Star Wars: Episode III- Revenge of the Sith (2005) Review

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An end to the prequel trilogy and a completion of the Skywalker saga…At least until Disney bought Lucasfilm and decided to continue the story for one more trilogy. Revenge of the Sith may be the most important Star Wars movie to me, as it was the first of the series that I saw in theatres. I don’t remember going to the movie theatre a lot when I was kid, but the most vivid memory I have being in a theatre as a kid was going to see this movie at my small two screen theatre in Columbiana, Ohio. I remember being so excited to go see it and trying to convince my brother to go too, but he kept saying that they already did Episode III. He was actually referring to the original trilogy with Episode VI- Return of the Jedi. After finally convincing, my brother, my mom, and I all went to go see it and I remember absolutely loving it and thinking it was my favorite of all the Star Wars movies. I also remember watching the previous movies and loving them more at the time than I do now as an adult, so does this one hold up better than the others over time?

My biggest complaints out of Attack of the Clones, acting, dialogue, missed opportunities, and the lack of the actual “Clone Wars”. I was expecting to finally get to see the so called epic “Clone Wars” and you know what? We actually did get to see it. The very beginning throws into a rescue mission where Anakin and Obi-Wan are to save Chancellor Palpatine. The opening instantly thrusts you into the middle of an epic battle between clones and droids. All of it being topped off with a rematch for our two heroes against Count Dooku. I will say that while it was sad to see Obi-Wan so easily thrown away for a second time against Dooku, it was equally awesome to see Anakin completely out match Dooku for his revenge with a little push from Palpatine. It was at this point that I had a feeling of actual execution on opportunity. We were also introduced to a new villain, General Grievous, who seems more like a gimmick with his four arms and four lightsabers rather than an actual useful villain to introduce in this final installment. It make me think back about what could have been if Darth Maul made it this far and it was him as the secondary villain instead of Grievous. It maybe would have flowed better, but I’m not here to say how I would do it.

Surprisingly this movie isn’t nearly as bad as the previous two and actually delivers to an extent on the setup of this being a finale to the Skywalker saga. It still had its moments with Anakin and Padme which weren’t as bad as before, but were still kind of eye rolling moments that I wish was just directed better. I also wasn’t much of a fan of the whole Palpatine vs Mace Windu and the other Jedi because 1. The other Jedi were killed far too quick and 2. I can’t help but laugh every time I see Ian McDiarmid make those faces when he’s swinging his lightsaber. He has some of the absolute worst fighting faces I’ve ever seen in a movie, but they’re so bad that they just make me laugh every time. There was also the appearance of Chewbacca who apparently knew Yoda and who fought in the Clone Wars. I guess he forgot to mention that to everyone in the original trilogy. Lastly, the biggest complaint I have about this movie is the sudden fall of Anakin. While I’m not on here to say how I would have done it differently, but to take someone who up to about halfway through the movie is still for the most part a truly good guy and then seemingly out of nowhere and for some hesitant reasons, make him fall to the dark side and kill kids…Not so sure about that. This goes back to the whole, not executing on opportunity issue that I brought up in the other reviews. This fall that he had, should’ve been something that was hinted at in the first movie, slowly built up to in the second movie, and finalized with an epic turn in the third movie. It’s more disappointing than anything else because we didn’t get to see the fall as it really could have been.

That being said. This movie is by far the best of the prequel trilogy. While it does have its head scratching moments that liken themselves to the previous two movies, it far outweighs those negatives to top tier Star Wars moments. I want to highlight one scene in particular, that for the casual viewer won’t really matter as much, but is certainly a scene that was what I believe the second biggest missed opportunity in all of Star Wars, only behind the better execution of Anakin’s fall. That scene is when Anakin and Palpatine are at the opera talking about Darth Plagueis. For the most part, nobody even knows who that is or really cares, but there’s two things that specifically are important about this scene. 1. It is the push that Palpatine needed to really get Anakin on the verge of turning dark and 2. It is probably the most wasted opportunity in the new trilogy by Disney. Without getting too much into it, they could have executed on Darth Plagueis and Palpatine with the whole resurrection aspect and all of that rather than try to force a new villain that’s not connected to anything we’ve known before with Snoke. I absolutely love the potential of what that scene could mean or be, but disappointed by what came out of it.

The other major highlight for me was what one could argue is one of the top three lightsaber duels in all of Star Wars. This was the moment, master vs apprentice. Obi-Wan and Anakin gave us one of the best and emotional moments in their duel. With the backdrop being the lava planet Mustafar, we got to see a grand showdown that for me personally was everything that I wanted. There was a lot more that I did want, but nothing more than wanting to see a matchup between these two. I know some will look at it and joke about them running around everywhere or the “high ground” moment, but for me I was so invested into these characters as a kid and still even now, that the fight when I first watched it was permanently etched into my memory. The true sadness and disappointment from Obi-Wan really hit me. He cared so much for Anakin and all of it was taken away from him when Anakin selfishly turned. It was in this moment that I started to think about something. Was this really the tragedy of Anakin turning to the dark side? Or was this (or should it have been) the tragedy of Obi-Wan? A man who never wanted to train Anakin, who disagreed with his master Qui-Gon about the young boy, but for his masters wish, he trained the boy, he raised him, he bonded with him. They were family. And in the end, he had to defeat the young boy. It was failure. And that I think is why this trilogy could arguably be more about the tragedy of Obi-Wan rather than Anakin.

In reviewing this trilogy, I found myself reliving old memories of a time when things seemed so much simpler and not as grey. Back then it was easy to just love or hate a movie, but now it’s different. I understand what I’m watching much more than when I was a kid and with that comes a sense of trying to sort out the grey area. There’s a lot in these prequel movies that is bad, most of which is usually the only highlighted points by fans. In reality, film is subjective and it may be true that you really absolutely hate the prequels, I believe that there are some out there that hate them because it’s the “cool” thing to do. I will admit that there are truly awful moments in these movies, but at the same time, I admit when there are redeeming moments or great overall portions of these movies that are great for the Star Wars franchise. I know many people who love these movies and I know many who hate them, but either way, they are still Star Wars movies. I appreciate what they did whether it be good or bad, and am glad that I can share my own view of the prequels in hopes of making some take a second look at them.

Grade: B-

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