Spoilers on for The Last Jedi, if you haven’t seen it yet (And really, what the hell are you waiting for?) check out our spoiler free review of the movie here.
Brother and sister? Cousins? Nope. Allies? Briefly. Bitter rivals? Definitely. Ken and Ryu style! As The Last Jedi draws to a close the embattled Resistance/Rebellion barely survives thanks to Rey’s clever and heroic intervention and the First Order/Empire crumbles beneath the weight of its own incompetence due to Kylo Ren’s impulsive childishness and ineptitude. And yet Ren and Rey remain inextricably linked, just as they were at the climax of The Force Awakens, both having literally and figuratively come so far and yet learned so little.
We’ll always have that Praetorian Guard battle though. If you can watch that free for all melee after Kylo telekinetically gives Snoke the ol’ Darth Maul special and not want toys of these guys (the updated TLJ designs are a must, of course, even for those of us suckers sitting on hundreds of dollars’ worth of TFA figures) then we can’t be friends. Or siblings. Or cousins. Or have a weird telepathic will-they-or-won’t-they devised by creepy Uncle Zombie Gollum. ANYWAY. Hasbro’s somewhat polarizing “Black Series” of not quite 6” figures has you covered, as unlike during TFA’s release when poor Finn in his pearly white Air Seinfelds was the only character peg warming up the place something awful, all your Last Jedi favorites are plentiful at retail and surprisingly even cheaper and easier to get ahold of online.
The Black Series tends to get a lot of shit from collectors for their human likenesses (or lack thereof) and upon unboxing these two love birds I could definitely feel their pain. Now that I’ve sat with these guys for a few days though I’m feeling like the problem isn’t with the likenesses but the expressions. Rey is less wonder and determination and more “I just woke up” while Kylo is less barely coiled rage and more “Something smells funny”. From certain angles these are fine, of course, but they fall far short of the head sculpts on the last few batches of Marvel Legends, especially the scary accurate Thor Ragnarok Loki.
These guys fare a lot better from the neck down, though the dreaded single jointed elbows (another collector pet peeve) do make an appearance, and make zero sense for two highly energetic sword wielders like Reylo here, but other than that and a barely mobile neck on Ren (and hip restricting hard rubber robes) , the movement is pretty much everything you’d expect (including fantastic rocker ankles) from a modern line that prides itself on super articulation.
Rey’s new, more Jedi-centric look as she leaves Luke Sykwalker on Ahch-To to confront would-be ally Kylo Ren looks great here, and is probably the most impressive visual aspect amongst either of these figures. The various textures of her robes, tunic, pants and belt are sculpted beautifully, even if the paint operations can’t quite keep up (more on that later). Rey is loaded down with well sculpted, painted and scaled accessories too, including Han’s blaster (which fits perfectly in her holster), her ass kicking Kilik-style bo-staff (with a strap that works nearly as well as the holster) and of course, an ignited version of Luke’s lightsaber.
Kylo’s new hood-less, robe-less garb is much less interesting, though the texturing on his tunic, leather-like cape, and belt are nearly as impressive as Rey’s, it’s just harder to appreciate the detail given its monochromatic nature. Ren is as light on accessories compared to Rey, packing a fairly worthless and easy to lose unignited saber but lacking his Helmet or any alternate hands that would make him look less dorky in single handed saber poses. Yeah, he barely wears the helmet in the movie but he also barely wears the cape. And for those wondering if Ren’s hands or head can be swapped with the TFA figure’s, forget about it, they ain’t goin’ nowhere.
While the paint operations on these guys, the high gloss on Kylo’s boots, the silver on the saber hilts, may impress, the application leaves a lot to be desired. Both of my figures have brown dots on the right side of their foreheads, and Rey has even more stray brown on her cheek. Yeah, this is dirt from rigorous Jedi training, right? Probably not. The various edges of Rey’s robes are sloppily applied as well, and there’s a missing app under her holster that breaks the illusion of the rest of the sculpt and paint’s good work on her costume. The left side of Rey’s hair was even stuck under her neck joint on my copy, resulting in an unintentionally windswept look once freed. Kylo fares better, again, by virtue of his simpler outfit, but if you get the chance you’ll definitely want to look these guys over before you commit to purchase.
Which brings us to the Bantha in the room. Price. If it seems like I’m shitting all over these guys, I’m really not. I was stoked to pick them up after seeing the movie and I’m glad to have them on my desk right now, but I’d imagine my mileage (parsecs?) would vary quite considerably had I paid the higher end of retail for them. Both online and in brick and mortar stores I’ve seen the prices on these vary anywhere from $10 to $25, so obviously the closer that you can get to the low end of that spectrum, as I did, the more you’ll enjoy these figures.