A Retrospective on Star Wars – Episode 3 Revenge of the Sith review
Finally we’ve come to the end of our journey into the prequel trilogy, it can’t get any worse can it?…
I’m happy to say that this is not the case, Revenge of the Sith is, by far, my favourite of the prequels.
Taking place at the tail end of the Clone Wars, which begun at the end of Episode 2, from the get-go the special effects are stunning. We are immediately dropped into an epic space battle above the Republic’s capital planet under attack by Count Dooku and his droid armies.
In addition to the huge action sequences dotted throughout the film, we are also treated to a breakneck roller coaster of significant events and established characters being slain left right and centre. This is a welcome change to Episodes 1 and 2 which tended to have a slow and tedious first and second act. Furthermore, it is immensely satisfying to see events come to a close and loose ends tied up in preparation for the original trilogy.
There are some familiar downsides however. Once again the lack of time available in the film means that new characters are not given enough time to shine, the biggest victim of this injustice being General Grievous. With a name that screams foreboding and a stature to back it up, the new ‘big bad’ featured heavily in the expanded universe and was established as a powerful and deadly foe capable of besting multiple Jedi at once. Sadly, his film interpretation sees him utterly butchered with most of his limited screen time revealing him to be all bark and no bite, running away from combat more than committing to it.
The lack of available time is also to the detriment of our principle character, the now Jedi knight Anakin Skywalker, who is central to the plot of this instalment. We witness Anakin finally descend into the dark side as we always knew he would. However this radical change is far too swift and does not feel natural at all. Moreover, his justifications for the frankly horrific acts that he carries out are equally dumbfounding, massacring many on the promise of enough power to save one woman.
Herein lies the biggest problem with the prequel trilogy. Episode 2 takes place ten years after Episode 1 which means we do not get to see Anakin and Obi-Wan grow together and the former’s insecurities begin to sprout. Then we have the three year gap between Episodes 2 and 3, during which we miss the majority of the hugely significant Clone War, Anakin’s initiation into Jedi knighthood and his love and paranoia for Padme grow out of control.
That said, Revenge of the Sith stands out as the highlight of the prequels, with no unnecessary comic relief sequences and impressive battles galore. If you enjoyed this film or were left with a desire for more I strongly recommend reading the novelisation by Matthew Stover which vastly improves on the downsides of the film adaptation and provides some much needed expansion on its themes and characters.
Next, we travel forward to George Lucas’ classic trilogy in search of new hopes and new heroes.