Revenge of the Sith (2005) is the third and final film made of the prequel trilogy of the Star Wars saga, tying all the knots together between the prequel and the original series. Directed once again by George Lucas, the cast of Hayden Christensen, Ewan McGregor, Natalie Portman and Ian McDiarmid come back for one final film. After freeing Palpatine (McDiarmid) from Count Dooku, Anakin Skywalker (Christensen) finds himself lured into a sinister plan from Palpatine to rule the galaxy, becoming Darth Vader.
The performances in this film are actually well done across the board, unlike some shaky performances in the previous films of this trilogy. Ewan McGregor and Ian McDiarmid are still clear standouts, with both getting much more to do this time as well to help this. Hayden Christensen does also give a solid performance here, with character development that feels a lot more natural than that of Attack of the Clones. It actually felt like the actors cared about this film and the script they were given.
There is a lot of pressure in this film to balance between the storyline of the prequel trilogy and to tie things nicely into A New Hope and the original trilogy, and I think it was actually well done. Not only did I find the progression of the story to feel natural to the action on screen, but it actually had a strong start, middle and end and a clear focus to the narrative. Each character got more time to be fleshed out and the Anakin storyline in particular surprisingly worked well, despite his character arc in the first two films and the obvious direction of where his character needed to be by the end of this film.
The action sequences were superb in this film, being well-choreographed and spaced well throughout the film. There was real tension in this film, unlike the previous two films in this trilogy, and there were risks for a lot of the characters here which I always appreciate seeing in huge franchises like this. Aside from Anakin, I never knew what was going to happen and who would be next gone. I also think the CGI and visual effects are the best they have been at this point, actually looking really strong for a film made nearly 15 years ago. This is visually the most pleasing of any of the Star Wars films.
For the first time in this trilogy, I actually found there to be a nice balance of tone in this film. In a case like the Harry Potter franchise, the third film becomes more adult and grittier and I love it. This tone actually suited the storyline and it finally felt targeted to a general audience and not specifically for children’s entertainment. The tone helped create the drama and tension in this film, and I certainly did not miss Jar Jar Binks here.
I am still not fully convinced on Padme, played by Natalie Portman. I am not sure whether it is due to her character being underwritten or there solely for the purpose of being a love interest, but I can see why Portman continues to give the least effort out of everyone here. She is given a major storyline, but outside of the connection between this story and the original series, there is just no emotional value to her character and what role she has had throughout the series.
This is the most we got to see Palpatine in this franchise and it is clear why fans love this character. However, he still feels underused in this film as a vital villain. His battle with Samuel L. Jackson’s Mace is an awesome sequence and showcased to me how wasted his character has felt throughout the entire series. It gives me hope that he is being brought back with the same actor for The Rise of Skywalker, but I do not want this to be another throwaway moment where he is underutilised, and I have a bad feeling that is exactly what it is going to be.
I actually found myself being entertained by this final film in the prequels, the only one of the three films to do so. I actually found myself caring about the storylines, I appreciate that Obi-Wan Kenobi had a more central storyline here and the tone finally felt more suited to the original trilogy. This film took risks and also had the most work to do, yet the pacing worked so much better because it was slightly shorter than previous films. I could easily see myself going back to this film and watching it again.
Have you had a chance to check out Revenge of the Sith? What did you make of this conclusion to the prequels? Let me know your thoughts in the comments section and let’s have a discussion.
Starting tomorrow, I will be moving on to the newest trilogy along with the spin-off films made under Disney. I have reviewed a few of these, and I have seen all of these films before, so the reviews will be based on second viewings as well as the quality of the film.