What makes Kylo Ren so compelling?

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Re: What makes Kylo Ren so compelling?

Post by snufkin on Mon 23 May - 12:25

Great observations! And the wizard comparison is another reason why the new trilogy makes me wonder how many people involved in this project have read Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell, either as the standalone book or when it was optioned to be a LotR type blockbuster? Because instead of light v dark dichotomy it's old/ancient versus new/modern magic. The latter is particularly wild and one of the main protagonists (Strange) is put into service for the British Army as its magician (book is an AU set during the Napolionic Wars). As he progresses further along as a soldier, he becomes pulled more and more into the darker/wilder version of ancient magic and becomes a full blown warlock (the BBC adaption basically has him go full on warlock, which is to say pretty mad/self destructive). Which is how I always figured is what happened with Ren.
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Re: What makes Kylo Ren so compelling?

Post by Darth Dementor on Tue 31 May - 22:16

@Alixen wrote:Might as well make a brief first post before I go to bed.

For me, as a long time Star Wars fanatic, I was skeptical of the 'Knights of Ren' and none-Sith dark side users. But, actually, I think that Kylo is actually the most fascinating wielder of the dark that I have seen.

Maul lived on rule of cool and his lightsaber being a martial arts tool, and later being voiced by Sam Witwer. Dooku was practically not really a character, so much as a composite parody of Christopher Lee's various roles over the years, with a side of Sith. Palpatine was wonderful because he took such pleasure and showed such joy at being an utter monster, but take that away, and he was a generic manipulator and wizened old dark wizard. Vader? He is, or was, my solid favorite character in the fandom along with Luke, mostly for their relationship, TESB, and ROTJ.

But Kylo Ren is the first time I've actually found the character compelling and found their role interesting. In a way, he feels more like a 'dark master' than any of the other antagonists ever did, even if it's only before he starts to unravel. Palpatine was power incarnate, but it made him feel more like a malevolent entity more than a character, a force of nature. Dooku could lift stuff and throw a bit of lightning, but was mostly bladework. Maul was all martial arts and scary features. Vader was iconic, but has relatively few showings, even if they were the most versatile we saw pre-TFA; telepathic communication and choking across vast distances, lightsaber throwing, and being able to pelt Luke with lots of junk from various directions at once. Their anger was also, every one of them, petty and hardly controlled at the best of times.

Kylo Ren however is all control early on. I know, I know, tantrums, but hear me out. In the opening alone we get to see just how masterful his control of the force is, with his ability to sense and stop a blaster bolt at relatively close range, and completely freeze people also. That. Is. Genius. It's something that every single force user should use, and have thought of, because if your enemy isn't able to move - you win without having to even strike a blow. That's not to say he isn't 'evil' and and prone to murder, as the old man shows. That, however, was personal, which seems to be his greatest weakness - he really is as sentimental as his grandfather, in some ways.

We see his control of the force again when he freezes Rey, and then makes her pass out. So, here we have the ability to both subdue and capture someone in a way that can't be defended against, and leaves the captive utterly unharmed. Add to this the ability to mind probe, a power that has shown up before, but Kylo seems particularly good at and it paints a picture that he purposefully uses force abilities he may well have invented and the force in general in none-lethal ways. Very odd for a dark sider, who typically choke first and ask questions later, or at the very least rely more on their lightsaber than the force. To put it in fantasy context; practically every Jedi/Sith we have seen before are warriors who use a bit of magic, but Kylo is a wizard who just so happens to be able to use a sword. You can see from his 'saber duels (albeit wielded in a stylish and skilled manner) that while he is better with his blade than a Padawan, he is nowhere near as good with it as even a Knight of the old order.

Even his tantrums (told you I'd get to them) actually speak more of control than anything. The dark side makes people prone to rage, as happens when passion and anger are sources of power, and typically the death toll has always been high. We see several times that to work with Darth Vader was usually a pretty bad roll of the dice for your life expectancy. In every situation where Vader would have strangled someone, Kylo chose to take his rage out on something inanimate. That earns him points in my book. The closest he came to killing an ally in the film was using the force to drag the officer to his choke-hold, but we have no reason to think he killed that man, as he had purposefully been going to the console while the officer watched. The closest thing to 'evidence' that he does kill allies is the SNL skit, and that's about as none-canon as you can get while still involving the brand.

Even his fight with Rey shows his restraint, as he completely unravels. He pursues her, and strikes at her, but the entire him he never really loses control - we never have a moment, like when Luke fought Vader, that he lost his temper and lopped off a limb. The entire fight was him trying to win her over, even though it nearly cost him his life.

Sure, his fight with Finn reinforced that he is 'evil' by having his torture him and such, but let's not put our expectations too high. He is still a Sith-in-all-but-name. A Sith Cultist, perhaps, as he venerates a dead Sith Lord.

I almost don't want him to be redeemed, because I feel that if he pulls himself together he could be a fantastic long-term antagonist, and still a wielder of the dark side, without being an/the actual designated villain that Snoke clearly is.

Just my thoughts. I was surprised at this new dark side user who actually used some creativity with the force, and while not opposed to killing his enemies, doesn't seem to be so out of control that he kills his own men on a whim. Again, not trying to paint him as a good guy, or a 'poor baby', but he is certainly no Darth Maul or even Darth Vader.


@Alixen

That good sir was the finest debut since:

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Re: What makes Kylo Ren so compelling?

Post by Darth Rowan on Tue 31 May - 23:46

@Darth Dementor wrote:

That good sir was the finest debut since:
@Darth Dementor

"You are so right." XD
That Vader entrance is the best ever.



Which by the way, I love that Kylo Ren got an awesome entrance of his own. The entire sequence with his commander shuttle landing, the ominous music and then of course the smoke and his weirdly elegant stomping about. 10/10.


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Re: What makes Kylo Ren so compelling?

Post by Slade on Wed 1 Jun - 0:55

Yes! It was an entrance (or deplaning) worthy of Vader himself!
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Re: What makes Kylo Ren so compelling?

Post by Kessel on Wed 1 Jun - 1:03

@Darth Rowan wrote:
@Darth Dementor wrote:

That good sir was the finest debut since:
@Darth Dementor

"You are so right." XD
That Vader entrance is the best ever.



Which by the way, I love that Kylo Ren got an awesome entrance of his own. The entire sequence with his commander shuttle landing, the ominous music and then of course the smoke and his weirdly elegant stomping about. 10/10.

@Darth Rowan

I've always loved Vader and found him and his entrance very intimidating and commanding, but his grandson's entrance wins hands down. Kylo's entire entrance scene is amazing. It's so funny how we've all commented on the appeal of Kylo's stomping walk. I don't know what it is about that walk and his balled up fists, but I love it. I guess it's all that pent up emotions and all the other little details in his body language. He's such a work of art.

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Re: What makes Kylo Ren so compelling?

Post by Slade on Wed 1 Jun - 2:25

Kessel89 wrote:
@Darth Rowan wrote:
@Darth Dementor wrote:

That good sir was the finest debut since:
@Darth Dementor

"You are so right." XD
That Vader entrance is the best ever.



Which by the way, I love that Kylo Ren got an awesome entrance of his own. The entire sequence with his commander shuttle landing, the ominous music and then of course the smoke and his weirdly elegant stomping about. 10/10.

@Darth Rowan

I've always loved Vader and found him and his entrance very intimidating and commanding, but his grandson's entrance wins hands down. Kylo's entire entrance scene is amazing. It's so funny how we've all commented on the appeal of Kylo's stomping walk. I don't know what it is about that walk and his balled up fists, but I love it. I guess it's all that pent up emotions and all the other little details in his body language. He's such a work of art.
@Kessel89

I think it's the combination of barely controlled power/aggression and rather...seething...sexiness.  That moment when he stops Poe's blaster bolt is extremely sexy--so much power and control. It's also his voice with that voice modulator.  Smokin' hot!  And he walks like his b***s are so big he can't walk like a regular person!

 I also like how in his first scene, he is again surrounded by underworld-type imagery:  smoke, fire, darkness, barren desert landscape...
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Re: What makes Kylo Ren so compelling?

Post by Sylvia Snow on Wed 1 Jun - 3:22

His voice is what got my attention, the tone is just like purring. Also in TFA, the mask put more mystery and intriguing to him. No one know for sure who is he, how does he look like or what are his expression behind the mask until he take the mask off. I would said that it was a powerful scene when he reveals his face to Rey

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I just realized that your avatar is from Devil May Cry, no wonder I found it familiar WinksD
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Re: What makes Kylo Ren so compelling?

Post by Slade on Wed 1 Jun - 4:22

They actually used a purring cat to make part of his light saber noise.
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Re: What makes Kylo Ren so compelling?

Post by Saracene on Wed 1 Jun - 5:36

After rewatching ANH, Kylo beats his grandpa's first entrance hands down, IMO. The walk! The lights! The smoke! It's so dramatic Eurovision could have staged it Wink
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Re: What makes Kylo Ren so compelling?

Post by Darth Dementor on Wed 1 Jun - 20:18

Very gripping article that pleads Ben Solo is as much the "Luke" of the this trilogy as Rey (in terms of being the main FS protagonist of the story).
http://moviepilot.com/posts/3692675

It's strongest point is the parallel both faced with their struggle resisting the dark side and it's tendicies. And the decision processes Luke and Ben grappled with, on whether or not to kill their fathers.

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Re: What makes Kylo Ren so compelling?

Post by Slade on Wed 1 Jun - 21:28

Good article! That's the first time I've read the "who is Luke Skywalker?" lure of JJ Abrams. Food for thought...
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Re: What makes Kylo Ren so compelling?

Post by SoloSideCousin on Thu 2 Jun - 3:24

@Slade wrote:Good article! That's the first time I've read the "who is Luke Skywalker?" lure of JJ Abrams. Food for thought...
@Slade

Exactly! The question "Who is Luke Skywalker?" begs the answer, "Not who you thought he was." :-) Thanks for bringing this over @Darth Dementor! :-)
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Re: What makes Kylo Ren so compelling?

Post by Slade on Mon 4 Jul - 2:18

I came across this description from http://raven-star7.tumblr.com

to describe kylo ren as this film’s vader would be accurate in a sense (black cloak, polished headgear, husky voice). but it would also be to undersell the deep ingenuity with which this astonishing character has been crafted by abrams, kasdan and arndt, and also the wells of emotional tumult driver invests in him. kylo ren is a genuinely scary presence  throughout: his force levitations of unfortunate underlings, in particular, have the eerie abruptness of poltergeist activity. but there are a few scenes towards the climax of the film  in which elements of ren’s essential character are revealed, and the bottom suddenly drops out of the fun, turning the film into a kind of multi-coloured jacobean blood tragedy.
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Re: What makes Kylo Ren so compelling?

Post by motherofpearl1 on Sat 9 Jul - 7:57

That's an excellent description, actually.
He is scary, no doubt. Especially at the beginning. But as the film progresses and you start to see the human being behind the mask, you start to pity him. I'm a huge Han Solo fan, always have been, but I felt as much sorrow for his son as for Han in his 'death' scene - I really felt for this lonely young man who had been so colossally lied to.
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Re: What makes Kylo Ren so compelling?

Post by motherofpearl1 on Fri 22 Jul - 14:09

For everyone who's worried the next film might tone down on Kylo's sympathetic background...
I've just seen the 'Force Awakens: Cinematic Journey' on blu ray - it's an excellent doc, but both JJ and Adam once again refer to Kylo being 'broken' and that his parents, although well meaning, failed him. I don't think JJ would have this permanently encoded on the blu ray if the next films meant to 'reinvent' Kylo simply as someone who made the wrong political choices.
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Re: What makes Kylo Ren so compelling?

Post by FrolickingFizzgig on Fri 22 Jul - 14:20

@motherofpearl1 wrote:For everyone who's worried the next film might tone down on Kylo's sympathetic background...
I've just seen the 'Force Awakens: Cinematic Journey' on blu ray - it's an excellent doc, but both JJ and Adam once again refer to Kylo being 'broken' and that his parents, although well meaning, failed him. I don't think JJ would have this permanently encoded on the blu ray if the next films meant to 'reinvent' Kylo simply as someone who made the wrong political choices.
@motherofpearl1
They might have made changes, they might not have. That's not a concern of mine. If they did, they were made before TFA was even released/long before JJ and Driver recorded that stuff for the documentary, probably before the concept for Bloodline was even handed to Claudia Gray. I trust that if (big hypothetical "if") changes were made, they were made because Rian's direction was just "better". The alterations can't have been humongous, and they certainly can't cancel out what is still present in the shooting script and Abrams' commentary on the DVD. By the time the DVD stuff was recorded I'm 100% sure Kylo's story was set-in-stone. They might have had one idea originally years ago during the filming of TFA that was later scrapped, but whatever the "new" background is, it absolutely has to do with Snoke watching Ben and Ben feeling abandoned by his family.
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Re: What makes Kylo Ren so compelling?

Post by vaderito on Fri 22 Jul - 15:50

@motherofpearl1 wrote:For everyone who's worried the next film might tone down on Kylo's sympathetic background...
I've just seen the 'Force Awakens: Cinematic Journey' on blu ray - it's an excellent doc, but both JJ and Adam once again refer to Kylo being 'broken' and that his parents, although well meaning, failed him. I don't think JJ would have this permanently encoded on the blu ray if the next films meant to 'reinvent' Kylo simply as someone who made the wrong political choices.
@motherofpearl1

To me, the most important hint of Kylo future form that documentary is Ben's inclusion in "family movie" montage at the end. No other antagonist character made the cut which shows that Ben's place isn't with the likes of Snoke, Hux and Phasma but with the good guys.
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Re: What makes Kylo Ren so compelling?

Post by motherofpearl1 on Sun 24 Jul - 8:19

I's funny but the more I see the film, the more I pity him.

What strikes me so powerfully is his expression when he removes the mask - he looked unhappy. Later, you see a smug look as he sets out to interrogate Rey, but that initial look of utter unhappiness is what stuck in my mind. All the things he'd done to erase the 'good' in him, and it hadn't brought him one bit of real happiness.
He may, according to Leia, have been a 'happy' child, but I suspect the adolescent and later the man he became had forgotten what it was like to feel happy. Crying or Very sad
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Re: What makes Kylo Ren so compelling?

Post by Jakku on Fri 29 Jul - 13:59

I was entranced by his movement - he walked like a very fit, athletic man, and those robes flowed wonderfully as he moved. Vader was scary, but the fact that he was being played by a non-actor really showed in his wooden gestures. But Kylo? The scene where he walked into the battlefield at Maz's (ex) castle was exactly the moment I thought "Ooh, I like this guy".

In fact, it was Rey's movements that made me fall in love with the film - her determined walk, her very straight back, her hands as she scraped the wall and stirred the insta-bread. She was such a non-Hollywood actor, and so graceful.

The moment I began to feel real compassion for Kylo, though, was right at the end when Rey stared at him across the chasm. When she turned to scamper away, I honestly thought she was running round to help him. I was aware of feeling slightly disappointed that she went back for Finn instead. By then, I felt that Kylo himself needed a ton of rescuing, and I wanted my heroine to be on the case!

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Re: What makes Kylo Ren so compelling?

Post by motherofpearl1 on Sat 30 Jul - 11:47

Oh yes, that got to me as well - something about the look on his face.

It's funny but....I can kind of understand, in a very small way, why he tried to quell the 'light' inside of him.

When you've suffered, and endured a great deal of emotional pain, sometimes you feel better when you're numb, when you can't feel anything at all. I think that was actually what Kylo was trying to do, destroy his ability to feel anything, because his sensitivity had brought him nothing but sorrow. When he confronted his father he more or less told him he just 'wanted the pain to stop.'

Which begs the question: just what had truly happened to this young man?
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Re: What makes Kylo Ren so compelling?

Post by snufkin on Tue 11 Oct - 19:05

@Starchaser wrote:like looking at a tiger that might let you pet it if he's not hungry or angry. Might turn into a kitty cat for a second. And THAT charms everyone. And it says a lot about the future of the character.

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Great observation seeing as how the Force sound he makes when Rey is around is literally purring.
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Re: What makes Kylo Ren so compelling?

Post by Moonjump05 on Sat 15 Oct - 18:29

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Re: What makes Kylo Ren so compelling?

Post by Armadeus on Sun 23 Oct - 3:53

I sense in the character echoes of Orestes, the hero of Aeschylus' 'The Oresteia' a trilogy of plays ('Agamemnon', 'The Libation Bearers', and 'The Eumenides') and among the oldest surviving works in the Western canon.

Orestes is a scion of the cursed House of Atreus and the following paragraph is interesting in how the cycle of violence that plagues Atreus' descendants can be likened to the violence that seems to have attached itself to the Skywalker bloodline:

Other important themes covered by the trilogy include: the cyclical nature of blood crimes (the ancient law of the Erinyes mandates that blood must be paid for with blood in an unending cycle of doom, and the bloody past history of the House of Atreus continues to affect events generation after generation in a self-perpetuating cycle of violence begetting violence); the lack of clarity between right and wrong (Agamemnon, Clytemnestra and Orestes are all faced with impossible moral choices, with no clearcut right and wrong); the conflict between the old and the new gods (the Erinyes represent the ancient, primitive laws which demand blood vengeance, while Apollo, and particularly Athena, represent the new order of reason and civilization); and the difficult nature of inheritence (and the responsibilities it carries with it).

In any case the plays are immensely fascinating in how their themes of justice and vengeance continue to be relevant 2000 years after they were originally written.
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Re: What makes Kylo Ren so compelling?

Post by Armadeus on Thu 8 Dec - 12:26

An analysis of TFA that is mercifully free of 'fan-nish' postulations and harangues.

http://birthmoviesdeath.com/2015/12/18/kylo-ren-is-the-centerpiece-of-star-wars-the-force-awakens



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