TPM’s characters aren’t great, neither is the acting, and the story’s a mess, but the movie wasn’t so flawed that it singlehandedly killed the PT; two great sequels could’ve made up for its shortcomings. Neither AOTC nor ROTS have that saving grace; they introduced more and greater flaws, undermining the PT’s foundation further, spoiling any chance for course correction.
That’s my perspective, anyway.
Sure, the plot in TPM is a mess, dialogue is stiff, characters are boring and Jar-Jar is… Jar Jar. But what I love about it is the fun and intense Star Wars action set-pieces and the movie moves at such a frantic pace, that I never get bored watching it until you get to Coruscant. But hey, that’s why they invented the “skip chapter” button on the front of every DVD player ever made. After that the movie picks right back up.
It’s become a guilty pleasure of mine over the past couple years, because it’s embarrassing Star Wars porn and I love it.