The other day I watched The Last Jedi (mainly because I wanted to see the Praetorian Guard part again) and as I was watching the movie I realized that while the movie, of course, focused on every character the overall heart and soul of the film was provided by Kylo Ren. Rian Johnson has said many times that Kylo Ren was the character he was most excited to tackle and you can totally tell. He provided a compelling storyline to the Star Wars villain that helped incorporate him into the trilogy in a fascinating way while most of the other characters weren’t treated with as much care and attention. And I love that!
When J.J Abrams introduced this new villain in Kylo Ren I liked him but he ultimately felt too much like a ripoff of Darth Vader’s iconic character. He needed a little more substance and identity so that I could look at him and not immediately see this Darth Vader-wannabe. His best scenes in The Force Awakens were the scenes that involved him without his helmet because not only did we get to see him as his true self but Adam Driver is such a fantastic actor that you want to see his face and his emotions when he’s experiencing things. Rian Johnson knew this so he had Kylo Ren destroy his helmet within his first five minutes in The Last Jedi. Brilliant! That was the first step to his ultimate transformation and a sign that this movie was going to approach this character much differently.
Secondly, we got a truly heartfelt final moment between Ben Solo and his mother, Leia Organa. That was another important scene in the film that helped spur the story along in a rather epic fashion and created some empathy for his character.