe played it like a comedian delivering a one liner with zero pathos underneath it.

    Just picture how we would have viewed Vader if Captain Antiles had made a quip at Vader instead of reacting in obvious fear and then getting choked to death.

  7. #7
    Extraordinary Member Celgress's Avatar
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    His Darth Vader cosplay left a lot to be desired.
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by thwhtGuardian View Post
    No that really was it. There's bravado like Leia's comment to Tarkin in New Hope and there's making a joke at an inappropriate time which is what we got in the Force Awakens and the tone in the two of those scenes is wildly different. In the former the line created tension immediately between Leia and Tarkin, both the way Tarkin blew past the comment with a mocking smile and the way Leia sagged ever so slightly showing the underlying fear really sold the scene and made it a classic but in the latter it killed all the tension they'd just built up around Kylo rather than aping the feel of the original scene because it was done at the wrong time and Poe played it like a comedian delivering a one liner with zero pathos underneath it.

    Just picture how we would have viewed Vader if Captain Antiles had made a quip at Vader instead of reacting in obvious fear and then getting choked to death.
    I actually think the point of the quip, aside from humor, was to set the tone for how the audience is supposed to view Kylo and the First Order - they’re more respectable villains, merely hateable and dangerous ones. They lack “evil virtues” like Vader’s respect for the non-com officer who voices the problem to taking Leia prisoner, or Tarkin’s professionalism. They’re not veterans of a previous Galaxy spanning conflict who’s allowed themselves to be corrupted into totalitarians afterwards; they’re totalitarians seeking a Galaxy spanning conflict to justify themselves and their decisions.

    Poe makes the quip about Kylo to his face, but then has a moment of quiet but audible horror as Kylo spitefully and needlessly orders the village murdered. Poe has bravado and definitely comes off as more mature and grow-up than Kylo in his interrogation... but still ends up being broken and having the information ripped from his mind.

    The First Order isn’t standing in for the Wehrmacht in WWII. They are, in Abrams own comparison, more like the SS in Argentina and Neo-Nazis. They’re not professional hit men, they’re serial killers and hate criminals. They’re terrorist members of a rogue state, not the professional military from the hegemonic power. They’re not “the man” as much as they’re the reactionaries. Heck, Kylo isn’t even so much the scary inquisitor that Vader is in ANH with Leia - he’s almost explicitly portrayed like a pervy predator.

    Having said all that, I apologize for trying to “correct” you. I see what you mean about it lessening the seriousness of the situation

    I juts think that was intentional in regards to Kylo. You aren’s supposed to have any respect for him in TFA. The reason I think TLJ and TROS are much worse is because they presumed respect for him, and operate in a way where if that’s not true... then they’re just wildly messed up in terms of their POV and “sympathies.” For instance, in TFA, when Kylo’s helmet comes off... it’s really just so he can get more hateable and become more fo a human monster - the usual hum inaction elements are turned on their head with him fanatically murdering his father and thanking him for being murdered, and whining like a brat at Finn for having a lightsaber he wants. In contrast and to its detriment, TLJ features an almost entirely helmetless Kylo and wants him viewed sympathetically, even moving his scar to make him seem more roguish and handsome... which just ends up like pi$$ing in the wind if you’re someone who remembers him violating Rey’s mind in TFA and the sexual assault vibes therein.

    For another example... in TFA, his tantrums are played deliberately for comedy and belittlement of his attitude; even if you lose track of the fact he’s still dangerous, you know you don’t root for him. TLJ, in contrast, has him break his helmet in a tantrum and throw another one around Rey, but for some reason thinks this makes him seem more “mesmerizingly moody” than not.

    Quote Originally Posted by Celgress View Post
    His Darth Vader cosplay left a lot to be desired.
    Ah, but which film’s “Vader cosplay” was better or worse?

    The TFA suit is the only one that I think actually had some good and intriguing design elements. Like the rest of his costumes, it’s meant to be a bluntly Vader-like suit... but 1) it does have a twist on the design basis, and 2) it has better detailing and aesthetic structure.

    That helmet of his was not designed to be worn without a cowl/hood; with the cowl/hood, it allows for a more menacing silhouette that differs from Vader’s, but without them, it’s neck guard is too short and it seems a size too small. His “tattered tabard” look in TFA all’s makes his silhouette different from Vader’s, by making him seem more like a lean tower than a mountain as Vader was - the “skirt” of his suit makes his image one long, unbroken shadow. And the more western style “knight” design of the suit differs from Vader’s samurai design, while also seeing to match Kylo's saber, unstable state thanks to it’s tears and weathering, and really emphasizes the more violent side of his “Noble pretensions.”

    In contrast... his TROS suit is far more bland, coming off as juts a Vader suit with the armor and tech removed with a half-hearted repair job on his helmet being useless... but not as useless as the almost entirely helmetless and equally bland TLJ look that occasionally forsook the cape. At least TFA’s design feels like a costume and has warlike connotations. His TLJ look feels like a cheap Renaissance Festival dresser.
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  9. #9
    Astonishing Member thwhtGuardian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by godisawesome View Post
    I actually think the point of the quip, aside from humor, was to set the tone for how the audience is supposed to view Kylo and the First Order - they’re more respectable villains, merely hateable and dangerous ones. They lack “evil virtues” like Vader’s respect for the non-com officer who voices the problem to taking Leia prisoner, or Tarkin’s professionalism. They’re not veterans of a previous Galaxy spanning conflict who’s allowed themselves to be corrupted into totalitarians afterwards; they’re totalitarians seeking a Galaxy spanning conflict to justify themselves and their decisions.

    Poe makes the quip about Kylo to his face, but then has a moment of quiet but audible horror as Kylo spitefully and needlessly orders the village murdered. Poe has bravado and definitely comes off as more mature and grow-up than Kylo in his interrogation... but still ends up being broken and having the information ripped from his mind.

    The First Order isn’t standing in for the Wehrmacht in WWII. They are, in Abrams own comparison, more like the SS in Argentina and Neo-Nazis. They’re not professional hit men, they’re serial killers and hate criminals. They’re terrorist members of a rogue state, not the professional military from the hegemonic power. They’re not “the man” as much as they’re the reactionaries. Heck, Kylo isn’t even so much the scary inquisitor that Vader is in ANH with Leia - he’s almost explicitly portrayed like a pervy predator.

    Having said all that, I apologize for trying to “correct” you. I see what you mean about it lessening the seriousness of the situation

    I juts think that was intentional in regards to Kylo. You aren’s supposed to have any respect for him in TFA. The reason I think TLJ and TROS are much worse is because they presumed respect for him, and operate in a way where if that’s not true... then they’re just wildly messed up in terms of their POV and “sympathies.” For instance, in TFA, when Kylo’s helmet comes off... it’s really just so he can get more hateable and become more fo a human monster - the usual hum inaction elements are turned on their head with him fanatically murdering his father and thanking him for being murdered, and whining like a brat at Finn for having a lightsaber he wants. In contrast and to its detriment, TLJ features an almost entirely helmetless Kylo and wants him viewed sympathetically, even moving his scar to make him seem more roguish and handsome... which just ends up like pi$$ing in the wind if you’re someone who remembers him violating Rey’s mind in TFA and the sexual assault vibes therein.

    For another example... in TFA, his tantrums are played deliberately for comedy and belittlement of his attitude; even if you lose track of the fact he’s still dangerous, you know you don’t root for him. TLJ, in contrast, has him break his helmet in a tantrum and throw another one around Rey, but for some reason thinks this makes him seem more “mesmerizingly moody” than not.


    Ah, but which film’s “Vader cosplay” was better or worse?

    The TFA suit is the only one that I think actually had some good and intriguing design elements. Like the rest of his costumes, it’s meant to be a bluntly Vader-like suit... but 1) it does have a twist on the design basis, and 2) it has better detailing and aesthetic structure.

    That helmet of his was not designed to be worn without a cowl/hood; with the cowl/hood, it allows for a more menacing silhouette that differs from Vader’s, but without them, it’s neck guard is too short and it seems a size too small. His “tattered tabard” look in TFA all’s makes his silhouette different from Vader’s, by making him seem more like a lean tower than a mountain as Vader was - the “skirt” of his suit makes his image one long, unbroken shadow. And the more western style “knight” design of the suit differs from Vader’s samurai design, while also seeing to match Kylo's saber, unstable state thanks to it’s tears and weathering, and really emphasizes the more violent side of his “Noble pretensions.”

    In contrast... his TROS suit is far more bland, coming off as juts a Vader suit with the armor and tech removed with a half-hearted repair job on his helmet being useless... but not as useless as the almost entirely helmetless and equally bland TLJ look that occasionally forsook the cape. At least TFA’s design feels like a costume and has warlike connotations. His TLJ look feels like a cheap Renaissance Festival dresser.
    But it doesn't make him seem dangerous...it just makes a joke out of him and that they double down on it through the rest of the film with his tantrums makes it so you don't take him as a serious threat ever again.
    Last edited by thwhtGuardian; 06-14-2020 at 01:45 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by thwhtGuardian View Post
    But it doesn't make him seem dangerous...it just makes a joke out of him and that they double down on it through the rest of the film with his tantrums makes it so you don't take him as a serious threat ever again.
    He’s still a serious threat, he’s just a threat who’s more loathsome instead of intimidating.

    He’s the pervy predator and school shooter, not the hardened black knight.

    He is a Steven King bully, not a Steven King monster.

    He’s HHH mid-Reign of Terror, not the Undertaker at Wrestlemania.

    He’s the guy who murdered his loving father when Han reaches out to him and put himself at his mercy, not the guy who killed his former mentor in a lightsaber duel.

    He’s the guy who’s blood you thirst for, not the guy you check underneath your bed for.

    To me, that’s useful as a foil and motivator for the heroes, and a villain who has the potential to be more than that in later film, in the same way that Vader became more than just a big enforcer in later films.

    But regardless... it’s still either better than what TLJ and TROS did, or what TLJ and TROS did was worse.
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    Astonishing Member thwhtGuardian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by godisawesome View Post
    He’s still a serious threat, he’s just a threat who’s more loathsome instead of intimidating.

    He’s the pervy predator and school shooter, not the hardened black knight.

    He is a Steven King bully, not a Steven King monster.

    He’s HHH mid-Reign of Terror, not the Undertaker at Wrestlemania.

    He’s the guy who murdered his loving father when Han reaches out to him and put himself at his mercy, not the guy who killed his former mentor in a lightsaber duel.

    He’s the guy who’s blood you thirst for, not the guy you check underneath your bed for.

    To me, that’s useful as a foil and motivator for the heroes, and a villain who has the potential to be more than that in later film, in the same way that Vader became more than just a big enforcer in later films.

    But regardless... it’s still either better than what TLJ and TROS did, or what TLJ and TROS did was worse.
    If it was real life that might be true...but its fiction and in fiction if you make a mockery of a character continuously the illusion of threat is shattered and in the sequels they never did anything to build it back up.

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    Quote Originally Posted by thwhtGuardian View Post
    If it was real life that might be true...but its fiction and in fiction if you make a mockery of a character continuously the illusion of threat is shattered and in the sequels they never did anything to build it back up.
    Now there, I agree.

    Kylo, as a villain for Rey, needed an evolution phase just as much as she needed an evolution as a hero - arguably more so, as sometimes a decent villain and conflict can overcome a blander hero.

    My perspective that it’s okay probably is tied to the fact that I think Finn’s story still works pretty well in TFA in isolation - and since Finn’s Force sensitivity was only implied in the film and it was meant to launch Rey’s story, Kylo not only remained a superior combatant on paper, but also got to notch the physical victory over Finn.

    If you’re like me and were engrossed with Finn’s story in TFA, than Kylo acts as a pretty good traditional villain for him as well, since Finn never shows any mocking bravado to Kylo, is in fact very afraid of him, and Kylo doesn’t really lose any intimidation factor. Finn gets a moral and strategic victory over Kylo in that he’s the reason SKB is blowing up and in that he delays Kylo long enough fro Rey to rise again... but still gets his back filleted and put in coma.

    But as a villain for Rey... he needed to have a rematch he won on the next film, and probably have Rey’s personal internal conflict driven by the suffering he caused her. Without that, he ends up undermined in that role.

    Again though... I’d argue he got worse in the later films when they tried to treat him as a protagonist. A crappy, bratty villain still probably ranks above a crappy, bratty “anti-hero.“
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  13. #13
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    I think Kylo's costume was great, casting was great. Yeah, Adam Driver is a strong actor, but more than that he seemed to have a really clear idea with what to do with his character even within the text and the other poor filmic decisions. But that's probably because Kylo's plot is a classic with a slight twist and the scenes with Kylo are always the best scenes in the trilogy by a head and shoulders. He never had to be in a poorly paced comedic scene or a "filling space" scene because his story IS the plot. The trilogy is about him, almost more even than it's about Rey, frankly, and the whole thing should have just embraced that fact and been about the two of them. Arguable just to what scale - I think you could argue easily that you could scale it back and not even have legacy characters in it and focus on them and be stronger for it without chancing ruining anyone's childhoods, or there could have been a balanced approach that worked better. But they work together and he works with Hux (I still think pairing an ersatz would-be Vader with a sniveling type and playing those testosterone and privilege subtleties was a smart choice). He works with Snoke even if Snoke doesn't work. He works well with officers and stormtroopers who just stay out of the way. He works with Luke (could've had more of that). He works with Han. He works! He worked with Poe!

    When all is said and done and the dust settles (I have not yet rewatched the whole sequel trillo) I do think Kylo will likely be the only part of it I really carry with me as like "oh that was a cool bit, I like that bit, fanboy of that bit".
    Last edited by K. Jones; 06-25-2020 at 08:33 AM.
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  14. #14
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    Adam Driver is a great actor and I am glad that playing Kylo gave him exposure and financial security (i.e. "f--k you money") to do what he wishes going forward. I think he's a better actor in the smaller character-centric independent drama like Marriage Story than he is in big blockbusters.

    I think Kylo Ren/Ben did a lot for Adam Driver. I am not sure though if the Sequel Trilogy did the best it could with him or with any of the new characters.

    I like the conclusion of The Rise of Skywalker in terms of acting and seeing him interact with Han's ghost and with Rey, but I don't quite care for how things got there.

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    I think Kylo Ren was a good concept for a villain that started strong, had a good second act, and then the Powers That Me botched up at the very end. Maybe later as we get used to the story being what it is, things will work better, I don't think he lived up to it in the end, which is sad given how good the set up was.

    All that said, Adam Driver did well in the role. Even the bad parts had him delivering as an actor.
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