I had almost forgotten I was seeing a Star Wars movie. Somewhere between picking my soda flavor (Cherry Vanilla Diet Dr. Pepper) and tearing my ticket, I blacked out. But when those two words burst on screen accompanied by musical splendor, I jumped and laughed out loud. My brother laughed too. We were giddy because we were watching a Star Wars film. It was really happening.
And for two hours I was far, far away, wrapped up in a galaxy that still feels right at home. I loved almost every moment. (You know the exact moment that I didn’t love.)
After the film was over I was so anxious to text my friends; there were so many details to discuss – so many questions to sort out. Who is the heck is Rey? How long did it take Mark Hamill to memorize his lines?
I mean, let’s talk casting. Adam Driver as Kylo Ren? Hello, my confusing friend. Adam Driver just has a nice face. I don’t mean that he’s good looking–though I’m oddly attracted. I just mean he looks like a nice person. When we watch this nice face do awful things; it makes the entire movie interesting. This is supposed to be the face for hipsters everywhere! Surely, he really is handing over his lightsaber. Let it go, Ben. Ben! Let it GO! BEN NO BEN I HATE YOU WHYYYYY.
(Also, let’s talk about how Han and Leia named him Ben. I’d like to believe there were a lot of family moments where they all sat around and told little Ben about Obi Wan. And if that wasn’t the case, maybe it should have been. I don’t want to blame Leia and Han for Ben’s choices, but what wasn’t this boy getting at home?)
One of my friends didn’t feel the same about Kylo Ren. He made a good point though: Kylo Ren was introduced as someone with whom the Force was extremely strong. However, as we saw the movie progress, it seemed like Kylo was much more akin to a youngling than Ben Kenobi.
Kylo Ren’s abilities crumble before him; any guy who can stop a laser without looking should be able to emerge from a lightsaber battle with a complete novice–looking at you, Finn–unscathed. Just saying. Also, his lightsaber was totally homemade. (I want to see that DIY blog post.) I understood my friend’s point about Kylo, and I had a similar problem–not with Kylo Ren, but with Rey.
Rey. What a badass, right? I mean, wow. I’d love to see Rey and Furiosa team up at some point—not sure how to make that crossover happen outside of my personal fanfiction. (Working title: “Three Arms Kick Ass”)
The problem I had with Rey is that she knew absolutely nothing about the Force, and yet, she was pretty darn good at using it the last 45 minutes. So… a day after finding out the Force is real, she’s able to use Jedi mind tricks?
True story: it took me a year to find the switch on my vacuum that made the suction go from the hose to the bottom of the vacuum. I used it FOR AN ENTIRE YEAR thinking it was an awful machine. So I guess I found it a little unbelievable that Rey could pick all of this up so quickly. It wasn’t my understanding that we could all tap into the Force whenever we felt like it without training. Rey had no training, but could yield the power of the force; Kylo Ren had loads of training, and he still couldn’t overcome a complete novice.
And then it hit me: This is a classic case of knowledge versus understanding. Ohhh Star Wars, you philosophical dog, you. (Why aren’t there dogs in space?)
Kylo Ren has all the knowledge of the force he needs, and yet, he doesn’t get it. He looks for answers from the broken mask of his grandfather, not the Force. Rey is leagues below Kylo in terms of training and knowledge, and yet, she understands the Force. Did you see her with her eyes calmly closed in that final lightsaber battle? If that’s not understanding I don’t know the exact coordinates of Jakku!
So why does Rey get it while Ben’s so lost? Rey’s been living on her junkyard planet for entire life, right? So what did she have to have? Hope.
Rey lives off of hope; she gets hope because she’s had to tap into it every day just to keep on going. Kylo Ren does everything in his power to shut hope out. I don’t think it’s about talent or amount of Force in their veins. Kylo Ren and Rey probably have the same amount of midichlorians, but Rey leans into hope and that makes her understand the light side of the Force.
So even if you’re like me and horribly depressed about a certain part of The Force Awakens, have “a new hope.” (I had to.) Understand/feel/have faith in the Force, even if you don’t know it. Yoda’s voice: For a path to the Jedi this makes.