The saga is complete.
Star Wars: Episode III-Revenge of the Sith is a 2005 space opera film directed by George Lucas, written by George Lucas, produced by Lucasfilm Ltd., and distributed by 20th Century Fox. The film stars Hayden Christensen and Ewan McGregor. It was nominated for Best Makeup and Hairstyling, but did not win. This is the sixth film in the Star Wars franchise, but the third chronologically. It was preceded by Star Wars: Episode II-Attack of the Clones and Star Wars: Episode VII-The Force Awakens, but followed in the chronology by Solo: A Star Wars Story.
"The dark side of the Force is a pathway to many abilities, some considered to be unnatural." -Emperor Palpatine
Nearing the end of the Clone Wars, the Jedi now hunt for the cowardly General Grievous to put the final nail in the Separatists' coffin. However, as the war comes closer to the end, Chancellor Palpatine makes a final move that will change the course of the war...taking Jedi Anakin Skywalker and manipulating him to use the dark side of the Force, paving the way for Darth Vader.
Revenge of the Sith is, without question, the best of the prequel trilogy. Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones are widely regarded by most people and by me as the two weakest films in the Skywalker Saga. This film is a vast improvement over Attack of the Clones, and we will get into why right now.
The best thing about this film is it finally captured the vibe and aesthetic of Star Wars, at least in the final thirty minutes. The film switches into high gear right after Anakin embraces the dark side and is dubbed Darth Vader. It's pretty much just a big action sequence after that, but there was something that immediately changed. There were still scenes that were big CGI messes, but less of them. Overall, it has more of the magic that the original trilogy has, making it a much more entertaining watch.
I also love seeing all the pieces fit together. There are other prequel films, such as Captain Marvel, that show everything get set up for the movies that are set in the future within the timeline. We see Palpatine become disfigured. We see the formation of the Empire. We understand why there aren't any Jedi left and why Yoda and Obi-Wan were in exile. Luke and Leia are born. And, of course, Anakin is thrown into the suit, becomes Darth Vader, and the Death Star begins to be built. It's really cool to watch movies do that.
I also think that most of the acting in this film is pretty good. Ewan McGregor gives the best performance he's given in these movies. He brings a new level of emotion to Obi-Wan that we haven't really seen from him or from Alec Guiness. Natalie Portman made her way into the positive section this time. She is also much more emotional and finally gives her role some color. She isn't just a flat, monotonous character any more. We get more of Ian McDiarmid, who has always been spectacular as the Emperor. His cackle and evil accent work great in this film, because we get to see it in full swing.
It's safe to say that Revenge of the Sith has the best action out of the Star Wars films. There are five lightsaber fights, and I'd say three of them are really good to great fight scenes. The standout is obviously Anakin vs. Obi-Wan, which is an emotional brawl that delivers on every level. The choreography is lightning quick, and it's shot in a way that captures all of that. I like the Yoda and Palpatine fight. It started off as a CGI lightsaber duel, but evolved more into a battle of the Force, which, if you read my How to Fix Attack of the Clones, you know that I really wanted the Yoda-Dooku fight to be that. And I think that the opening scene vs. Dooku is fun. It's a cool sequence that shows us Anakin and Obi-Wan fighting together, which we don't see enough of in the prequels.
The tone and emotional weight of this film are pretty great as well. This is also the darkest Star Wars film. Everything is very ominous and very foreboding, which makes this movie feel incredibly sad in a good way. Order 66 is a heavy punch to the gut. You see these Jedis just get massacred, and it's a pretty horrifying thing to experience. Padme begging Anakin to come back to the light side is also a relatively emotional scene. You see the connection that she feels to him, and it is only ruined by Hayden Christensen's dull performance. And, finally, Obi-Wan's last words to Anakin are really, really upsetting. You can tell the betrayal that Obi-Wan feels, and Ewan McGregor deserves all the credit for this scene.
And, as always, this film's score is just perfect. Williams captures the tone and weight of this film with these more somber pieces, as well as the Imperial March tossed into some of the scenes.
The effects in this film, while overused, are much better than in the previous two. They do fit into the environment a little bit more, and the green screens are nowhere near as obvious.
Revenge of the Sith contains the two biggest problems that Attack of the Clones had, though: Hayden Christensen is just terrible and the dialogue is still very unnatural and clunky.
I'm not going to delve into either of those specifically. I already complained about Hayden Christensen in my Attack of the Clones review. He is ever so slightly better in this film, but still, one of the worst performances in a film that I have ever seen.
As such, I berated the dialogue in the last two Star Wars reviews. The writing is just as awful and unsavory as in the previous films, and it is really unfortunate, because this movie had potential to be a whole lot better if the script was.
Besides those two, the biggest problems are with Anakin's turn to the dark side. They had it half right: the reason that he becomes Darth Vader should've been because of his mistrust in the Jedi and his loyalty to Chancellor Palpatine. Instead, they used that as a secondary part of his motivation, giving the spotlight to him wanting to save Padme's life.
The reason this doesn't work is simple: Why on Earth would he believe Palpatine? I mean, Darth Vader isn't really this guy that lost faith in the Jedi and turned to evil. He's a dude that got tricked into the dark side because an old man convinced him that he could save his wife with it. And, because of this, he killed a bunch of kids.
Speaking of, his turn is way too quick. It isn't really that gradual, and hasn't been built up throughout Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones, which gave this film a hard job, but he goes from crying in the Jedi Council room to slaughtering seven-year-old children in about ten minutes. That is a drastic shift, and it does not sit well with me.
Alongside that, it doesn't make sense to me that nobody figured out Palpatine was the Sith Lord behind everything way earlier. There are very clear red flags. He literally tells Anakin a Sith legend that is only known by the Sith. It is so obvious, and the surprise from Anakin when he finds out is a laughable scene.
I also think that Padme's death doesn't work, for two reasons. The first is that she dies...because. The reasoning that is given for Padme Amidala's death is that she has "simply lost the will to live.". THAT'S NOT A THING. I think that Lucas was going for her death to be because of her broken heart, but that is utterly ridiculous, even for Star Wars.
Secondly, her death caused that dreadful scene of Darth Vader screaming "NOOOOOOOOOOO!". Talk about ruining what should be a cool introduction. This is Darth Vader we are talking about. He is the most iconic villain in cinematic history. And in the first scene of his origin, he bends over and screams no because his wife is dead. That, my friends, is how to make a cool villain not cool.
Revenge of the Sith does have its problems, but, at the end of the day, it's a fun, solid entry in the Star Wars saga and delivers an exciting, action-packed, and emotional finale to a not so great trilogy.
I will give it a Savory rating. Age range is 8+.
SWEET N' SOUR SCALE
Sweet (Great) Savory (Good)
Sour (Bad) Moldy (Terrible)
"Star Wars: Episode III-Revenge of the Sith"
Fun Factor: 8/10
Directed by George Lucas
Rated PG-13 for sci-fi violence and action, disturbing themes, scary images
Released on May 19, 2005
2 hours and 20 minutes
Hayden Christensen as Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader
Ewan McGregor as Obi-Wan Kenobi
Natalie Portman as Padme Amidala
Ian McDiarmid as Emperor Palpatine
Frank Oz as Yoda
Jimmy Smits as Senator Bail Organa
Samuel L. Jackson as Mace Windu
Anthony Daniels as C-3PO
Christopher Lee as Count Dooku
Matthew Wood as General Grievous