Martens' Movie Reviews

Movie Reviews from an avid movie-goer

Star Wars – Episode III: Revenge of the Sith Review

Release Date: May 19, 2005
Running Time: 2 hours 20 minutes

“A tragic tale of greed and power lust in which the fate of the galaxy is decided.After three long years, the Clone Wars are nearly at an end. Meanwhile, Jedi Anakin Skywalker has visions that his secret wife, Senator Padmé Amidala, will die in childbirth. The hero, desperate for the power to save her, begins a journey toward the dark side that has dire consequences.”

Revenge of the Sith is the best of the prequel trilogy in my opinion. The actors really nailed their characters, Hayden Christensen improved over his previous appearance as Anakin Skywalker, Natalie Portman was at her best in this film as Padmé Amidala, we get to see Ian McDiarmid’s transformation into the Emperor and Ewan McGregor’s performance finally surpasses the late Alec Guinness’ performance as Obi-Wan Kenobi.

For all the hate that the prequels receive, I think that a lot of that might have been because it’s the cool thing to bash on the prequels for ‘destroying’ people’s idea of the Star Wars franchise. I’m not saying that there isn’t a good reason to dislike the prequels, however they did do a lot of good things, and one of the universally good thing about the prequels was McGregor’s performance as Kenobi.

Star Wars – Episode III: Revenge of the Sith Trailer – Source: Lucasfilm Ltd.


Cast and Crew

Episode III: Revenge of the Sith was written and directed solely by George Lucas once again, in the last film that he would direct or write. I’ve talked in the other two prequel reviews about what Lucas can and can’t write properly, and I will not continue in that vein. I was both saddened and excited when I heard that he had sold Lucasfilm to Disney, as he hurt the franchise a lot of the last 15 or so years prior to selling, but that we would never see what he would have done with the sequel trilogy (VII – IX).

The cast for the last film in the prequel trilogy includes Ewan McGregorNatalie PortmanHayden ChristensenIan McDiarmidSamuel L. JacksonJimmy SmitsFrank OzAnthony DanielsChristopher LeeKeisha Castle-HughesWayne PygramAhmed BestKenny BakerPeter MayhewBonnie PiesseJoel EdgertonGenevieve O’ReillyMatthew Wood, and James Earl Jones.


Review

There’s a quick space battle to start the movie, and we get to see some more of Anakin’s piloting abilities as well as him saving Obi-Wan Kenobi from the Buzz Droids that latched onto his ship. I was glad that we got to see a little bit of space fighting, as it’s not something that we’ve seen that often in the prequels.

Skywalker and Kenobi vs Dooku round two features a wiser and more powerful Anakin. Kenobi and Skywalker do a good job fighting Dooku together, until Dooku dispatches Kenobi rather quickly by knocking him unconscious, leaving Anakin alone to fight him once again. As Dooku is telling Anakin that he’s got a lot of fear and anger in him, it’s apparent that Anakin is starting to feel that pull to the darker side of the Force, and after decapitating Dooku’s hands, he has full control over what is to happen next. Palpatine, who has become a mentor of sorts to Anakin is encouraging him to kill Dooku, while Anakin is trying to fight the influence, he ultimately succumbs to it, and cuts off Dooku’s head. Palpatine’s in inherent evilness shows up some more when he suggests to Anakin to leave the unconscious Obi-Wan behind.

Episode III

Ewan McGregor as Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker – Source: Lucasfilm

The new villain of the movie is General Grievous, a cyborg who in some way foreshadows what Anakin Skywalker will become as Darth Vader. Grievous is a character that we have no backstory on, and a character that is seemingly a full on robotic character that is coughing and slouching a lot as if he was an elderly man, however it doesn’t make sense, as we never see any lungs (later on in the movie when we see his heart), and the slouching doesn’t make sense either with the metallic body.

Anakin’s ability as a pilot comes in handy again, when after Grievous’ ship is shot down from space, Anakin is tasked with trying to land the damned thing, and somehow, with the help from Obi-Wan, he manages to land somewhat perfectly.

Episode III

Anakin Skywalker learning that he will be a father from Natalie Portman’s character Padmé Amidala – Source: Lucasfilm

We get to see Senator Organa again, the adoptive father of Leia, has more of a role in the film, and his first scene in this film comes at the same time that Padmé reveals that she’s pregnant. This scene between Christensen and Portman is the first time that I see any chemistry between the two of them, and I was really pleased at the improvement between the two.

Episode III

Ian McDiarmid as Chancellor Palpatine telling Anakin Skywalker about the tragedy of Darth Plagueis the Wise – Source: Lucasfilm

The music by John Williams, is once again one of highlights of the film, with Battle of the Heroes for the climactic battle between Obi-Wan Kenobi and the now Darth Vader being absolutely brilliant, and while having similarities with Duel of the Fates from Episode I, I feel that it ended up being a stronger theme for that battle. The music in this movie did it’s job in enhancing the scenes that it was in, while also being subtle, but there’s no way to make Battle of the Heroes subtle in any way for that scene, and I was extremely happy with the music in this film.

Anakin has visions of Padmé’s death during childbirth that he will unfortunately be the main cause of. In the form of a self fulfilling prophecy, his fear of losing Padmé leads to his eventual fall to the dark side, which causes her death in the end, which I found that to be sadly poetic.

Episode III

Obi-Wan Kenobi facing off against a quad wielding General Grievous voiced by Matthew Wood – Source: Lucasfilm

The senate is getting ready to give more powers to Chancellor Palpatine, making it easier for him to control the republic, and ends up granting Anakin a seat on the Jedi Council. The Jedi Masters do not approve and end up denying Anakin the rank of Master, which he craves, and while he should be honoured to be granted a seat a his young age, he can only focus on what he wasn’t given. Palpatine granted the seat to Anakin because he wants info on the Jedi Council, while the Jedi Council acquiesced in the request because they want information on Palpatine, leading to a split in what Anakin feels. His loyalty to a man who has guided him and helped him since he joined, while also having his loyalty to the Jedi and everything that they have given him.

Episode III

Darth Vader about to kill all of the younglings – Source: Lucasfilm

Palpatine starts to groom Anakin even more, and starts to entice him with learning things about the Force that he will not learn from a Jedi. The strangeness of the light show opera thing that Palpatine is watching during this scene was weird, but the focus of this scene is not the visual, it’s what is said that is extremely important to the fall of Anakin Skywalker. The meme of the tragedy of Darth Plagueis the Wise is all over the internet, and while they can be entertaining, it’s that little nugget of information that Anakin latches onto. The fact that manipulation of the Force can be used to prevent someone from dying, which is something very important to Anakin because of the aforementioned vision that he had about the death of Padmé.

We get to see Kashyyyk for the first time in the Star Wars franchise (if you don’t count the Holiday Special), and we find out that Yoda is on very good terms with the Wookies, and in fact knows Chewbacca. I’m very split on that decision as it’s always cool to see characters that you know and love pop up in movies, I feel like that decision makes the world seem a lot smaller than it already seems, with everything being connected.

Episode III

Yoda leaving Kashyyyk, leaving Chewbacca behind – Source: Lucasfilm

The General Grievous vs Kenobi fight is something that I feel didn’t add anything to the film other than for it to look cool, and to be able to sell toys of Grievous being able to quad wield lightsabers. I did enjoy the fact that even though Kenobi only had the one weapon, he was still able to defend himself and slowly get rid of his enemy’s advantage. The fact that he killed Grievous with such an uncivilised weapon such as a blaster was just a fun little remark that I enjoyed.

Chancellor Palpatine decides to reveals himself to Anakin, in a way that really puts pressure on Anakin to do the right thing, while also wanting the information that could potentially save his wife’s life. The very strange thing about this scene, is that Palpatine is not entirely wrong in what he is saying about the Force. He says that to fully understand the Force, one must learn every aspect of it, in order to be truly wise. I think that this might come up later on in Episode VIII, which is titled The Last Jedi for a reason. I think that maybe, just maybe that Luke will learn that what Palpatine told his father is the right way at looking at the Force, that there isn’t a light or dark side, only the Force.

Episode III

Darth Vader’s got some fancy eyes now – Source: Lucasfilm

Anakin does just what he should when he informs Mace Windu that Chancellor Palpatine is in fact a Sith Lord, and that he won’t relinquish his newfound political powers easily after the death of General Grievous, as he said he would. Mace Windu goes to confront Darth Sidious, who quickly (and very badly filmed) defeats the two Jedi Masters that accompanied Mace Windu. At the end of the fight between the two, Mace Windu’s superior fighting ability finally defeats Sidious before Anakin shows up.

Episode III

Padmé getting choked out by Darth Vader – Source: Lucasfilm

The next part of the film is very important because it is the final switch in the character of Anakin Skywalker. When he confronts Mace Windu about to execute Palpatine, Windu says that he is too powerful to let live, that he controls the courts and the senate, and while he is right in saying that, and the quickest and surest way to stop the war is by defeating him, Anakin is also right that it is not the Jedi way. Mace Windu, unfortunately ignores Skywalkers pleas, even after Anakin said that he needed him alive (in order to learn how to save Padmé), cuts off Windu’s right arm (seems to happen a lot in this series), afterwhich Palpatine launches Windu through the window with force lightning, supposedly killing him (we never see him land or die, I believe that he’s alive out there, somewhere…)

Episode III

Darth Sidious – Source: Lucasfilm

Darth Sidious sets out in motion Order 66, which is to kill all remaining Jedi. What follows is a quick little montage of several Jedi getting killed by who they thought were their allies in the clone army. Obi-Wan and Yoda fight their way into the Jedi temple and learn the identity of the Jedi responsible for the death of all the younglings in the temple. Kenobi is obviously distraught, and does not want to go against Anakin because he’s like a brother to him. Yoda tells him that he’s not strong enough to face Sidious, so Kenobi must go after Skywalker, while he himself deals with the Sith Lord.

We get to see Darth Vader just cutting through all of the separatists that were friendly with Sidious as he doesn’t want to be associated with them anymore, and I was happy that they didn’t cut away from showing the murders that he was committing like they did in Episode II. I was glad that we were watching the horror of our hero falling so far.

Episode III

Obi-Wan Kenobi fighting Darth Vader in the climactic battle of the heroes – Source: Lucasfilm

In my review for Episode II, I briefly discuss that I didn’t enjoy the lightsaber fight between Dooku and Yoda as it seemed extremely CGI, and didn’t fit with the rest of the movie, that while extremely fictitious in nature, looked overly fake. My opinion on this has not changed with this movie, especially in the fight between Darth Sidious and Yoda. The only portions of the fight that I enjoyed was when they were using their Force powers against one another, as that was cool in how they were solving the problems that the other was presenting them with. The lightsaber fighting between the two was over the top CGI, and it looked like I was watching a cartoon (I love cartoons, just not when I should be watching live action). I understand the choice to have the ‘strongest’ of the two sides fighting each other, while also giving a reason as to why Yoda would go into exile, as he failed to take out the big bad, but I feel like it’s something that I could have gone without in this movie.

Episode III

Darth Vader being put back together again after losing to Kenobi – Source: Lucasfilm

The climactic battle that every single Star Wars fan was waiting for, Darth Vader vs Obi-Wan Kenobi at the top of their game did not disappoint me in any way (other than being intercut with the ridiculous fight between Yoda and Sidious). The music, the fight choreography (looked choreographed but was still super cool), the speed at which they were going at it, the intensity between the characters and their reasons for fighting each other was exploding everywhere, and I loved that they were on Mustafar, as that was a brilliant visual comparison to their relationship with each other. It was falling apart, and was extremely corrosive and explosive.

The agony that Obi-Wan must have felt when he saw Anakin had truly fallen with his own eyes when he was Force Choking Padmé, still hoping that his apprentice was still inside him. Anakin having felt betrayed by the Jedi order, and with no other choice but to turn to Sidious to try and save Padmé, while seeing her bring along his old mentor there to kill him must have been extreme agony as well.

The entire battle, and the aftermath after Kenobi cuts off the rest of his natural limbs was very intense and emotional, and Ewan McGregor did a fantastic job in playing that scene out. I feel like it was a great way to end that relationship until they would meet again approximately 20 years later on the Death Star for the final time.

Episode III

Darth Vader learning about the death of Padmé from Darth Sidious – Source: Lucasfilm

After seeing what Anakin was becoming, and being choked out by him right before the fight with Kenobi, Padmé was brought to a base on a moon that Bail Organa and Master Yoda were at, in order to save her life as well as the child that she was carrying. We learn that she’s dying, even though medically there is nothing wrong with her. Leading to one of the most stupidest lines in Star Wars – “She’s lost the will to live”. Padmé gives birth to twins, and names them Luke (officially the oldest) and Leia. She implores upon Obi-Wan that there is still good left in Anakin, that she’s sure of it, right before she finally passes on.

The physical transformation from Anakin Skywalker into Darth Vader is now complete, and hs is informed of the passing of his wife. The construction of the Death Star begins.

Episode III

Wayne Pygram as Tarkin alongside the Emperor and Darth Vader overlooking the beginning of the construction of the Death Star – Source: Lucasfilm

After a short briefing between Organa, Kenobi and Yoda, it’s decided that Leia will be adopted by Bail Organa and his wife, who have been thinking of adopting a baby girl for a while now. Obi-Wan Kenobi is to bring Luke to his family on Tatooine to Owen and Beru, who we met briefly in Episode II. Obi-Wan will remain on Tatooine and look over the boy, while also receiving some training, after learning that Qui-Gon Jinn, his old master from Episode I has found immortality (implied Force Ghost), and Yoda will teach him how to communicate with him. Yoda decides that he must go into Exile, and heads to the Dagobah system Bail Organa keeps R2-D2 and C-3PO, while also wiping C-3PO’s memory, while R2 laughs at him.

Episode III

Joel Edgerton and Bonnie Piesse as Owen and Beru Lars with the baby Luke Skywalker – Source: Lucasfilm

Overall, I feel like this movie was a very good movie, with some choice problems overall, and as usual it’s the fighting involving Yoda, as well as Sidious this time around. The dialogue, while better than the previous two films was also subpar overall. The character development, the chemistry between the actors, the fight scenes involving Skywalker and Kenobi were all top notch, even though a lot of it ‘looked choreographed’. I feel confident in my score, as to me it’s the best of the prequel trilogy, and is in my top 4 films in the Star Wars franchise as of the time of writing this review (there are currently 8, with the 9th one being released very shortly). At the end of the day, my score for Star Wars – Episode III: Revenge of the Sith is 8/10.

What did you think of the final film of the prequels in the beloved franchise? After looking back on the film, do you have a different opinion than what you had when you first watched it? Do you agree with my score, if not what would you give it? Let me know in the comment section below, I would love to hear your opinions!

Thanks for reading,

Alex Martens

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