Rewind Reviews: Star Wars, Episode III, Revenge of the Sith
Early again today! I’m so bad at this.
Today we will fight through the Clone Wars in Episode III: Revenge of the Sith.
Despite its two predecessors not receiving glowing reviews, Episode III was well received, even earning a higher approval rate than Episode VI on RottenTomatoes. I can see why most fans agree it is the best of the second trilogy. It is by far the darkest of the entire series and contains some of the best battles. I would say it is my second favorite, behind Episode II.
The entire galaxy is rampaged by the Clone Wars. Chancellor Palpatine has been kidnapped by Count Dooku and General Grievous (voiced by Matthew Wood), the malevolent, spidery part-human part-robot cyborg in charge of all battle droids. Obi-Wan, Anakin, and R2D2 infiltrate Dooku’s ship to save the Chancellor. The mission faces multiple detours, but they eventually find Palpatine. Anakin fights Dooku once more, having much improved from their last encounter. When he has Dooku defeated, Palpatine tempts Anakin to use the dark side of the Force and kill Dooku, despite breaking the Jedi code. Torn, Anakin chops off his head. Everyone escapes to Coruscant, where they are uninjured despite a bumpy landing.
Padme reveals to Anakin she is pregnant, which will greatly complicate Anakin’s impending Jedi status once it is discovered he secretly married her. Much like the visions he had of his mother in the previous film, Anakin starts to foresee Padme dying during childbirth.
Obi-Wan travels to planet Utapau to kill Grievous, who has an army set up there. Jedi Knights Yoda and Mace Windu (Samuel Jackson) tell Anakin to spy on Palpatine, who they believe may be associated with the Sith, yet still deny Anakin the rank of master Jedi. Furious, Anakin begins to despise the Jedi council while growing closer to Palpatine. Learning of his concern for Padme, Palpatine tempts Anakin to join the dark side of the Force, claiming it will give him the power to save her. Anakin turns Palpatine in to Windu, who instantly goes to arrest him. Palpatine reveals his Sith powers in a duel with Windu, electrocuting him nearly to death. However, Windu soon corners him. With the help of Anakin, Palpatine kills Windu and takes Anakin as his Sith apprentice, deeming him Darth Vader.
Obi manages to kill Grievous just before Palpatine announces Order 66 all across the galaxy, turning all clone troopers against their Jedi friends. Jedi after Jedi fall to the troopers and Anakin, and soon Obi-Wan and Yoda are the only two who remain. Palpatine (really named Sidious) brings Anakin to the lava-soaked planet of Mustafar to kill Nute Gunray, the last high-ranking official of the Separatist movement. Obi-Wan and Yoda learn of Palpatine’s betrayal and Anakin’s cross to the dark side, and go their separate ways to kill them both.
Padme and C3PO flee to Mustafar to confront Anakin about the rumors, unknowingly taking Obi with them. Realizing his cross to the dark side is true, Padme begs Anakin to return to the ways of the Jedi, saying he’s gone down a path she can’t follow. Suspecting Padme brought Obi to Mustafar to kill him, Anakin strangles her into unconsciousness with the Force. Apprentice verses master, Anakin and Obi duel across exploding factories, rivers of lava, and sinking debris in what is the series’ most iconic non-Luke Skywalker battle. Claiming higher ground, Obi tries to warn Anakin not to jump. Of course Anakin ignores him, and Obi has no choice but to sever off all of his limbs, besides his already-robotic hand.
“You were the Chosen One!” Obi bellows. “It is said that you would bring balance to the Force, not leave it in darkness!”
Unable to kill Anakin himself, Obi leaves to rescue Padme. Sidious, after an epic battle with Yoda in the courtroom of Coruscant, soon arrives and saves Anakin before he slips into the lava. Giving him a body constructed almost entirely out of wires and robotic limbs, Darth Vader rises for the first time, inhales, and exhales. Vader’s first thought is to ask about Padme. Sidious says that Anakin killed her when he strangled her. Enraged and heartbroken, and losing his last connection to humanity, Vader uses the Force to destroy the room.
Meanwhile, Padme delivers a boy and a girl, named Luke and Leia, before dying during childbirth. Obi decides that for their safety, they should be separated. Leia is sent to Alderaan, while Luke is delivered to Shmi’s new family on Tattooine. Yoda decides to go into hiding on the swamp planet of Dagobah. Obi takes Luke to Tattooine, but never leaves the planet, intending to watch over him until he is fully grown.
I have no gripes with this movie. While not bad in the sense of the word, I still hate watching the montage of all the Jedi getting killed in creative ways by their squad of clone troopers. The first time I saw it in theaters, I was shocked it was actually in the movie. Even though the majority of the Jedi never even said a line in the film or were shown doing anything besides waving their Lightsabers, it was still depressing to see all Jedi being wiped out.
And even though we knew he was doomed from the very second he appeared on screen as a young slave, it was still saddening to watch Anakin’s gradual loss of humanity and eventual betrayal. I’m a huge fan of the Obi-Anakin-Padme trifecta. It was heartbreaking to watch it end on such a tragic note. So I have no actual complaints about the film, I’m just sad about the characters I’ve grown attached to.
(Also have to mention that the acting, while not Oscar winning, was much improved over its two predecessors. McGregor especially. Portman and Christensen were still stiff from time to time, but overall win Most Improved.)
Why this is a worthy addition to Star Wars:
Because it gives another layer to Darth Vader we haven’t seen before. The story of Darth Vader has always been a complicated one, but the newer trilogy, particularly this one, show how easy it was for Vader to get caught up in his emotions and manipulated to the dark side. He was a truly promising Jedi.
I’d also like to introduce my good friend Boga. This feathery bird reptile thing makes cool noises and helps Obi-Wan track down Grievous. If not for Boga, his awesome shade of green, and his alpha superiority, Obi-Wan would be nothing.
Also, the lava battle. Best battle scene ever! We always knew the original trilogy was amounting to a battle between Obi and Anakin, and this battle did not disappoint. Mustafar is an awesome planet, too. Definitely the high point for CGI in the series.
How did you feel about Episode III? Do all of you original trilogy purists like to pretend it doesn’t exist? Would you have targeted Jar Jar as your first victim the second Order 66 was proclaimed? How did you feel about Chewbacca’s pointless but kinda entertaining cameo? No new post tomorrow! Sorry, I’m horrible.