Remembering Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith

Star Wars: The Force Awakens is almost upon us and you know what that means…it’s time to revisit the rest of the Star Wars saga for the thousandth time (give or take a few viewings). To get through the final days leading up the biggest movie geek event of the past decade, we’re dedicating each day this week to one of the other six Star Wars movies. It’s time to chat about what we love about each movie and what we don’t love. It’s time to bring up the common nitpicks and the most beloved scenes, the tiny little details we love and the the concepts that don’t get enough attention.

Consider this your invitation to use the comments section below as a catch-all for any kind of Star Wars conversation you desire. This week is for you. The fan. Enjoy it.

Sunday we took a look back at The Phantom Menace, Monday we looked back at Attack of the Clones. Today’s subject: Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith.

Remembering Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith

Ian McDiarmid

WHAT I LOVE

The Unbeatable Ian McDiarmid

The Star Wars prequels have been (rightfully) criticized for the often wooden performances from the lead actors. This criticism does not extend to Ian McDiarmid, who has yet to phone in an performance in one of those movies. And if anyone had the right to do so, it would be him. After all, he originated the role of Emperor Palpatine in Return of the Jedi. He could have easily coasted on that past glory in the prequels. Instead, he reveals chilling new layers of the saga’s uber-menace, showcasing the eerie calm that masks a conniving maniac. It’s easy to forget that this helpful senator ends up putting the entire galaxy under this thumb.

Anakin's rage

Anakin’s Rage

Anakin Skywalker is a broken man. Tormented by visions of what’s to come and afraid that his inaction will ultimately harm the people who matter the most to him, he gives into his pain, channels his rage, and becomes a mass-murderer with a chip the size of Tatooine on his shoulder. It’s easy to take issue with certain aspects of this character and Hayden Christensen can’t quite capture the nuances of his character’s transformation, but this villain, this iconic bad guy in the making, is powered by emotions that are all too real and all too easy to understand. Anakin’s corruption is chilling in any context.

revenge of the sith space battle

That Opening Space Battle

Ah, here is the Obi-Wan/Anakin banter we’ve been waiting for! The prequels never spend enough time establishing these two as best buddies, but the opening scene of Revenge of the Sith goes a long way toward rectifying that. These two are veterans of the Clone Wars and they’ve shared more offscreen adventures than we can count. Finally, we get a true sense of why Anakin’s betrayal would leave him truly shattered. The rest of the scene is fun stuff, filled with action and detail and just enough slapstick comedy, but it’s real trick is laying the foundation for inevitable heartbreak.

Anakin and Obi-Wan

WHAT I DON’T LOVE

Anakin and Obi-Wan’s Looney Tunes Duel

The climactic lightsaber battle between these two old friends starts at 11 and keeps on escalating. By minute four, it’s stopped being an emotionally driven sword fight and has become cartoonish. But minute ten, it’s a full-blown Looney Tunes sequence, complete with characters balancing precariously on wreckage floating in lava and climbing structures as they fall apart around them. Worst of all, the whole thing plays mostly in silence. A five minute fight where these two actually try to hash things out, to understand each other, would be more satisfying than 15-plus minutes of noisy special effects.

Mace Windu death

Mace Windu Going Out Like a Punk 

Samuel L. Jackson, knowing that Jedi master Mace Windu wouldn’t live to see the end of the prequel trilogy, reportedly asked George Lucas to not let him go out “like a punk.” Lucas let him down. Windu’s death, which should be a key moment in Anakin’s journey as genuinely shocking moment, is silly. It’s hard to believe that a Jedi of this caliber could fall so easily. Worst of all, Lucas doesn’t even give him a glorious death – he just chucks him out a window. For shame!

Yoda Meets Chewbacca

Yoda Meets Chewbacca For Some Reason

The Star Wars universe is vast, filled with infinite possibilities, countless characters, and room for just about anything a writer or artist can dream up. But it’s also small enough that Yoda can inexplicably hang out with Chewbacca. You know, because there’s only one Wookiee worth knowing, apparently. And, you know, because this was an easy way to help move additional Chewbacca toys.

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