What elevates entertainment into art is, I suppose, how it expands the views and understanding of life of the audience. Now weird as it is, the newest (and supposedly last) Star Wars episode did something like that for me. Even though it was not aiming to be iconoclastic and trope-breaking as the middle episode of this trilogy was, still this movie helped me understand something previously alien to me. I guess it's been bubbling under for the whole trilogy, but now it surfaced. 

I have never truy understood "bad boys" as an attractive romantic prospect. Not in entertainment and especially not in real life. But now! Thanks to broody, bad-tempered, side-switching planet-killer Kylo Ren, I am starting to see the appeal. Yes, he's ridiculous in his unfettered bursts of anger, but there is something touchingly toddler-like in his helplessness reining in his emotions. He can't help it, the poor thing! There is obviously something broken within him. But its precisely the child-likeness of his tantrums, the immaturity itself which promises possibility of healing, change and growth. [To my horror, I discovered the canon age of Kylo Ren was 29 in the last movie – in my head he's no older than early twenties max. Underdeveloped emotional regulation can be cute in a young man, but positively offputting in an adult one.]

So, on one hand the brokenness that inspires motherly pity and tenderness, on the other hand the hope of change, this is a potent mixture. Now, add to this the respect of Rey's physical space (nevermind the mindfucks). Kylo Ren extends his black-gloved hand for Rey. He wants Rey to take it, by her own choice. He wants Rey to want him, and is open about it. So much unnecessary suffering and anguish has resulted from the desire of being desired being labeled a solely feminine thing. IMO plenty of male misbehaviour is fueled by being ashamed of or not even knowing what to do with the wish of being pursued, desired, admired etc. Kylo Ren for all his faults has accepted this part of himself, albeit obsessively directed at Rey only. So, he's a merciless killer, tyrant and traitor, but also kind sorta respectful, and, I guess this is important, only at Rey. Nothing so sweet as being treated nicely by an otherwise complete asshole. 

The not seen in several generations special connection is ofc intoxicating. She can and does pull him out of the darkness, with a lightsaber thrust, and at a tragic moment, but anyways he abandons his evil ways – for her! But I'm so glad of this 21st century fairytale, where the mystical under unlucky stars connection to a dangerous, difficult man does not compel Rey to forge a relationship. It's not destiny, it's not fate, at least not the sort that binds her for the rest of her life. It's just a weird if memorable side episode in her life, and her _real_ life is with her _real_ friends, who've been worrying about this disturbing compulsion with that weird violent dude but are there to give a big hug now that it's all over. Pheew! I am sooo thankful for this. It's about personal choice in the new trilogy and they kept it consistent even with Rey-Lo.

A short list of pros and cons

- found out why Stormptroopers are so lousy shooters. They are mostly forced conscripts who don't even want to shoot anyone.

- but if this is the case, then why no-one, not even Finn, is trying to propagate for trying to stage a Stormtrooper mutiny? Rhis bothered me in the previous episode already, but especially now that it was confuirmed Finn was not an exception. I was expecting in the end the Empire/Last Order to be defeated by their own people, I even felt it was being foreshadowed a bit heavy-handedly, and then it never came. 

- It's no surprise to anyone Poe has past flings all over the galaxy, of all genders and orientations. Fits the character. But now that he's found Finn, why try to reignite past flames? Setting up possible romances right and left but not fulfilling any of them – romantic conclusions left as an exercise for the fanfic-leaning portion of the audience, I guess. Now you can choose of any ethnicity and gender! Blaah. 

- C3PO being awarded a bit of dignity was nice. I feel for the guy, always doing his best to fit in, always missing the mark. At last someone gave him any choice in his fate. And he chose to be a hero. Oh Rey! Half stone-cold, half really emphatetic, esp. to droids and non-human lifeforms.

- Don't complain that it was illogical that Sith planet produced a fleet of gigantic spaceships. They had nothing else to do for decades and obviously stripped their planet bare to produce materials for the fleet. 

- All in all OK but not spectacular. Must have been extremely stressful film to create a script for.