[pullquote cite=”” type=”left, right”][amazon text=Amazon&template=carousel&chan=That Film Guy&asin=B005HNV2OS][/pullquote] With the first two instalments of the prequel trilogy complete and the final three established almost two decades before, a lot of the basic plot elements of Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith was already known. We knew that Anakin must eventually become Darth Vader, we also knew that the Jedi order would need to be wiped out, that Padme would have to die in child-birth and that Obi-Wan and Yoda must go into hiding to escape the evil Sith. These little tidbits at first prove an annoyance, ruining potential surprises, but once the action gets going you completely forget about them until they are realised, giving you a great sense of satisfaction and the chance to say “so that’s what really happened.”
The Clone Wars have been raging for years and Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen) has found himself slowly slipping toward the dark side of the force. After a violent encounter with Count Dooku (Christopher Lee), jealousy toward his master Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) and his wife Padme (Natalie Portman) he slowly and surely succumbs to his own personal problems and becomes the infamous Darth Vader.
The acting in Revenge of the Sith has improved greatly from Episodes I and II, with Christensen especially actually bringing some emotion to his part. The star of the show though is McGregor, who really does bring incredible depth to his increasingly exasperated and disillusioned Jedi Master. In fact his final fight scenes with his padawan are the best in any of the films and really some of the best in any film. It’s almost impossible not to feel sympathetic toward the man when he’s screaming, broken-heartedly “you were supposed to be the chosen one!”
The important thing to remember is that Revenge of the Sith is an origin story for one of the greatest villains in science fiction history. It’s the story of betrayal and the seduction of the dark side, and it is here that the film makes its two most crucial missteps. Firstly, the final ‘breaking point’ of Anakin to the evil Emperor does not convince at all, as it is obvious to anyone with eyes that Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid) is the most evil man in the Universe, so no matter how hard he tries it’s impossible to believe that Anakin would fall for his simple lies. Secondly the final scene of Revenge of the Sith with Anakin be suited in the legendary black armour is played for emotional gravitas, which does not fit with the mythology of the character and thus feels awkward and almost humorous.
The special effects in Revenge of the Sith are neatly handled, and unlike the previous instalments, the action explodes from the very beginning. George Lucas has clearly learnt his lesson as the camera is desperate to get to the final act of the saga, and so zips along at a breezy pace to allow fans to really enjoy the climatic scenes of death and destruction.