Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens (2015)
The Force Awakens introduced us to new characters and new settings, reigniting the franchise and building new layers on an already monumental saga. Rey, the strong-willed and determined hero, and Kylo Ren, the equally determined but sinister antagonist. They finally meet in the Forest of Takodana in one of the best sequences in the film.
This confrontation is as powerful as it is because of the meticulously crafted build-up by director J J Abrams. Each character is aware of the other’s existence, Kylo Ren driven to find the droid (BB-8) with the map that leads to the last Jedi, Luke Skywalker and Rey determined to get to him first.
The sequence in the forest of Takodana is the villain’s moment
The two are after the same goal with vastly different intentions while each faces challenges of their own in their journey. Rey is motivated by hope - a perfect contrast to the rage that drives Kylo Ren. They are enemies and yet share more in common than either of them expects and it is their first confrontation in the forest of Takodana that begins their complicated relationship.
The sequence itself is expertly directed, the setting of the forest is intimidating, Rey is alone armed only with a blaster, she knows the walls are closing in on her, very literally in fact as she backs into a rocky crevice. Kylo Ren emerges lightsaber in hand, Rey fires, Kylo Ren effortlessly bats it away, Rey stumbles firing shot after shot to no avail. She’s finally disarmed, Kylo Ren is in control, we see all hope melt from Rey’s expression, she knows she is completely overpowered.
Kylo Ren is set up as a furious, intimidating villain throughout the film, the sequence in the forest cements his character, he will let no one stop him. He is at his most powerful in this sequence, he has the protagonist at his complete mercy and the audience feels the genuine danger Rey is now enveloped in.
The sequence in the forest of Takodana is the villain’s moment, it’s that point in the film where the audience knows just how much of a threat the antagonist is, the moment changes everything, the hero is captured, the good guys are down. The villain has the high ground and that’s precisely what makes it a vital moment not just in the film but in the franchise.