Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith

Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith ★★★½

Despite one’s individual opinions on ‘Revenge of the Sith’ or Star Wars in general, it is usually accepted that this film is easily the best of the prequel trilogy, and where I do not disagree with this stance whatsoever, I do not think it is quite as great as it is forever made out to be.

What this film does have over the first two films of the trilogy is a greater focus on its fight scenes. From the opening scene, ‘Revenge of the Sith’ clearly aims to improve on those previous, with that initial dogfight followed by the Count Dooku duel sequence improved tenfold from any seen in ‘Attack of the Clones’.

Despite this, as is the nature of the prequel trilogy, however, this film does have its notable terrible fight scene, this time in the form of the Palpatine v Jedi Order lightsaber duel in Palpatine’s office. For what should have been a marking moment of the film, and one of the better lightsaber fights of the franchise, it comes off as rushed and underdeveloped, in addition to horrid stunt and special effect work. ‘Revenge of the Sith’ also has perhaps one of the most disappointing final fights in my opinion. Where I have heard certain rebuttals for it based around Star Wars lore, I think I’ve made it perfectly clear that I don’t care about anything outside of that which I see on-screen when considering these films, so to me, it was nothing but a poorly executed scene. What we do have is two simultaneous fights (Anakin v Obi-Wan, and Yoda v Sideous - both of which should be incredible to watch) that focus far too heavily on being big and flashy than they are on being tense or emotional. Again, the result is that these fights feel like they are targeting blockbuster standards more than they are audience satisfaction.

For me (and most others, I’d assume), the defining moment of the film was the Order 66 sequence, which I actually found to be helmed with real care, and rightfully results in a powerful, emotional scene that is important for both audience and plot. Both score and tone were well handled, and added to the overall impact. On the subject, as opposed to the previous two films, I found this to have some really commendable shots throughout, with one really powerful one being Ki-Adi-Mindi’s Order 66 scene, in which a close up shows his clone troopers’ feet come to a stop is a deeply symbolic moment. This single shot was far greater than any others I remember from the previous films, and that really resonated with me.

As this is a prequel, ‘Revenge of the Sith’ fell for all the same issues as both previous films, including (but not limited to, of course) providing far too much of a focus on the politics behind the war, being far too exposition-heavy, and having too much forced humour throughout (especially by C-3PO). The film also, unfortunately, had numerous scenes that should have been fully signposted as iconic that were largely downplayed, and played as though they were of little significance. Despite this, John Williams’ score at least supported such moments as best it could, but even this was withheld.

I can say with no doubt in my mind that this is the best film of the prequel trilogy, but never lives up to the greatness of the original films. I’ve always considered this to be an overrated film, but on rewatch, where I still do not personally enjoy it quite as much as other certainly do, I appreciate why others adore it, and can not argue with that.

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