This is a long one, I promise to give it a rest after this!
Everyone brings their own perspective, baggage and personal history to these films. Heck - ANY story we read, hear or watch will be absorbed in a different way by each individual.
For me personally, I'm simply tired of being asked to care about cruel, violent people who commit murder, and in this current climate, a villain who belonged to an organization seeped in Nazi imagery, who murdered all his classmates while they were at school, and who repeatedly assaulted a much younger girl in the midst of the real world's #timesup movement, just hit WAAAAAY too close to home.
Obviously not everyone felt the same (and that's fine, it's just fiction!) but after TFA I honestly thought these films were doing something incredibly clever in depicting the true nature of evil: it's not grand and awe-inspiring like Vader, it's just whiny privileged self-absorption that thinks the world owes it everything. Evil - REAL evil - is banal and pathetic.
But my initial interpretation was clearly not one that was ultimately supported by the writing - we were, apparently, meant to see Kylo as a victim.
The thing is, I don't want to see HIS victims as nobodies who exist only as symbols of their murderer's internal rage and suffering.
I mean, I CARED about Max von Sydow's character. I was charmed by the way he said of Leia: "she'll always be a princess to me." I was impressed by the way he stared death in the face and didn't flinch when Kylo murdered him. (And apparently, the original plan was for this character to be Wedge Antilles!)
I cared about Korr Sella (Amaya from Legends of Tomorrow!) Leia's aide who gets sent to Hosnian Prime, and I felt her fear and horror as she stared at incoming death while others screamed and panicked around her, unable to do anything but wait for the inevitable. I cared about Rose's sister who clutches her half of the necklace as she blows herself up for the greater good.
I cared about the terrified nameless rebel soldiers in Rogue One who nevertheless held their ground against DARTH FUCKING VADER just to buy their comrades a few precious seconds to get the Death Star plans to safety so they could save countless lives. I even cared about the "many Bothans who died to bring us this information", due to the sad, venerable way Mon Mothma speaks of them.
And fine, some people don't care about any of those people. About a year ago I saw a Tumblr post that argued Kylo's participation in the genocide of all those planets shouldn't get in the way of his redemption because we didn't know any of the people on those planets, so who cares? A million lives is a statistic and all that, especially in a made-up story.
But what's the point of having people (even fictional ones) die tragically if we're not supposed to care about it? If people are going around saying "Ben Solo deserved better!" like he's an ACTUAL person, then my only response is: "Yeah, you know who else deserved better? All the people he killed." I just wish films would stop trying to have it both ways: for a villain to murder scores of innocent people to demonstrate how "evil" he is, and then expect the audience to root for their redemption anyway.
(There's been so much debate in the last few years as to why Prince Zuko's arc in Avatar the Last Airbender is considered the absolute BEST redemption arc of all time, and a huge part of that is that he doesn't murder anyone. He had a sense of honour and purpose and integrity (even at the beginning of his story) that Kylo couldn't DREAM of possessing, and despite all his bad deeds, he never crosses the line into taking someone else's life. Can you imagine Kylo risking his life to save Hux? Because Zuko does that for his own Hux in the very first season).
I don't want to dislike TROS, and in time I might be reconciled to the choices it makes regarding Kylo Ren. I mean let's face it, ultimately the guy DID run out of second chances. If he had gone with Han in TFA, he would have been fine. If he had gone with Rey in TLJ, Leia would have found a way to protect him. But he didn't, and by TROS he's lost the chance to go home: the only option he has left is to die as Ben Solo.
And despite the muddle of themes and motivations in these films, there is one thoroughfare that I appreciate: in TFA Kylo spots Luke/Anakin's lightsabre and petulantly shouts: "that belongs to me!" and then is visibly shocked when it nearly whacks him in the face on its way to Rey, its rightful owner. In TLJ he tries to undermine her by saying: "you're nothing, you're no one. You have no place in this story." There's a sense here that somewhere deep down, he knows he's not as important as he thinks he is.
And then finally, his redemption hinges upon the fact he finally realizes that Rey's life is more important than his, that she (on a meta level) is the main character, not him. They're not "yin-yang", they're not "the Force in balance", they're a person who deserves a second chance, and a person who has wasted all of his, and so the ONLY good thing Kylo/Ben EVER does in his life is finally put his narcissism aside and die so that she can live. The bad guy eventually understands that this girl can and should exist outside of their messed-up relationship, and so gives her that opportunity.
I... don't hate that?
I mean, if it's any consolation, those misogynists and fangirls are STILL furious, because the final word in this trilogy is that Rey is the protagonist, the true Skywalker heir, the saviour of the galaxy, even though they've spent the last four years convincing themselves that this whole thing was Kylo's story, that he was the main character, and that Rey was only his life coach/emotional support/"prize" for his redemption. That this isn't the case clearly does not compute with them.
They're still doing mental gymnastics trying to reconcile what they thought was going to happen (Ben and Rey living happily ever after, uniting both sides of the Force, raising the next generation of Jedi) with the reality of what HER story actually conveys: that she doesn't need him; she never did.
She's nineteen years old and she's gonna be fine. She's the one that gets to grow up, and find more friends, and fall in love, and have children, and travel the galaxy and have as many adventures as she likes. She has a clean slate and a found family that loves her and permanent freedom from the Force-bond that I assume was what kept compelling her to return to Kylo.
And on THAT subject, my friend had an interesting theory: that the Dyad-Force-Whatever was imposed upon Kylo and Rey to ensure a favourable outcome for Rey - the Force KNEW that she would at some point have to face Palpatine, and that she wouldn't survive the experience. She would need someone of equal power to be invested enough in her safety that he would literally give up his own life to save hers, which is exactly what happened.
So Kylo is redeemed for the sole purpose of saving Rey's life. His entire purpose in life (and this story) is to basically be the life insurance that the Force took out for Rey. It was never about him! Again, I don't hate that. The more I think about it, the more I kinda love it.
And I'm not saying that Finn wasn't EXTREMELY ill-served from the moment Kylo knocked him out so the focus could switch to Rey/Kylo as the main protagonist/antagonist, but he's alive, he's Force Sensitive, he gets to spend the rest of his life with the no-longer-distracted girl and hot X-wing pilot he adores, and I really, really hope that one day John Boyega will return in some capacity for the story his character deserves.
Whew, okay I'll shut up now.