In case you didn’t know, in anticipation of the upcoming release of Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens, I am going back and watching all of the Star Wars movies in order. It’s like a little reminder and a bit of hype to get me even more excited for the release. So far I’ve reviewed Episode I The Phantom Menace and Episode II Attack of the Clones. This week I bring you Episode III Revenge of the Sith. I’ve got to say that I think I may have enjoyed it the most out of all of the movies so far. That doesn’t mean it is without flaws. In fact, I think I found the most flaws with this film, but the improved pacing made it a bit more enjoyable to watch.
Gaps in Lore
There is so much lore that happens between the movies that my head was spinning. At the end of Attack of the Clones, Anakin was secretly breaking rules and was still Obi Wan’s padawan. However, upon the start of Revenge of the Sith, Anakin is wearing normal gear and sporting normal hair (the padawan haircut had to go) because guess what, somewhere in between the last movie and now he had become a full on jedi. Heck, not only did he become a jedi, fighting valiantly along side is now buddy Obi Wan, but he was now a freaking Jedi Knight. He had a seat on the Jedi council for goodness sake (even though he wasn’t yet a master). It was a great honor and he had a position that would be enviable at his age, not to mention that he came into it all late. So much had changed and it was brushed aside. We are swept into this continuing story forced to piece together everything as we went. Usually, I’m all for jumping into the story, but it was confusing. It now makes sense why we got a five season show filling in the gaps between Episode II and III. I’m going to need to go back and watch them now. From a lore standpoint, it’s a lot to take in while processing thes story as well and it made everything feel a little too busy and rushed. That said the pacing in this story was far better. The same two hour and twenty minute run time felt far less tedious than the previous movies.
Anakin’s Progression Felt Forced
When Anakin was introduced I liked him. He’s hard not to like. Even when he started to lose it a bit in Episode II, I still really liked him. He felt real and genuine. When he was enraged, it was for a reason. He acted out against the people who had killed his mother after kidnapping her for no reason. Heck, even the seeds that were planted about him questioning the jedi way felt genuine. He wanted to love and rather than pushing it away he embraced it and questioned why they couldn’t. Even as we trudged into Episode III and things clearly were not okay we are still meant to question why love is so bad to the jedi. Obi Wan mentions that he loves Anakin like a brother and its clear he would do anything to save him while he still could. That was a similar situation that Anakin was in, however he acted out. He remained in fear and he lashed out in such a way that he hurt others in the way he was hurt. He disregarded the feelings of the woman he loved. He did the very thing that would have upset her most by siding with the chancellor when he knew she wanted him gone. While, I could understand getting to the place of complete irrationality that he reached, the path he took just felt far too rushed. And in rushing his transition from a good guy with questions at the start to a man so corrupted he could not see what was right any more felt forced. It was too much of a swerve even with what he had on the line.
This Isn’t the Padme We Know
When Padme was first introduced she was fierce. She was the elected Queen of Naboo and rather than sit on the sidelines she wasn’t afraid to jump in and get her hands dirty. She wanted to be on the frontlines. She demanded to help and be useful. In Episode II she was takin action on her own. She was righting right along side them. She may not have had the force, but she wasn’t going to let any of that stop her. She was admirable and brave. Then we reach Episode III and the padme from the previous movies is completely gone. She’s reduced to pleading with Anakin. The biggest reminder of who she had been was when she flew to Anakin to find out the truth from him. Then that was dashed when she declared that he was breaking her heart. The Padme we saw previously was capable of loving while having other desires. She was there to serve the senate proudly and didn’t even want a relationship in fear of jeopardizing that. Now Padme lost the will to live after seeing what Anakin had become. It was not the strong Padme that we knew. That Padme would have left Anakin, she would have raised her kids alone. She would have done anything that she needed to do to survive. But who she was at her core was changed to serve the plot. Maybe if Padme wasn’t built up to be such a strong character one who relished in life, I would have believed what happened, but as she was developed it’s hard to see her as even being the same woman.
There were so many evil acts in this film it was hard not to cringe. I couldn’t understand why Anakin made the jump to follow someone so evil. I understood he was desperate to find a way to save Padme. However, he went from watching one of his superiors be attacked by Darth Sidious to trying to kill his best friend. In between there he seemed to think the right thing to do was to help Mace Windu be killed, slay a bunch of helpless padawans who looked up to him, allow his fellow jedi to be murdered without finding out their stance, and force choking out his pregnant wife. If you were sure, they wanted to make sure that you understood that Anakin was a bad guy. I like to think that he was misguided and the acts that he was made do by Darth Sidious after his appointment was Darth Vader were the acts of a mad man. A man who no longer had any control over his own mind and couldn’t for a rational process. He had gone off the deep end. I have to believe that because while the Anakin we knew had the penchant to break rules, he also had an extreme moral compass. In the breaking of the mind, the things that kept him going in the right direction were broken as well. It was tough seeing Anakin so evil, but we also knew it was coming. It felt like they wanted to make it clear that there was no good left in him. Maybe it was a bit more than necessary.