George Clark’s review published on Letterboxd:
Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith is a 2005 American space-epic written and directed by George Lucas and stars Ewan McGregor, Natalie Portman, Hayden Christensen, Ian McDiarmid, Samuel L. Jackson, Christopher Lee and Anthony Daniels. Set three years after the events of the Clone Wars, in Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones, the Jedi are spread across the galaxy, leading a large-scale war against the Separatists. After Count Dooku is killed, the Jedi Council dispatches Obi-Wan Kenobi to eliminate General Grievous whilst Palpatine manipulates Anakin into turning to the dark side of the Force and becoming his apprentice, Darth Vader.
Thankfully, for me episode three is the highlight of the prequel trilogy. After the disappointment of both The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones, it's nice to finally enjoy watching a Star Wars film as, when compared to it's predecessors and my multiple issues with them, Revenge of the Sith look like an utter masterpiece. Most notably, much of the storyline, dialogue and acting, mainly from Hayden Christensen, are a lot better in the third installment. Of course, Christensen still suffers from some awful dialogue decisions but his acting over the three years since Attack of the Clones came out had drastically improved and thankfully, the film is all the better for it. Say what you want about Lucas' one-take directing style, his over-reliance on blue screens or his cheesy tendency to reference himself time and time again, but his imagination and dedication to this universe is as brilliant as ever and, unlike the last two, allows the film room to breathe without feeling overly stylised or stuffed with constant content.
Nevertheless, I still feel like Revenge of the Sith was a missed opportunity. The scenes throughout the prequel trilogy where we spend time with Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi together are some of the best there is. Their characters are built in a way that suggests they have a brotherly bond at various points, they do display that bond well. However, throughout the vast majority of the prequels runtime, they're barely together. This sadly doesn't allow for that bond to be portrayed correctly and whilst the final moments they share together are incredibly moving and powerful as they duel it out, we as the audience feel virtually nothing once their bond is broken as it was never truly delved into as much as I would have wanted and thus, despite the final battle's dialogue being impactful, I was never as emotionally broken as others.
Similarly, one of the worst mistakes the film makes is how it glosses over Order 66. Like Attack of the Clones did with The Clone Wars, Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith completely skips over many of the implications of Order 66 and instead, decides to focus on Anakin turning whilst only montaging through the fates of many of the Jedi's. Of course, the transition from Anakin Skywalker to Darth Vader was always going to be the main focus of the prequels. Yet, the way Order 66 is condensed into less than an hour was a huge missed opportunity as the premise was there and could have easily been made into one of, if not, the best Star Wars movie there is.
Of course, like the previous two, there are other issues. Having covered both Order 66 and the painstaking absence of the "brotherly bond" between both Anakin and Obi, the last thing I want to say is just how badly executed I think Anakin's turn to the dark side truly was. The youngling scene is atrocious, watching a character cut down children was a terrible idea, and the reason he turned to the dark side, because he foretold Padmé's death, was a bland uninspired idea that sadly dampened the final product for me.
While watching these films, it soon becomes obvious that there is no avoiding the burden of predictability throughout the course of this franchise. Too many times you can guess where the storyline is heading. But with it's big action spectacles, vast improvements upon its predecessors and, while it may stumble in some departments, a much more emotional and powerful story arch, Revenge of the Sith may not be Star Wars at it's best, but it's certainly the prequels at there best. In the words of Samuel L. Jackson aka Master Jedi Mace Windu, "This is awesome!." And, for the most part, indeed it is. A very fitting ending to what was sadly, a very disappointing trilogy of films.
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What are your thoughts on Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith and the prequels as a whole?