It was good. You know this. Obviously, I shall enjoy the next episode, but I think that “The Force Awakens” actually made me more excited for the next season of “Girls”.
Adam Driver probably gives my favourite performance as a villain in the entire saga. The heroic Anakin Skywalker probably wins out overall, but the fact that Vader sometimes comes off as a crippled old cyborg makes him somewhat less formidable and less flamboyant. He rarely had a chance to revel in his evil. Palpatine certainly did despite his more decrepit appearance. But Ani got some bad turns at the end of “Revenge”. Like . . . It obviously had to end in that way. There was never a question. But there was a part of me that just wanted Anakin and Obi-Wan to hug it out and continue on their galactic adventures. Otherwise, he could have just gone on as the Darth Vader he was at the start of the Mustafar ordeal. All the power of being a young, mostly intact Skywalker with the addition of shiny gold eyes! I had a similar feeling when I saw Tim Roth in that Hulk movie. It was great to see the Abomination on the big screen, but I loved watching Roth run around and fight the Hulk as an enhanced human.
But no. Emil Blonsky had to become that monstrosity, and Anakin had to lose the rest of his limbs, his wavy, dark locks, and a fair bit of impetuous fire. It doesn’t make Darth Vader a lesser antagonist. It just makes him appeal to me less.
It’s one of the weird dichotomies of those movies. The stoic Jedi Order is primarily represented by Luke, who clearly craves adventure and excitement despite the preferences of the monastic tradition he endeavours to continue. The Sith, a philosophy that places a premium on the power of emotion, is championed by Vader, who strives to suppress his passions and gives himself over in large part to his robotic side.
Kylo doesn’t have to endure such troubles as Vader did. He’s closer to the kind of “Star Wars” fan who might not have even noticed Vader’s infirmity for all of his tenebrous grandeur. He puts his grandfather on a pedastal that should be familiar to many people who grew up with the original trilogy, and he’s desperate to live up to that reputation. But in some ways, he might be more capable of achieving it. He’s not weighed down by unwelcome machinery. He’s not saddened by the loss of what he valued most in the world because what he values most is being what he is. Anakin fell to corruption in tragedy, but Kylo Ren’s really trying to savor the Dark Side. That’s a kind of villainy that plays more to me.
Best opening to a narrative crawl?
This one comes close, but I still think that "Revenge of the Sith" pulls ahead in this category.