Episode III is the most well received of the prequel trilogy and for good reason. Sure it has clunky dialogue and too much CGI but it’s a good film overall. Personally it’s one of my favorite Star Wars films.
The opening sequence is full of action with Anakin and Obi-Wan on a mission to rescue the Chancellor. The space battle here is both funny and action packed. It shows us the bond between Kenobi and Anakin and leads to a climactic battle against Count Dooku.
Having watched the Clone Wars TV show, Anakin’s line “my powers have doubled since we last met” is more impactful. Throughout that show we see his character grow in strength. It isn’t necessary to watch the show but it sure adds to the finality of Dooku as well as the meeting with General Grievous. From the end of Attack of the Clones until now, we see a different Anakin. Their previous encounter left Anakin missing a limb and easily defeated. Now, Anakin defeats the sith handily. Since we know that the Jedi eventually becomes the Sith Darth Vader, it is not surprising to see him win so handily.
The film slows down a bit once the two Jedi finish their review mission and it becomes a bit more psychological. Again, there is some cheesy dialogue but we get to see the lengths to with Palpatine went to gain power. He manipulates Skywalker (a Republic general and extremely wise Jedi despite some portrayals to suggest otherwise), continues to fool the entire Jedi order, runs the war on both sides and finally takes over as Emperor of his newly formed Empire.
Darth Sidious is far more powerful than he is given credit for. This films shows us how he knew of Anakin’s relationship with Padme and her pregnancy, a fact not even Obi-Wan was aware of. The Sith Lord is everything that a Sith should be. Cunning, powerful in the Force, manipulative, wise, patient and more.
We also get to see the Jedi council and how they play right into the Sith’s plans. When Anakin is made a member of the council by Palpatine, the Jedi Council does not granted him the rank of master. Knowing the ambition of the young Jedi, Sidious was fully aware how upset this would make him. What makes it worse is when Kenobi asks his previous apprentice to spy on the Chancellor for the council. This and much more are what lead to Anakin becoming Vader. I used to think his turn to the dark side was only because of Padme but it’s so much more. Sure, his attempt to prevent her death play a part but his turn to the dark side is far more complex than that.
After some politics we get to the downfall of Star Wars second worst villain Grievous. If you are wondering who is the worst villain of Star Wars, it’s Jar Jar Binks of course…But seriously, Grievous is a no good weasel. Not even the Clone Wars show redeems him. He’s a coward who somehow managed to kill a bunch of Jedi and take their weapons. The idea of Grievous, a man who is more machine than even Vader was, is terrifying and could have been wonderful. Instead, you get the most poorly executed villain in all the films. Grievous is obnoxious and nothing but hateable. When you stack him up against villains like Vader, Sidious and Boba Fett, Grievous is a complete and utter disappointment. The only redeeming factor in the film is when Kenobi blasts the weasel in his heart and ends his life. Thank you Obi-Wan Kenobi, I understand now why you are our only hope.
Now we get to the rise of Darth Vader. As stated above, there is a lot that goes into it such as feeling betrayed by the Jedi council, his revenge for his mother’s death, his attempt to prevent Padme’s death by using the dark side and much more. While I mostly like how he becomes Vader, he does go from a good person to being willing to kill children rather quickly. This much of his turn to the dark side is unbelievable. Killing the adult Jedi and the seperatists on Mustafar I could see the early Vader doing but not killing younglings.
I also have another issue with the moment before he becomes Vader. Samuel L Jackson is not a bad actor but his scream when he loses his hand is atrocious. It’s so distracting that it ruins an otherwise great moment.
The film then takes us to see the execution of order 66, the Emperor’s plan to execute the Jedi once and for all using his clone army. This moment is one of the most tragic in the series if you have watched Clone Wars. The first clone to receive the order is Cody who fought side by side with Kenobi, Anakin and more throughout the entire war. They were close friends and comrades having bonded during war time and then they are ordered to kill their dear friends. What’s worse is they likely don’t even have the capacity to reject the order having been programmed to follow it.
The new Sith Vaded then makes his way to Mustafar and is shortly followed by Obi-Wan Kenobi and his wife Padme. What follows is some of the worst dialogue in the franchise such as “Anakin, you’re breaking my heart” but luckily it’s followed by the most episode light saber duel in the films. Vader vs Kenobi is an outstanding fight that demonstrates two equally matched force users at work against each other. The fight ranged across much of Mustafar and finally ends with the master cutting his once apprentice to pieces and leaving him to die. I can only imagine the grief Obi-Wan must have been feeling in that moment. After years of friendship he was forced to “kill” his best friend.
Seeing Vader in his suit was glorious until the fateful “No!!!” and Padme dying of a broken heart is absolutely ridiculous. These two black spot tarnish another side great end to the questionable trilogy.
Ultimately Revenge of the Sith is a powerful representation of betrayal, and the use of cunning to gain political advantage. While not perfect, there are amazing emotional moments and some truly great battles. The bad dialogue, overuse of CGI and some poor acting weigh down what otherwise would have been a masterpiece film as well received as the original trilogy. Yet, even so, I think it is a great part of the franchise and easily the best in the prequel trilogy.
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