Movie Review: "Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith"

Updated on May 31, 2020
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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 III - Revenge of the Sith

Theatrical Release: 5/19/2005
Theatrical Release: 5/19/2005 | Source

Synopsis

The Clone Wars have been going on for over three years, and now, Supreme Chancellor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid) has been captured by the leader of the droid army, General Grievous (Matthew Wood). Jedi Knights Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) and Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen) are on a mission to rescue the Chancellor, but doing so will be no small feat. They sense a trap by Count Dooku (Christopher Lee). In order to save the Chancellor, the Jedi Knights will have to make their way through the battle raging over Coruscant, but they will most likely have to deal with Count Dooku, a Sith Lord that was able to defeat both Jedi Knights with relative ease, and was able to do so not too long ago.

Meanwhile, the dark side is still clouding the abilities of the Jedi Council, as Jedi Grandmaster Yoda (Frank Oz) and Jedi Master Mace Windu (Samuel L. Jackson) fear that the galaxy is on the verge of falling into darkness at the hands of a mysterious Sith Lord. The fate of the galaxy rests on the Republic's ability to defeat the Separatists, putting an end to the Clone Wars. Stopping Count Dooku will be the key to ending the war, but the Jedi Knights will also have to put an end to the deadly General Grievous, who Count Dooku has trained specifically for killing Jedi. Through all of this, Anakin begins to be haunted by premonitions of Padme's death and is desperate to prevent these dreams from becoming reality. He loves Padme and would do anything to saver her, but his desperation and fear will bring him dangerously close to falling to the dark side.

Official Trailer

The Pros & Cons

The Pros
The Cons
The Duels & The Action (+10pts)
Padme (-3pts)
General Grievous & Darth Sidious (+5pts)
A New Hope (-3pts)
Obi-Wan & Anakin (+6pts)
Mace Windu & Transition (-3pts)
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.
Source

Pro: The Duels & The Action (+10pts)

The duels in this movie were plenty, and they were outstanding. This movie showcased great duels that consisted of Obi-Wan Kenobi, Anakin Skywalker, Count Dooku, General Grievous, Darth Sidious, Mace Windu, and Yoda. Regarding who dueled who, you will need to see the movie to find out, but I thought each of these duel sequences were excellent. These scenes had great and intense choreography, when the duels were more lightsaber focused, but the duelists power with the force was incorporated into each duel as well, and the visual effects were great. It is hard to think about Star Wars without thinking of iconic duels, and this movie had a number of great ones.

However, this movie was more than just duels between light side and dark side force users. The overall action in this movie was really strong and really entertaining. This movie had intense space battles, starting immediately with the epic battle over Coruscant. It also had plenty of ground warfare featuring Jedi, droids, clones, and even Wookies. The last movie ended with a spark that ignited the Clone Wars, while this movie began with the Clone Wars at its peak. It really felt like a massive war had been raging for years, and I liked seeing how the Jedi were integrated with that war. A lot goes down in this movie, and there was a ton of really entertaining Star Wars action through it all.

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Con: Padme (-3pts)

This was a little surprising, given how much focus Anakin and Padme got in the last movie, but Padme very much felt like a secondary character in this movie. It was like there was the main plot of the movie, and then Padme's stuff was also happening. We are supposed to care about her, and are supposed to connect with Anakin's concerns, but it was hard to do that when what was happening with the Clone Wars felt so much more important in the present moment. I should also say that it was not that I did not buy into Anakin's paranoia, nor was it even that I disliked this storyline.

Knowing how important Padme was to Anakin's transition into what he would inevitably become, Anakin's transition would have had a lot more impact if Padme had been given a more prominent role in this movie. Most of this storyline consisted of Anakin worrying to himself or seeking the wisdom of other characters, and did not really involve Padme herself. Padme just did not feel like her own character, one that contributed to the storyline that she was a key part of. Instead, Padme merely felt like nothing more than a prop in Anakin's story.

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Pro: General Grievous & Darth Sidious (+5pts)

These two characters are not really related directly, but I put them together here because they are both antagonists and I wanted to comment on what I liked about each of them in this movie. To start, General Grievous was a mysterious and intimidating new presence in the Separatist army. He has been trained in Jedi lightsaber combat by Count Dooku, with the specific purpose of being a Jedi killing machine. We do not see the character in action much, but it was clear that he was a formidable antagonist for even the most skilled Jedi, and when he was in action, it was really cool. Would it have been nice if the filmmakers dove deeper into how he ended up the way he did and why he hated the Jedi? Absolutely, but his role in this movie was to be a cowardly character for the Jedi to have to catch, and an intimidating obstacle for the Jedi to have to overcome if and when they caught him. In that respect, General Grievous was effective.

Then there was Darth Sidious, who is extremely powerful, extremely cunning, and extremely manipulative. This movie is all about Darth Sidious finally executing the master-plan of the Sith. He has been a looming, dark presence over the last two movies, but he is now finally ready to strike. His manipulation was interesting, his reveal as a Sith Lord provided a really suspenseful and awesome scene, and Order 66 was insane. This character has always been a really effective antagonist. Through all of the other movies, you know to fear this character and what he is capable of. However, in this movie, we get to see just how dangerous he is.

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Con: A New Hope (-3pts)

One area that I thought this movie struggled a bit, was how it connected this trilogy to the original trilogy. In other words, I thought the filmmakers struggled to end Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith in a way that led naturally into Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope. This is really the downside to prequels. The filmmakers end up being constrained by what the original movies established.

Thus, the ending of this movie felt like it was forcing decisions and actions just because they had to conclude each character's story in a way that left them where the next movie picked up (more or less). The filmmakers had to justify decisions, and explain things that the prequels had previously left unanswered, and it made the ending of this movie feel somewhat forced. All things considered, I think the filmmakers did a pretty good job with the constraints that they had. I just did not think this is where this movie naturally would have gone if the original movies had not already been made.

Source

Pro: Obi-Wan & Anakin (+6pts)

In Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace we saw Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker meet. In Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones we saw them as master and apprentice, with Anakin struggling with Obi-Wan's authority, but the two got along as well as you could expect an arrogant teenager could get along with their parental figure. In Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope we saw what their relationship would one day become. This left me interested in their relationship in Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith, as I was curious to see how their relationship would evolve from what we had seen so far into what we knew it would become.

This storyline did not disappoint, as far as I am concerned. The movie started by showing that they have clearly worked out all of the kinks in their relationship from Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones. They are an effective team, and are both very skilled Jedi. We get to see both of these characters in their prime, and we get to see the brotherhood and respect between the two characters. This made Anakin's transition even more impactful, because we got to see how drastically it impacted his relationship with Obi-Wan. I also found it interesting that the Jedi Council was trying to manipulate Anakin just as much as Chancellor Palpatine was, with Palpatine simply being better at it. This then led to a really intense, emotionally driven, and epic climax that was a blast to watch and kept me on the edge of my seat.

Source

Con: Mace Windu & Anakin’s Transition (-3pts)

I thought this part of the story felt a little messy. Mace Windu was supposed to be one of the wisest, most skilled Jedi in the galaxy, so his over-confidence leading into his confrontation with Chancellor Palpatine felt like lazy writing, and was clearly done so in order to move the plot in a specific direction. Mace Windu should have known better than to confront the Chancellor when he did, and the writers should have known better than to have him do that. It just made it really obvious that this was all a plot device to facilitate Anakin’s transition.

One major complaint that you will see many people have with this movie was that Anakin’s transition felt rushed. I think a lot of the blame for this issue comes down to this scene. Anakin was always definitely on this path, but the filmmakers seemed to rush the last, arguably most important part of that path. In other words, if you were to look at the transition in terms of percentages. Between episodes two and three, Anakin would get closer to his fate in small increments (except the death of his mother, that was a big one). Anyway, by this scene in episode three the filmmakers had gotten to about 80% of the way there, then they just pretended that 80% was enough and had Anakin act as if he was all the way there. It ended up feeling like a piece of his story was missing, made the final turn feel rushed, and made a lot of his actions afterward feel unjustified.

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: B+ (87pts)

This movie, being one of the prequels, gets a lot of hate, but I really liked this one and think most of the hate is unjustified. However, I did have a few minor issues with the movie. There was the plot device of Mace Windu’s poor judgment, Padme being a poorly developed character, and the fact that the filmmakers needed to force certain things to happen so that the ending of this movie would line up with the beginning of the next one (although I think they did the best they could, all things considered). Finally, there was the fact that the filmmakers got Anakin 80% of the way through his transition, then just pretended that it was enough, and had him do terrible things that felt out of character at the time.

What was great about this movie? The action was great, picked up immediately, and there was plenty of it to keep me entertained. There were also a number of epic lightsaber duels In which the stakes were high, the scenarios were unique, and the choreography was outstanding. I thought General Grievous and Darth Sidious were both really effective antagonists, and I really enjoyed watching the evolving relationship between Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi. I had some minor issues with this movie, but I enjoyed it a lot and thought its pros far outweighed its cons.

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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