Star Wars Rewind: Revenge of the Sith review

So many years of build up has all led to this moment. Revenge of the Sith is considered by many to be the best of the prequels, and we happen to agree. The main reason being that it was the story everyone wanted to see. Fans finally got the chance to see Anakin Skywalker’s turn to the dark side in this tragic conclusion. How does it hold up? First, let’s look at the story.

A few years have passed and Anakin kills Count Dooku as he and Obi-Wan rescue Chancellor Palpatine (secretly Darth Sidious). With the Clone Wars coming to an end, Anakin finds out that his secret wife Padme is pregnant. Anakin soon finds himself having nightmares of Padme dying in childbirth and is willing to do anything to prevent this dark future from happening. If this wasn’t bad enough, Anakin is having a hard time trusting his fellow Jedi as they do not approve of his friendship with the seemingly benevolent chancellor. Palpatine, seeing the opportunity to turn the young Jedi to the dark side, offers to teach him his ways to save his wife and make him his new apprentice. This leads to betrayal, bloodshed, and the final battle of student against teacher as Anakin completes his descent and becomes Darth Vader.

There are so many great elements to appreciate in this film. One example being, this movie starts on a high note with one of the best openings we’ve ever seen. The sequence where Anakin and Obi-Wan rescue Chancellor Palpatine is this epic action scene that involves everything great about Star Wars. It’s a massive star fleet battle that involves ship firing at each other, lightsaber duels, and a lot of great banter between these characters. Truth be told, this opening feels like a live action episode of Star Wars: The Clone Wars animated series. Anyone who’s seen that show knows what we’re talking about. Everything from the pacing to the setting to the characters involved, feels a lot like that show. It’s a creative and energetic rush that gets you excited for what’s to come. 

After the opening, the film moves on to explore Anakin as he deals with a lot of tough situations. Not only does he want to protect Padme and their unborn child after losing his mother in the last film, but he finds himself being alienated by the Jedi when he chooses to defend Palpatine. You understand why he’s angry and want things to turn out well for this guy, but you inevitably know things are going to go wrong for him in the end. We still get some side missions involving Obi-Wan and the other Jedi, but the focus is where it should be: Anakin. The best moments in this movie are between Anakin and Palpatine. Ian McDiarmid plays one of the most interesting characters in this series and you can tell he’s having the time of his life. Being able to go from charmingly benevolent to over the top psychotic, he owns every second he’s on screen. Watching Anakin interact with this guy feels like he’s making a pact with the devil himself. This eventually leads to the best scene in the movie which is the opera house scene.

Not only is this scene well shot and dripping with atmosphere, but it builds up the mythology by exploring this universe’s mythos. This is the first time in any of these films where Lucas adds a mystical side to his world and characters. He adds a story within a story which is one of the biggest steps in making the world feel more real and believable. What makes it so great is that Palpatine doesn’t tell it as exposition like most movies do, he’s explaining how he can help Anakin through an old fable. A fable he may have had a part in and ties in to Anakin’s desires. It creates a whole new realm that feels unique to this universe. Everything from the acting to the writing in this scene is perfect. In our opinion, this is our favorite scene from any of the prequels. 

The story plays out closer to how you think it would play out. However, the one criticism we have is when Anakin does turns at the halfway point. Like many, we feel that it comes way too quick and out of nowhere. It’s one thing to give yourself to the dark side so you can save a loved one. But to go as far as to kill so many people, including children. Actions like this come out of nowhere and don’t feel supported.

Despite this, out of all the movies this film may have the best visual storytelling. You can watch this on mute and still get a good idea what the story is. It works because not only are these scenes edited and shot so well, but everyone looks the part. Hayden Christensen as Anakin looks amazing, he looks exactly how you’d imagine a young Darth Vader would look like. He demands a strong presence and can look intimidating in a lot of scenes. Some of his best moments are told without dialogue, when he contemplates what he’s going to happen to himself and others. We find that moments like this feel more powerful than any piece of dialogue written in these films. It’s not hard to see how he becomes one of the galaxy’s most threatening villains.

The film then culminates in one of the most epic lightsaber battles in cinema history. The duel between Anakin and Obi-Wan is both exhilarating and tragic to watch. Seeing these people who have known each other for years now fighting in this nightmarish landscape, you feel like you’ve transcended into hell. When it ends with Anakin crippled and burning in the lava as Obi-Wan tearfully leaves, it hurts every time we see it. In the last twenty minutes of the film, we see how the pieces fall into place for the original trilogy. It’s brilliant how Lucas parallels the procedure turning Anakin into Darth Vader with the death of Padme and the birth of their children. Which makes it all the more tragic when you realize he caused the future he tried so hard to prevent. 

There are some things fans like us have poked fun at over the years. Scenes like Darth Vader shouting “NO”, or even some of the dialogue and effects. However, despite this, we actually enjoy watching this film every once in a while. While it’s not perfect we did feel like we’ve explored a lot of themes and had a fun time watching it. This concludes our thoughts on the prequel trilogy. While it has become a cliche for people to make fun of these movies, each one did have something new to offer. They may have felt underwhelming compared to the previous films, but we still have fond memories analyzing and growing up with them.  For a while this seemed like the end for Star Wars films, but little did people realize that in ten years, the force would literally and figuratively reawaken.


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