To start off, if you haven’t seen Star Wars: The Last Jedi…don’t read this.
Continuing on…The new Star Wars recently came out and rather than being greeted with cheers, it’s been greeted with controversy.
Because instead of offering movie-goers the same escapism of fantasy we are normally accustomed to, this movie offers us a more real-life sentiment.
“He (Kylo Ren) is someone who doesn’t think of himself as evil, but thinks of himself as right.”
Kylo Ren or Ben Solo, has been causing conversations among fans since his introduction to the screen. Killing beloved Han Solo, immediately pigeon-holed him in a category beyond redemption for some fans, while other saw it as a move on the path towards redemption.
This path continued on to this movie as we stripped away Kylo’s mask to reveal Ben Solo. We are shown throughout the movie Ben’s fall from grace, his connection with Rey, the killing of his abuser, ending to what we perceive is another fall to darkness.
In this movie we see his backstory. Good-old-uncle Luke tells us that Ben was sent to him from his parents to help be trained towards the light. For big enough fans who do more research, you know that Snoke has been in Ben’s head, corrupting his mind, since birth. Leia even states this in Force Awakens. He didn’t stand a chance as Snoke was corrupting his thoughts against friends and family just like anxiety sitting on his shoulder, reminding him he’s not good enough.
I want everyone to stop and think for a second…from birth, he had a burned up monster in his head, telling him that he would die or be killed if he didn’t go towards the dark. Then, we have Luke’s ‘kind-of’ murder attempt on Ben when he was younger…So, you’re a teenager and a man is telling you you will be killed for your power, then from your point of view someone who was supposed to “save you” tries to kill you. Because Snoke is so dark, he officially turns Ben into Kylo Ren with this.
Then we have the killing of Han Solo. Now, mostly this happened because JJ Abrams wanted to kill the character off and said that he wasn’t doing anything for the plot, so he had to die. But for Kylo, this meant getting rid of the past, something repeated throughout Last Jedi.
I’m not defending his action in that. I as an active Han Solo fan, was not happy with the decision. But, I want to go back to something for a second. Because we are use to these movies being “light and dark”, we forget the fact that each side has a belief behind their motivations. When we see a Resistance member kill a storm trooper, we don’t blink an eye…but what if they killed another Finn, a bad guy who wanted to escape?
That’s what The Last Jedi points out. The grey. We forget to see the reverse.
In Kylo’s mind he was abandoned, father left, Mom didn’t know what do so she shipped him off to Luke where Kylo was defined as “bad” and almost killed. In his mind, they are evil and he is not.
We forget that our heroes aren’t perfect and that their actions affect other people. Kylo is being affected by their poor actions but because of our idolizations of them, we throw Kylo to the sharks without hearing a defense. (And before anyone comes at me with murder, I would love to remind you this is a fictional WAR and everyone has killed someone in this series.)
Something interesting Rian Johnson did with Rey and Kylo is making them a part of something called the “Force Bond”, a visual and mental connection by The Force that allows them to communicate. With this bond, we see Kylo Ren disappear and Ben Solo come back. We see humanity. We see regret. We see compassion.
HERES WHERE WE GET INTO SOME STUFF.
Kylo and Rey. Light and Dark. Right?
Kylo and Rey represent yin and yang. While this is a light and dark contrasting, everyone seems to forget that with yin and yang, each side has some of the opposite in them. Rey had some dark, Kylo has light.
After Ben pleads (yeah, he used the word please) for Rey to join him, she turns him down and reaches for the lightsaber to make her escape. Where as in Force Awakens, the lightsaber flew to her over Kylo no problem, this time it pulled to both of them until it broke.
BECAUSE THEY ARE EQUALS.
Balance in the force. Once side cannot be stronger than the other or It will tip the scale. (Which is what the force is trying to tell them but we need three movies so we gotta wait for the next one for them to listen.)
What fans who hate this Star Wars are failing to see is this message. Our world is grey. We are grey. Our heroes are grey.
I understand this is not something people want to hear or see. In a world plagued by grey, we strive for pure good such as Harry Potter or Marvel Superheroes.
However, if we dive in to all these characters, you understand that they are grey as well. They make mistakes, they fix them, they make more.
Besides making money, these movies are always continuing with more movies because of the need for grey.
Star Wars is ending after Episode IX. No more Skywalkers. No more wars. There will be balance. The ‘villian’ will be redeemed, still dark, but redeemed.
So instead of complaining that your hero is flawed and your villain shows redemption, be thankful we have something to remind us that even in this grey world, hope can rise.