Movie Review: "Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones"

Updated on December 27, 2019
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There are many movies that are worth seeing, but there are a lot of stinkers as well. My goal here is to weed out the good from the bad.

Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones

Theatrical Release: 5/16/2002
Theatrical Release: 5/16/2002 | Source

Synopsis

Jedi Knight Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) and his padawan learner, Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen), have been assigned to protect Padme Amidala (Natalie Portman) after an assassination attempt was made on her life. They have not seen her for a number of years, so they appreciate the reunion, but a second assassination may be imminent. Obi-Wan and Anakin are one with the force, so they are able react quickly should another assassination attempt be made. However, the search for the assassin responsible has raised more questions than it has answered.

There is a mysterious and very dangerous bounty hunter trying to kill Padme. While Anakin has been assigned to remain close to Padme to keep her safe, Obi-Wan has been tasked with finding answers. He needs to find out who the bounty hunter is, but more importantly, he needs to find out who hired the bounty hunter in the first place, as they will surely still want Padme dead if this bounty hunter is caught. On his search for answers, Obi-Wan Kenobi makes some discoveries that put Anakin, Padme, and himself in great danger, but his discoveries will also spark the beginning of the infamous Clone Wars, a war that would go on to have a lasting impact on the galaxy for generations.

Official Trailer

The Pros & Cons

The Pros
The Cons
Obi-Wan & Jango Fett (+5pts)
Anakin & Padme (-6pts)
The Clones & The Arena Battle (+6pts)
The Separatists & Geonosians (-2pts)
Yoda & Dooku (+5pts)
The Plot & The Climax (-4pts)
All movies start with an average score of 75pts, points are then added or subtracted based on each Pro and Con. Each Pro or Con is designated points, ranging from 0-10, to convey how significant these Pros or Cons are.
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Pro: Obi-Wan & Jango Fett (+5pts)

Throughout this movie, Obi-Wan was hunting the bounty hunter responsible for trying to assassinate Padme. I liked this hunt because it added quite a bit of mystery to this story. It showed the detective side of a Jedi's lifestyle, and led to a number of interesting revelations that kept me engaged in this storyline. Nonetheless, with each revelation came more questions, which ultimately led to a final reveal that would have a significant impact on the fate of the entire galaxy.

This storyline was far from being all mystery, however. There were a number of suspenseful moments, and cool action sequences. Jango Fett (Temuera Morrison) is a dangerous bounty hunter, and Obi-Wan Kenobi is a skilled Jedi Knight. When the two met, it was interesting to see them trying to use their different skills and weapons against one another offensively, as well as seeing how they relied on their unique skills to defend themselves. The characters complemented each other well, the chase was suspenseful, the mystery was interesting, and the fight sequences (one on land and one in space) were pretty entertaining. Due to all of this, this storyline was easily one of this movie's strengths.

Source

Con: Anakin & Padme (-6pts)

This was the worst part of this movie and was, as far as I am concerned, cringe-worthy. The awkward obsession that Anakin had toward Padme was creepy, and it got so much focus that it was hard to look past. This was made even more cringe-worthy by Anakin's constant wining. To be fair, I do not blame Hayden Christensen for how Anakin came across in this movie. I disliked the character, and I disliked the performance, but I am fairly certain that this is exactly what the young actor was directed to do.

It just made this storyline creepy, when it should have felt like the natural beginning of a forbidden romance. The creepiness made the romance feel unnatural, and then there was the fact that Padme seemed to randomly switch from not wanting to be with Anakin, to suddenly wanting to be with him. I get the need for this romance to happen, but the filmmakers tried to push it too far, too quickly. This storyline did not work and to focus on it so heavily made the issue even more apparent. It would be like rushing to create a centerpiece for a display, then having that centerpiece turn out poorly (because it was rushed), but directing everyone's attention toward it anyway, ensuring that everyone was painfully aware of how poorly it turned out.

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Pro: The Clones & The Arena Battle (+6pts)

The Anakin and Padme stuff was hard to get through, was boring, and slowed the movie way down. However, I thought everything with the clones was interesting, and the climactic arena battle was really cool. The storyline surrounding the clones was tied to Obi-Wan and Jango Fett, which meant it was shrouded in mystery, with Obi-Wan trying to get to the bottom of what was going on. Then there was the climactic arena battle that flipped the state of the galaxy on its head. With the Jedi taking on an army of droids, a deadly bounty hunter, and the arrival that happened toward the end of the arena battle, this battle was truly epic and was a lot of fun to watch. This movie gets a lot of hate, and most of it is warranted (although I feel like the hate is exaggerated in terms of its severity), but I really enjoyed the clone storyline and the arena battle provided some epic Star Wars action.

Source

Con: The Separatists & Geonosians (-2pts)

Much like in Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace, the Separatists were developed poorly in this movie. Their plan seemed to make no sense, and seemed to do nothing, but work against their best interests. They were evil for the sake of being evil, and they looped the Geonosians into this issue in this movie. The Geonosians were nothing, but nameless, faceless enemies for the Jedi to go up against, and they joined the already nameless, faceless droid army. The Separatists and the Geonosians were both part of the really epic climax of this movie. However, these groups were written really poorly through everything that led up to that climax. For any Star Wars fans reading this and thinking that the illogical actions made sense because of who was pulling the strings, I understand that, but I do not understand why the Separatist leaders went along with it.

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Pro: Yoda & Dooku (+5pts)

I liked Christopher Lee as Count Dooku, as he brought a unique vibe to the character, like only he can. Count Dooku was mysterious, he was suspicious, and he felt dangerously intimidating, and Christopher Lee deserves a lot of credit for making the character come across this way. Then there was seeing a younger Yoda, and his role in the Jedi Order. He was in Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace, but the character was exclusively seated the entire time. In this movie, we see Yoda as a teacher and an advisor, we also see him using the force in combat, and we even see him using a lightsaber. Both Yoda and Count Dooku added a lot of great moments movie individually, but their scene together was truly great.

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Con: The Plot & The Climax (-4pts)

This was definitely related to the Separatist's goals being developed so poorly. There just was a lot that did not make any sense. First, I did not understand the relationship between Jango Fett and Count Dooku. It seemed that Count Dooku and Jango Fett were allies, because they were both antagonists, even though it did not make sense for either party to be actively working with the other.

Secondly, I did not understand what the Separatists were hoping to accomplish at the arena, or how all of the Jedi managed to infiltrate the place unnoticed. Then there was the bad decision (by the Jedi Order) to assign Anakin to watch Padme, when that was very clearly a conflict of interest for Anakin at the time. I did not hate this movie like many did, but there were enough minor plot holes to make this movie seem like a block of Swiss cheese. These issues did not have a severe impact on my enjoyment of the movie, but they are certainly head scratchers once you start thinking about the events that took place in this movie.

Grading Scale

Grade
Category
Points
A+
Amazing
95-100
A-
Great
90-94
B+
Good
85-89
B-
Decent
80-84
C+
Average
75-79
C-
Watchable
70-74
D+
Bad
65-69
D-
Terrible
60-64
F
Garbage
45-59
Source

Grade: C+ (79pts)

This movie did not live up to my expectations, but I definitely do not think it was a "bad" movie. It had some problems, sure, but it had some really great moments as well. The problems were mostly related to having a poorly developed plot, and a creepy, forced romance that was hard to watch. These issues were significant, but the movie definitely had its strengths.

Christopher Lee was great as Count Dooku and added his unique flavor to the character, making him both mysterious and menacing. Then there was getting to see a young Yoda (at least younger than he was in the original trilogy), which meant we got to see him using the force and a lightsaber, like no one else in the galaxy can. I also enjoyed the mystery that Obi-Wan had to solve, and how Jango Fett and the clones were involved in that. Finally, there was the epic arena battle, which provided a ton of awesome Star Wars action that I ate up every second of. The movie had its flaws, for sure, but I think it is far from being a "bad" movie, as there was a lot to like about the movie as well.

Best of the Star Wars Franchise

Rank
Movie
Points
1
Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back
95pts
2
Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi
93pts
3
Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope
92pts
4
Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens
90pts
5
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
89pts
6
Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith
87pts
7
Star Wars: Episode IX - The Rise of Skywalker
86pts
8
Star Wars: Episode VIII - The Last Jedi
83pts
9
Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones
79pts
10
Solo: A Star Wars Story
78pts
11
Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace
77pts

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