Everything that the fans wanted to see in the prequels for the original Star Wars trilogy is crammed into the last hour of this movie. It is only after watching the final act of the movie that you realise how pointless the rest of the trilogy is. This is the story of how Darth Vader came to be and all you want to see is that final lightsaber battle.
Unfortunately, like the other two movies in the prequel trilogy, there is still the filler that doesn’t quite match the quality of the original movies. A generic space battle and a tame lightsaber battle begins proceedings. It makes for a better start than the other two movies but when it ends with the death of a potentially great villain, you wonder why they bothered to cast Christopher Lee in such an ultimately minor role after all.
Most of the film then becomes the poorly written political intrigue that has hampered the rest of the prequel movies. There are some moments of action, particularly with Ewan McGregor’s Obi-Wan Kenobi, but it is still too focused on the poorly acted role of Anakin Skywalker.
To his credit, Hayden Christensen does improve from his first movie but only because he can become the evil, tormented character that had been teased throughout Attack of the Clones. What begins as whining does luckily develop into a better role. Unfortunately, Natalie Portman’s Padme doesn’t get the same credit and she is stuck being a support character when she played such a pivotal role throughout the series.
As you watch the first two acts develop, you can’t help feeling like you are patiently waiting for the main villain to emerge. When it does happen, it is one of the better scenes of the series, with Samuel L Jackson getting to demonstrate a “bad-ass” Jedi. The movie is stolen by Ian McDiarmid who finally gets to play the evil Emporer. Seeing his origins is interesting and from this moment on, the movie pulls into full gear and becomes the film that you have been waiting to watch.
Hayden Christensen is never better than when his is playing the dark, angry Lord Vader. The movie pulls no punches either and the dark depths he delves to sells the transformation of the character. It means that when the finale does come, it is the best of the prequel series and one of the best of the whole Star Wars franchise so far.
The setting, the battle and the culmination of the lightsaber duel between Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi is the best aspect of the whole prequel trilogy. It is fast, brutal and involves much more than just the two sabers clashing like we’ve seen before. The ending is as brutal as some of the earlier scenes too and sets up the final reveal really well.
You can’t help but feel the final scenes that connect this trilogy to the original are slightly rushed and the first moments of Anakin in his full Darth Vader armour have now become infamous. It is effective though and a good bridge between the two trilogies.
Overall, Revenge of the Sith delivers everything the fans wanted from the prequel trilogy but too late. The first hour is much like what has been before but the final act is the story that has been teased, with a dark beginning for Darth Vader and one of the best lightsaber duels in the whole series.
Rating – 3
(1 – Awful, 2 – Average, 3 – Good, 4 – Great, 5! – Must See)