Grant Paulsen’s review published on Letterboxd:
Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith (2005) is the most overrated Star Wars film of all time.
This film is heralded as a thematic masterpiece among those in the fandom, and at this point is most people’s favorite or second favorite Star Wars movie. And let me just say since I know some people out there still need to hear this for some reason, but there is nothing wrong with liking something. If you like this movie then that’s great, more power to you, enjoy it. However, what I cannot stand is the hypocrisy in the fan base, where they will absolutely ridicule and tear films like The Last Jedi to shreds (rightfully so), but then they don’t apply the same standards to this movie. I know I’m going to make a lot of enemies with this one because I know a lot of people seem to think that this movie is a masterpiece as well as one of if not the best Star Wars movie, so if you adore this movie and think it’s a masterpiece I doubt this review is going to change your mind. So you may not want to bother reading this review because it is going to be very critical of the film.
“He was the best star pilot in the galaxy, and a cunning warrior. And he was a good friend.”
To start off this opening is desperately trying to play catch-up to show us Obi-Wan and Anakin being “good friends”. Because the previous film only briefly hinted at great adventures between them that we don’t see. And the rest of their relationship is more like an uncle/nephew relationship rather than a friendship. Because Anakin whines about Obi-Wan behind his back even though Obi-Wan is never shown to be holding Anakin back, in fact we’re shown the opposite. And Anakin doesn’t even want to go save him from Geonosis and it’s only when Padmé tells him she’s going to help him that he goes along because he needs to protect her. Plus there’s the scene where he goes off on one to Padmé about Obi-Wan not being fair to him, this adds to the idea of Anakin talking shit about Obi-Wan behind his back. Their “friendship” that was described in the OT is just not what their relationship is in these movies. And this opening is desperately trying to make up for that. Plus there are some things to come later in this film that hinders the idea of him being a “good friend” to Obi-Wan. This great amazing Anakin that we were told about in the OT just is never present in these movies.
Obi-Wan and Anakin have insane plot armor in this opening. They fly directly into a huge battalion of droid ships and none of them are able to hit or destroy their Jedi fighters. And the elevator full of droids doesn't execute Obi-Wan and Anakin with their blasters immediately for some reason as soon as they enter the elevator. And the droids luckily just open the door right as Anakin is dangling from that floor and they don’t shoot and kill him for some reason. Also in their fight with Dooku he kicks Anakin away and is holding Obi-Wan in the air with the force and for some reason doesn’t slash at Obi-Wan and cut him in half with his lightsaber once he pushes him away. And he doesn’t do the same to Anakin for some reason. Also the floor that collapsed on top of Obi-Wan’s legs somehow doesn’t completely paralyze him and destroy the entire lower half of his body. I also think it’s pretty dumb for Palpatine to formulate his entire plan on Anakin killing Dooku, because what if Anakin decided not to do it. And what if Obi-Wan wasn’t knocked out? Then his plan would be fucked because there’s no way Obi-Wan would allow Anakin to kill Dooku. Also for some reason Anakin isn’t suspicious of Palpatine at all when he tells him to leave Obi-Wan to die, Palps literally could’ve just not said anything.
Then Grievous is introduced and he says “Just as Count Dooku predicted.” Meaning that Dooku made this plan with Palpatine to stage the kidnapping and Dooku planned this with Grievous without telling him that Palpatine is the Emperor and that they are simply staging a kidnapping. So Palpatine is really lucky that Grievous didn’t just execute him right then and there so he could win the war. And he didn’t know about Palpatine’s plan to have Anakin kill Dooku if he won their fight, meaning he thought this kidnap was for real. Also what if Dooku just spilled the beans on Palpatine right then and there once he found out he was betrayed, and what if Anakin just didn’t kill Dooku and actually decided to do the right thing and ignore Palpatine? This plan of his sure does rely on a lot of contrivances. Also why didn’t Grievous just keep them in the ray shields forever. The droids show up before R2 can disable them so why don’t they just kill R2 and just keep them in the ray shields forever. And again why don’t they all just execute them by blasters while they have them trapped. Also Palpatine is lucky he was able to survive that elevator incident or really this entire rescue mission without exposing himself. Especially with the elevator he easily almost died there and Anakin and Obi-Wan just luckily use their lasso ropes and fling themselves out of the elevator shafts because the floor they landed on just luckily had it’s door open for them to fall into. Also when Grievous escapes everyone and everything in that bridge room somehow isn’t immediately suffocated and somehow has the strength to withstand the vacuum of space. Also with half of that ship broken in half and plummeting towards Coruscant with no engine to slow it down, there’s no way they are putting out that fire and safely landing the ship without killing everyone on board as well as numerous civilians. In fact it’s kind of coming down like a big fucking asteroid, it’s pretty lucky that the entire city and part of the planet wasn’t destroyed. Seems like Palpatine didn’t think this plan through very well, because it relies on all these contrivances in order for it to work.
So you know how people like to criticize The Last Jedi for the Holdo maneuver? That is rightfully criticized, but they don’t apply the same standards to Revenge of the Sith, because this movie has a Holdo maneuver and no one acknowledges it. So Obi-Wan, Anakin, and Palpatine are caught in this thing called ray shields. And then I remembered that this is taking place before the original trilogy, meaning that they still have this technology, so this breaks the original trilogy significantly. Imagine if the Empire had ray shields on the Death Star in A New Hope, they’d be able to just catch all the heroes, kidnap them, and then they never make it to Yavin IV. The Death Star plans then never make it to the Rebellion, they would all be destroyed, and then the Empire wins. Also in Return of the Jedi, ray shields would’ve been able to kidnap the heroes on Endor, so the shield generator never gets taken down, and then Lando never destroys the second Death Star and the Empire wins once again. The ray shields do to ground battles and Empire infiltration what the Holdo maneuver does to space battles in the original trilogy.
So Palpatine sends numerous hologram messages and talks to people as Sidious through hologram communication throughout this entire trilogy and there’s something that is established later on that completely breaks and shatters this fact, and it’s really stupid that they did this because it literally breaks everything in terms of Palpatine keeping his secret. So “keep that in mind, I’m not done with it yet.”
Also Palpatine doesn’t order Grievous to move the Separatist leaders to Mustafar, he just suggests it, and Grievous just accepts this idea and says it’ll be done without even thinking about it. As a war general I’m pretty surprised he didn’t recommend doing something smarter like spreading them out all over the place instead of grouping them all on one planet where they could all potentially be killed if the enemy discovered their location.
“You’re so beautiful.” This exchange is infamous at this point, everyone knows how awkward this exchange is and how weird the acting and dialogue is from Hayden Christensen and Natalie Portman.
I feel like Anakin just has these nightmares about his loved ones whenever the plot needs him to so they can manufacture artificial drama to make Anakin conflicted about what he should do. And then the film completely character assassinates Yoda with one of the worst scenes in the trilogy. He literally just tells Anakin not to care about those he cares about. Throughout the whole series the Jedi just keep giving him non responses whenever he has any emotional problems instead of actually helping him and listening to him, which is part of what causes his fall to the dark side because they stupidly think that doing the opposite will prevent him from going down the dark path. “Fear of loss is a path to the dark side.” But nothing in this trilogy or this series supports that idea so the Jedi just come off as huge idiots and this entire scene and ideology comes off as extremely contrived. It’s not shown, developed, or fleshed out as to why the Jedi think this way and why they think it works. With what’s been established in this movie, the existence of the original trilogy relies on the Jedi code being stupid, I don’t know why George would hinge the entire story on poor writing like this.
I actually think Anakin is more whiny of a character in this film than he is in the rest of the trilogy. He’s become the youngest member to ever be put on the council, this is a huge honor but he is still bitching because they haven’t technically made him a master yet. This makes it really hard to sympathize with Anakin, and I think that is necessary given that this film is about his fall to the dark side. Also I feel like since Obi-Wan is apparently a really good friend with Anakin, I think he maybe should’ve asked Mace why they didn’t.
The Jedi all splitting off feels very contrived by the writing especially given that as far as they know right now, they only have to kill Grievous to end the war. So if they kill Grievous then Kashyyk will be theirs. And out of all the Jedi they choose to send away the two who are most important to be away from Anakin in order for his downfall to work. And having Anakin stay on Coruscant to spy on Palpatine instead of going with Obi-Wan to kill Grievous doesn’t work because of that thing I said that’s established later on that I wasn’t done with yet. So keep that in mind.
“We have surveyed all systems in the Republic and have found no sign of General Grievous.” First off why would you be surveying Republic systems? I think it would make more sense that Grievous is hiding on a Separatist system. Also is Utapau part of the Republic? If so how were the clone intelligence units able to find Grievous and not the Jedi. Also Palpatine giving them this information to them when they weren’t able to find anything somehow isn’t suspicious at all to the Jedi.
“It’s very dangerous putting them together, I don’t think the boy can handle it. I don’t trust him.” Ok then don’t put them together, this is the same problem with Episode II with the Jedi sending Anakin to protect Padmé. They can literally just send Anakin with Obi-Wan to kill Grievous again because of that thing that I’ll talk about later once it’s established in the story.
“A prophecy, that misread, could have been.” What?! Is this seriously the first time Yoda or any of the Jedi have ever considered this as a possibility?! And they’ve never looked into this thought before?! Wow.
Palpatine is being very suspicious and ominous here by telling Anakin this story about Plagueis and telling him that he thinks the Sith and the Jedi are similar in almost every way, and none of this tips Anakin off or raises any suspicion at all, especially when they are currently looking for an unknown Sith Lord at this time whom they think has secretly orchestrated this entire war. Anakin is an idiot, and this problem gets worse as the film goes on. Not to mention, if Anakin reported everything Palpatine said, especially the weird story about a power to save loved ones and Darth Plaguis, then his entire plan would’ve been exposed pretty hardcore. Especially if the Jedi knew that not too many should even know about Plaguis or if they knew the story about his power was a lie.
“A partial message was intercepted in a diplomatic packet from the chairman of Utapau.” What?! So you’re telling me Grievous didn’t imprison and kidnap all the leaders of Utapau that might be able to reach out to the Republic as soon as he took over the planet? Also if Utapau isn’t a Republic planet and this is just a fake thing that Palpatine made up, wouldn’t the council ask to see this message, because I think it would definitely raise an eyebrow if a Separatist planet is asking the Republic to help them. And if they are part of the Republic then why didn’t Grievous imprison all the leaders and chairmen once he takes control of the planet?
“It may turn out just to be another wild Bantha chase.” Ok but what if it’s not and you actually find Grievous there? His capture will end the war, everyone should be there as backup in case he is there. And killing him would render sending Yoda to Kashyyk moot, because this would end the war as far as the Jedi know at this point. And even then they could send the battalion of clones without Yoda and he can go as part of the backup to kill Grievous in case they find him there (which Obi-Wan does).
It’s told to us by the Utapau leaders that these droids are watching them to make sure they don’t spill the beans to Obi-Wan, but that’s stupid because there would be no way for them to tell if he did or not from that distance. How did they not see Obi-Wan secretly leave his ship as R4 flew it away? Why would they walk away and stop watching before the ship has left the planet? And how would they know what the leader told Obi-Wan if they’re that far away?! These droids are really stupid. Why didn’t Obi-Wan wait for the clones to arrive before he attacked Grievous?! Why didn’t the droids open fire with their blasters and execute Obi-Wan once they had him surrounded?! The droids and the Separatists are really dumb. Also why didn’t Obi-Wan just lunge forward and kill Grievous as he’s taking ages to take off his cloak and unveil all his lightsabers. Obi-Wan is dumb.
“I sense a plot to destroy the Jedi.” Ok this is getting ridiculous. The Jedi’s minds and judgment are just clouded by the Force/Palpatine selectively whenever the plot needs their minds to be clouded. They can’t sense that Palpatine is the most powerful Sith Lord ever but Mace can sense a plot to destroy the Jedi. “The dark side of the force surrounds the Chancellor.” Again this goes into the issue of their minds being clouded selectively. Because now they can sense this because the plot needs them to.
The Jedi don’t know about Order 66 but for some reason they don’t wait until they have literally every Jedi at their side before they go to arrest Palpatine?! Also why don’t they arrest Palpatine at the Senate or just in a public setting where they have multiple eye witnesses then Palpatine won’t be able to use his Sith powers to stop them because if he did then he’d be exposed and then they can present evidence that they have to the Senate which we’ll get to later. Again the Jedi don’t know at all about Order 66, so they have no reason to believe that this wouldn’t be the obvious smarter option. And Palpatine’s entire plan relies on them being dumb and going with this stupid choice instead of the multiple other smarter options, because his plan hinges on them doing this so that he can use this as evidence against them in the Senate.
And with Anakin’s current development, when Palpatine reveals to him that he is the dark lord of the Sith, Anakin should have no chance of being swayed to the dark side at this point. Logically speaking, Palpatine is now the only threat to Padme once Grievous is dead, the best way to ensure she stays safe would be to get rid of Palpatine, but as we see later on Anakin’s actions go against what’s going on in his current frame of mind, but we’ll get to that later.
The fight between Obi-Wan and Grievous is dumb, because Grievous has no lightsabers at this point, so all Obi-Wan has to do is hold Grievous in the air with the force and crush him or toss Grievous over the edge. Or if Obi-Wan had to kill Grievous with the blaster, at the very least he should’ve used the force to his advantage during their fight, but Obi-Wan just forgets that he has it for some reason.
John Williams is a master and this film might have his best score yet. But I just don’t think the relationship between Anakin and Palpatine is strong enough to make me believe that he would risk everything for him. He knows that Palpatine is the strongest Sith Lord ever of all time and as far as he knows this is the only danger and the only threat to Padmé, whom he loves very much, so due to the weak relationship between him and Palpatine I don’t buy that he would make this huge decision based on extremely vague and weak information Palpatine gives him about knowing about a power that can save Padmé from dying. This needed to be much more solid along with including proof in order for this to be believable to me. Not to mention Palpatine literally says “to cheat death is a power only one has achieved but if we work together I know we can discover the secret.” Anakin at this moment should be like wait a minute, you told me you knew about this power and that you could teach it to me if I joined you. As soon as he hears this he should know that he was tricked and he shouldn’t want to join Palpatine anymore. Anakin is an idiot. And Anakin literally just now joined the dark side, his turn is so rushed and quick so him just being willing to kill all his friends and Jedi, raid the temple, and kill the children is not believable because this aspect was not fleshed out at all. Anakin doesn’t have a built up personal hatred for the Jedi that he’s been holding in that has been built up over the entire trilogy, he’s just willing to completely change in a matter of hours. This is some of the weakest character writing in the entire series, it’s almost as bad as the writing for Danaerys Targaryen in Game of Thrones Season 8.
And then there’s Order 66. While this scene is sad and the music is fucking great, once again the Jedi’s ability to sense what is coming is extremely selective in this trilogy and this time they just conveniently aren’t able to sense that the clones are about to slaughter them. Also it’s never alluded to in this trilogy that the Kamino people are Separatists, so the Jedi murder chip that’s placed in the heads of the clones doesn’t make sense in the context of this trilogy because why would a system that keeps to themselves and is neutral as far as we know agree to program their clones to massacre the people who have been the guardians of peace and justice for over a thousand generations at the order of one man?! Yoda is able to sense this coming but the other Jedi aren’t?! Also why do the clones walk up close to him so he can chop off their heads when they literally have ranged weapons?! Also why do they hesitate a little bit?! Obviously not all of the Jedi would have been able to escape their situation but some of them definitely would have if they sensed this beforehand. Also why do the clones let Bail Organa go when he literally witnessed them executing a child Jedi?! They should be worried as fuck about him reporting them to the Senate, they should be chasing him down relentlessly to kill him before he can spread the information. Plus this allows him to rescue Obi-Wan and Yoda, which in turn allows the entire third act to even occur. In fact if you think about it, the entire existence of the rebellion that we currently have in the OT hinges on this fucking contrivance lol.
When Bail Organa receives a request from the chancellor’s office to attend a special session of Congress, this exchange happens, “‘Could be a trap.’ ‘No I don’t think so. The chancellor will not be able to control the thousands of star systems without keeping the Senate in tact.’” Keep this in mind we aren’t done with it yet.
Real quick, I find it weird that the Senate is just so easily swayed and manipulated, they all come off as huge idiots when they’re applauding Palpatine’s suggestion to reorganize the Republic into the first Galactic Empire, even though he doesn’t have anywhere close to enough evidence to prove that what he’s saying is true. And throughout this whole trilogy we’ve been shown nothing but this system and the people within it being idiots and that it’s completely nonfunctional, so as a result I can’t sympathize or care about their system being turned into the Empire.
Ok now we’ve made it to the scene that breaks the entire movie as well as the entire trilogy really. So it’s revealed that they have SECURITY RECORDINGS OF ANAKIN EXECUTING JEDI AND PALPATINE REVEALING HIMSELF AS THE SITH LORD!!! And yet Obi-Wan and Yoda don’t show this to Padmé and take it to the Senate which is currently in session by the way. Based on what we know and what the characters know, there’s no reason for us or them to believe that this wouldn’t work. Also why not steal all the damning security footage you could find and then broadcast it live to the entire galaxy?! Also as we learned in Episode I, any senator can call for a vote of no confidence if they wanted to, so why doesn’t Padmé or Bail Organa do that before presenting the evidence they found. This would all be great reasoning to vote him out of office. Also how did no one ever stumble upon these recordings of Palpatine in the past?! These recordings come from cameras in the temple, the Senate, and Palpatine fucking office!!! He’s made messages as Sidious numerous times in this series but has never been caught on camera until now?! Does Palpatine know about these cameras?! If he didn’t then as a senator I think he definitely should have. And if he did then why the fuck wouldn’t he get rid of those cameras in his office?! Or just find a blind spot for all his Sith activities?! Also with the establishment that they have security cameras in Palpatine’s office, this means that the Jedi had a means of spying on him, so like I hinted at earlier, this means they could’ve just sent Anakin with Obi-Wan to kill Grievous. That way they know Anakin is safe and secure with his master, Palpatine won’t be able to manipulate him, because as Mace said earlier “It’s very dangerous putting them together.” And then they would’ve had greater chances of killing Grievous, end the war, and they can still spy on Palpatine through security cameras. Also no one in the Senate apparently ever begs the question of what motivation would the Jedi have to take over? Especially now that the war is over! This entire scene breaks the entire fucking film and maybe even the whole trilogy.
Also why wouldn’t the Senate want him to give up his emergency powers now that the war is “over”? I feel like Palpatine would have to make a pretty strong case to them in order to keep it. And I feel like not giving it back would be going against the very foundation and ideology of what the Senate believes in, so why would they agree with his Empire idea or even want to keep him in office?! Remember, “The chancellor will not be able to control the thousands of star systems without keeping the Senate in tact.” So this doesn’t work either.
Also this is more of an issue with Episode II, but there’s a lot of suspicion (or at least there should be) surrounding the creation of the clones and the Jedi just don’t look further into it at all.
The Jedi are an organization of munks that have been the guardians of peace and justice for over a thousand generations. And Palps is shouting about creating a galactic Empire, and yet he says the Jedi are the ones who are trying to take over, as he is literally shouting about taking over everything and the Senate applaud him because they’re stupid. And he literally executed all the Jedi, including the children, without any trial to prove that what he’s saying is true when the whole point of Episode I is that the Senate is tangled in endless debates. This entire thing should be going to trial and Obi-Wan and Yoda have all the evidence stacked against Palps that they need to get rid of him (that being the security footage that proves he’s a Sith Lord). But the Senate for no reason just take his word for it, this entire rise to power literally relies on everyone being a fucking moron.
Why don’t Obi-Wan and Yoda team up to go kill Palpatine?! You’d be a lot more likely to succeed if you were both working together. They should both go to kill Palpatine and then go find/kill Anakin. Every character is fucking stupid.
This is kind of a nitpick but I find it pretty convenient that Anakin couldn’t sense Obi-Wan on Mustafar when he was hiding on Padmé’s ship. I’m not sure if I buy that Anakin would conclude that Padmé conspired against him to bring Obi-Wan there to kill him rather than he just snuck onto the ship before it left. He apparently loves her so much that he went to Palpatine’s side but he’s willing to potentially choke the life out of her. Again this could work if Anakin being this far gone was actually believable and built up naturally in the writing.
I feel like Yoda and Palpatine could and probably should be using more force powers to their advantage in this fight rather than using their lightsabers. This is more of a subjective thing, but I feel like them fighting without lightsabers and just using their amazing force powers would’ve been really cool.
There just so happens to be platforms for Obi-Wan and Anakin to jump on during their fight after they’ve jumped from the ropes they’re swinging on. “From my point of view the Jedi are evil.” In a certain context I think this line could work really well, I just don’t think Anakin’s relationship and hatred with the Jedi is fleshed out enough. Which plays into what I said about Attack of the Clones where the death of Shmi could’ve been utilized as such great fuel for Anakin to hate the Jedi. Also Anakin and Obi-Wan should’ve been nothing more than a pile of flesh and bone by the end of their fight just from the temperature of the planet alone.
So Obi-Wan ultimately defeats Anakin and lets out one last monologue that’s actually very well acted by Ewan McGregor. Obi-Wan describes Anakin twice as his brother and that he cannot kill him because he loves him too much. So when Anakin catches on fire from the lava, which is a problem in of itself because Anakin should not have survived that but nevertheless I’ll move past that, Obi-Wan should be thinking “Oh shit, my brother is going to die agonizingly and painfully from this lava. I should put him out of his misery and kill him quickly, that would be the right thing and the most merciful thing to do.” But nope, he just walks away and allows Anakin to die slowly and painfully. Anakin was his brother and he loved Anakin, but apparently he won’t help him by making his death quick and painless. I guess the Jedi really are evil, man Obi-Wan Kenobi is kind of a terrible person. Not to mention putting Anakin out of his misery would help out the entire galaxy, because now Palpatine wouldn’t have Vader with him to help take over the galaxy. It certainly would make Palpatine’s job a lot harder, and Obi-Wan would be saving the galaxy by doing this. This is major character assassination for Obi-Wan Kenobi that is just as bad Luke Skywalker in The Last Jedi, because this is fundamentally something that Obi-Wan would never do, especially since he’s in the frame of mind of thinking that Anakin is going to die from this lava. And what makes it even worse is that the entire original trilogy relies on this character assassination. If Obi-Wan did what he should’ve done, then the events of the original trilogy don’t happen because the defeat of Palpatine relies on Anakin being there to save Luke, and he wouldn’t have if Obi-Wan did what would’ve been in-character for him to do. So George Lucas literally decided to make the original trilogy hinge on this character assassination for Obi-Wan Kenobi. I don’t understand how fans can tear The Last Jedi to shreds with that level of scrutiny, but not apply those same standards to the prequels.
I’m not sure how Padmé would have died here because it’s not the childbirth that killed her, it was her losing the will to live. I don’t think that’s how it works lol. At the end of Anakin and Obi-Wan’s fight when he loses, why didn’t Anakin just jump to an area further away from Obi-Wan so that he can continue the fight? And I guess I’m fine with Anakin surviving his injuries because he’s “The Chosen One” but I don’t know it still seems kinda flimsy to me.
And the whole reason Anakin became Darth Vader is because of his fear of Padmé dying, and the Emperor didn’t fulfill his promise to teach Anakin how to save her from death. So why the fuck is he still working with the Emperor?! I feel like this earth shattering reveal that the Emperor throws at Anakin about him killing Padmé in his anger should send him into completely insane mode. I feel like he would go on a rampage trying to kill the Emperor, and then potentially take his own life because he has nothing left to live for in his eyes. My goodness Anakin’s character is so poorly written in this film.
Wait so they’ve already began construction of the Death Star?! Is this scene a time jump? If not then how the fuck were they able to start construction on this thing without the Jedi or the Senate knowing about this?!
I get sending Luke and Leia their separate ways, but I don’t buy Obi-Wan and Yoda going into hiding right now because once again they have all this evidence to expose the Emperor at their disposal and again from their perspective they should think that this would work, and as far as the audience knows we are given no reason to believe it wouldn’t work either. They should be doing everything in their power to expose this guy but they just don’t for no reason.
Holy shit guys, my brain fucking hurts. Revenge of the Sith (2005) fucking sucks. How the fuck are there so many people who unironically think this is some misunderstood masterpiece as well as the best Star Wars movie?! This feels like Spider-Man 2 (2004) all over again. Yep it sucks, and I don’t see any way that can be refuted as of now.