After Attack of the Clones, it’s pretty easy to say that expectations weren’t exactly high for this movie. While everyone still went to see it (it is Star Wars after all), I doubt many were expecting it to turn out as good as it did. And that’s the beauty of the movie; even though it’s not perfect, it’s consistently surprising and delivers exactly where it counts, when it counts.
Revenge of the Sith is the final movie of the Prequel Trilogy, and we all knew how it had to end. So many things could’ve gone wrong here, especially considering Hayden Christensen proved in the last movie that he’s a pretty bad actor, but somehow, Lucas pulled it off. Anakin’s transformation from Jedi to Sith Lord is almost entirely believable and also succeeding at being a tragic, yet defining, moment for the franchise.
If you’ve been reading all my reviews for these movies over the past week, then you know I love Obi-Wan Kenobi as a character, and that doesn’t change one bit in this movie. Ewan McGregor gives his best performance of the franchise here, and he perfectly captures the turmoil inside Obi-Wan and even shows us a bit of the wise Ben Kenobi we see in A New Hope.
Hayden Christensen is also pretty good this time around, but still the low-point in terms of acting. He has improved since Attack of the Clones and even though it might not be enough to win over the harsher Prequel critics, he does a good enough job that you won’t find yourself rolling your eyes every time he opens his mouth.
That’s not to say there’s not groan-inducing dialogue in this movie (there is), but rather, it’s not near as substantial as it is in Attack of the Clones, and can be forgotten because there’s just so much good stuff going on.
If you’re able to look past Anakin and Padme’s eye-rolling, still melodramatic love confessions (I swear, they tell each other love each other at least every other sentence) and instead focus on the tragic downfall of an originally good man, Revenge of the Sith is a movie easy to enjoy.
For starters, the action is the best it’s ever been, rivaling even the iconic, nostalgic duels of the Original Trilogy. The opening scene itself is an adrenaline laced thrill ride that sets the stage for the rest of the movie. Granted, there’s an odd lull in the action right after this exciting introduction, which does distract a bit, but it’s remedied fast enough that it’s not crippling, just distracting.
But once the movie really gets into the prime conflict of the story, things pick up and get really, really good. It is true that some characters are given the short-end of the stick though, such as Count Dooku and Mace Windu (and a tip to all filmmakers: you never give Samuel Jackson the short end of the stick. Ever), but this is a movie about Anakin and his fall, so I suppose it would be odd if the secondary characters had more of a spotlight than they already do.
Thankfully, however, the main cast is given the perfect amount of screen-time, and rarely does the movie seem to lose track of where it’s going. It has a concise beginning, middle and end, and doens’t get caught up in itself the way Attack of the Clones did. While some of Lucas’ dialogue leaves a little to be desired, it delivers when it should, no doubt due to the actors, and thankfully doesn’t become overly distracting.
Revenge of the Sith isn’t a perfect movie, and it still has its flaws that occasionally hold it back, but it is a fitting conclusion to the tale of Anakin Skywalker, and an even better set-up for A New Hope. And thanks to new characters such as General Grievous (who is too awesome to not love) and past characters finally hitting their stride (Chancellor Palpatine), this movie is a great revival and conclusion to an even greater franchise.
With all that said, however, Revenge of the Sith truly shines, as most Star Wars movie often do, in its final act. The long awaited showdown between Anakin and Obi-Wan is every bit intense as it should be, and it proves to be an emotionally provoking and exhilarating duel between best friends that hits all the right notes.
The choreography is superb and brutal, and even though there’s a very limited amount of dialogue spoken, the two actors do an incredible job of portraying their anguish at having to fight such a close friend, and in Anakin’s case, mentor. And when it all comes to an end, it’s one of the most saddening, emotional scenes of the series that perfectly encapsulates all the conflicting emotions surrounding Anakin’s fall.
As if all that wasn’t enough, there is another climax happening parallel to Anakin and Obi-Wan’s showdown. While I’ll never quite understand why Lucas insists on every Star Wars movie has to have multiple climaxes, Revenge of the Sith handles it the best, as Yoda’s confrontation with Darth Sidious is as exciting as it is fun to watch.
However, it lacks the raw, emotional impact the duel between Obi-Wan and Anakin so awesomely mastered, and thus ends up feeling a little bit like a distraction. But, it’s still a great duel, and who doens’t love seeing Yoda showing off his skills?
Revenge of the Sith, in some miraculous way, ends up tying off every loose end and sets up A New Hope better than I could’ve dreamed it would. While it does stumble occasionally, it picks itself up every time and comes back stronger than before.
Indeed, this is a movie that just gets better and better as it goes on, and delivers an ending that acts as one of the most important moments in the entire Star Wars Saga. It’s one of my favorite Star Wars movies to watch, and it does just enough to make you forget about everything the previous films may have done wrong.