Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith (Star Wars #3)

Revenge of the Sith is a somewhat fascinating story. It feels by far the darkest and most ‘adult’ of the prequel trilogy, probably best matching the feel of A New Hope and Empire Strikes Back, but at the same time, there’s a lot more humor in the early parts at least, with some truly weird and silly moments with R2 and the Battle Droids. You know… I just don’t understand the droids. I’ll get back to that in a bit.

One thing that’s interesting is to see the final strengths of Obi-Wan and Anakin before the latters eventual fall (I’m not even going to mark that as spoilers). It’s mostly earned and I do love to see the two banter. The idea that they’re become war buddies, but also super powered heroes that can’t really be touched actually feels pretty good. Even if the idea of Jedi as Generals/etc always feels a bit weird. For example:

Anakin Skywalker: Ray shields.

Obi-Wan: Wait a minute. How did this happen? We’re smarter than this.

Anakin Skywalker: Apparently not. I say patience.

Obi-Wan: Patience?

Anakin Skywalker: Yes. R2 will be along in a few moments and then… he’ll release us from the ray shields.

[R2 comes skidding across the hallway and bashes into the opposite wall]

Anakin Skywalker: See? No problem.

Yeah. They really should be smarter than this. But I guess it’s funny?

Overall, I find this movie stronger than Attack of the Clones, but it really is lacking in some ways. They needed a bit more room for Obi-Wan and Anakin to grow even more, which luckily the Clone Wars TV show gives us in spades. I really do need to re-watch that at some point. Also, Anakin and Padme are … still weird. But at least there’s a tad bit more chemistry this time around?

Characterwise, I did really like Christopher Lee for what little he’s in it. That look just before betrayal. And Samuel Jackson as Mace Windu of course is a treasure in his final confrontation with Ian McDiarmid as Palpatine. Great.

Plotwise, the entire idea of Order 66 is absolutely terrifying–and completely believable. Although the ability to send it across the entire universe brings up a lot of the points I was talking about in my previous review of [Attack of the Clones]({{ ref “2021-11-07-attack-of-the-clones” }}).

A few random thoughts:

Droids

Random point the first: Droids in the Star Wars universe.

I’ve probably ranted about this before, but why are droids treated as machines? They’re obviously intelligent and self aware. You can argue until you’re blue in the face if they have a ‘soul’ or not (apparently they can’t use the Force, but I’d imagine there are ‘living’ things out there that don’t somewhere in the extended universe). So why are they treated as outright expendible second class citizens. There’s just so much more they could have done with this. There’s only so much you can do in a movie, but at least laying a few hints, I would have appreciated.

On that note, this time around (like every time), I was wondering why R2 suddenly has a jetpack and flamethrower and where in the world that suddenly goes before A New Hope and… I think I figured it out. R2 is Anakin’s droid. He’s a mechanical genius and of course he’d keep tinkering. Then R2 is taken from him at the end of the film. I just wish they’d spent one line in the whole movie mentioning it…

Also also: Why don’t more droids use lightsabers? They’re terrifying weapons and I’d imagine that mechanical limbs and reaction times could perfectly well account for any difficulties in using them. There’s probably a reason… just not on screen that I remember.

The Dark Side/The Light Side

In a different universe (ours, not theirs), the debate between the Light Side and the Dark Side, between the Jedi and the Sith could have been so much more interesting. In a lot of ways, I really do think that the Sith have a lot of things right. There is a strength in passion and a weakness in taking as either good or evil.

As Obi-Wan said:

Only Sith deal in absolutes.

Which is great on paper, but not at all what we see in the series. There was some potential there to be setting up something really great with Qui-Gon Jin and his disregard for the rigid structures of the Jedi. And you can even argue that this same rigidity is one big reason why the Senate fell and the Sith rose in the first place.

Of course, in this universe, the Sith are pretty much straight up villains. They kill countless people, seize power (even if the Jedi probably would have to ‘save’ the galaxy if they could), and are just straight up bad guys.

But oh, what they could have been.

Yet another something for the extended universe I suppose.

Rankings

Anyways. After re-watching these, I can’t believe I’m saying this but I actually find the Phantom Menace to be the strongest of the prequels and Attack of the Clones to be the weakest. None of them are great, but they’re all solid enough action movies and do at least add to the greater Star Wars story in a way that isn’t terrible and for that I’m glad to have rewatched them.