The “emo” label is applied pretty liberally, as any sensitive boy singer from an alternative rock band can attest, but it specifically seems to be given to a lot of fictional characters who primarily wear black, have stylish hair, and are often sad or angry. Peter Parker in Spider-Man 3 was totally emo, for example, but Darth Vader is not because he doesn’t have any hair under his helmet. Then there’s Kylo Ren, who is a decidedly emo Star Wars character because of his black robes, long hair, and frustrated whining about not being evil enough. Despite that overwhelming evidence, though, Adam Driver doesn’t think Kylo Ren is emo—partly because he claims to not know what it means.
I missed the "emo" movement in its entirety because I just didn't give a shit in the 2000s. I never used Napster, I never followed or read music magazines after 1996 and there's a good reason for that--I was active duty military.
That fact changed how I followed and consumed music. I was still putting things on cassette tapes (until 2006 or so because of the vehicle that I drove) and I was not interested in reading any of the music magazines from the era of about 1997 to 2004 or so. Emo happened on both sides of that time, of course, but the break in how I learned about and followed music was driven by the reality of having limited accessibility to music information and to the really good record stores.
I swear to God this is true. Up until a few years ago, I thought Neutral Milk Hotel was a parody of a band name, and not an actual band with actual albums. I refused to believe they were a real thing.
Five or six years ago, I looked at an "alternative music" magazine and I thought it was a weird relic from an alternative universe. I didn't know any of the bands. I had never heard of any of them. I did freak out for a minute, and then I realized, "oh, this is the shit I don't care about."
For me and, I suspect, my new brother Adam, "emo" is the shit we never cared about because we were busy enjoying other things.