Revenge of the Sith - eh. It’s kinda like TPM to me in that I’m mostly indifferent to it. There’s bits I like alright, there’s bits that I think are pretty atrocious, and then there’s huge segments that I find either quite boring or just sloppy. Thankfully it doesn’t fill me with the sense of frustrated anger and disgust that the last third of AOTC does.
I was surprised to admit that I didn’t hate Anakin’s turn to the dark side this time. Don’t get me wrong, his primary motivation (stopping death) is still lame and the actual turn happens too quickly to be convincing, but I more clearly saw how all the building blocks were there throughout the trilogy leading up to this point and it did actually mostly make sense. And I even give Hayden some real credit. I think had they leaned harder into his trust issues with the Jedi, his infatuation with his own growing powers, his desire to “end the destructive conflict” by any means necessary, and his willingness to break Jedi oathes for his own satisfaction (marrying Padme) and gotten better writers to handle it all and a better dramatic director, this could’ve really worked. And I think Hayden could have pulled it off.
I have to say, this movie looked like absolute garbage. The cgi is far too often just atrocious and the movie looks like a cartoon or video game. The massive amounts of painfully obvious green screen composites really hurt it too.
The sword choreography is still pretty terrible but it’s at least a bit better than AOTC. The actual choreography for the big fight between Anakin and Obi-wan is pretty bad but I will say that I genuinely liked the ferocity, energy, and passion of the fight, even if the actual techniques/moves looked fake. The anger, brutality, and speed in the fight felt appropriate and real for a fight between two close “brothers” who’ve had a devastating, relationship-ending disagreement. The set pieces in the fight are also mostly pretty awesome until they just get too outlandish to suspend disbelief.
Unfortunately the fight is undermined by the preposterous end. The high ground thing is bad enough, but its what happens next that really kinda kills it. Obiwan has dismembered Anakin and won the fight. He calls him his brother and says how much he loved Anakin. Then he flipping sits there and watches him burn and then just walks away while his best friend writhes in agony! It’s so wrong! Anyone with half a heart would’ve realized the fight and argument were over and less important than helping your friend at that point, no matter how much you disagreed with each other! I feel like this portion should been handled differently. Something like, their fight and emotions are reaching a peak when Obi-wan gains an advantage and cuts Anakin’s legs off. Anakin drops his saber and falls off some massive ledge or something. Basically obi-wan thinks he’s assuredly dead, not realizing he survived the fall (and subsequently gets burned by the lava just like in the film). Obi-wan has already seen the security footage of Anakin taking the name Darth Vader, so when he hears of Darth Vader running around with the empire, that’s when he’d realize that Anakin survived. It would also make hiding Luke on Tatooine seem much less stupid on Obi-wan’s part if he thinks Anakin is dead when he makes that decision.
Overall this has been an interesting exercise. The ire and frustration I used to feel towards the prequels is mostly gone. They’re pretty crummy movies but I don’t loathe their existence like I used too. I guess time really does heal all wounds. Not that I ever cared so much that it affected me in any serious way. But I did avoid these movies for so long because they did elicit genuine feelings of anger, frustration, and disappointment. But now I’m mostly fine with TPM and ROTS. I still take exception to AOTC. It just sucks so bad and the third act with the droid factory and Yoda fight just destroy any mercy I might’ve been willing to give it.
I will say that, had George been more of the “big picture, overall story arc” guy and hired truly talented writers and directors and allowed good creative types to reign in some of his more terrible ideas (like anakin building threepio, jar jar, excessive cgi, the droid factory comedic sequence, etc.) i actually think this could’ve been a very good trilogy. The building blocks are there for a great story, but the execution just totally flounders.