Review: Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (2005)

Anakin heads toward the dark side in Revenge of the Sith...

The galaxy is still fighting for survival, itself threatening to collapse thanks to the separatist movements. With his growing power, Senator Palpatine has managed to secure an almost totalitarian state whilst also working his magic on the increasingly manipulatable Anakin (Hayden Christensen). As the story progresses we discover, with some dismay, that Padme (Natalie Portman) is pregnant with Anakin’s child whilst the clones from Episode II swap allegiances leading to a Jedi massacre. So much for Anakin being the chosen one to bring balance to the force, eh?

Revenge of the Sith jumps straight into the action and we’re met with a powerful space battle that soon transplants itself into the heart of a Destroyer Droid-filled ship. Here Anakin continues down the slippery slope toward the dark side when he kills an un-armed Count Dooku (Christopher Lee). Palpatine continues to pull Anakin’s strings and it is this relationship that is the most interesting in the entire saga. Worried he may lose Padme like he did his mother he is courted by the idea that he could discover the mysteries behind living forever.

Bringing a humanity to the Darth Vader of Episodes IV-VI, the journey Anakin takes here accounts somewhat for the actions in later films. We discover he is a man who lost everything and must live with burden of his guilt. Though he believes he is fighting for a just cause, Anakin is blinded by his emotions and these consequently nearly cost him his life. In the final epic battle fought against Obi Wan (Ewan McGregor) he ultimately loses his legs to a stream of lava, his marbles and his wife who dies of a broken heart during childbirth.

Let’s not get too gooey-eyed over the masked man quite yet though. In his siding with Palpatine (here revealed as Darth Sideous) he helps in the downfall of the Jedi Order and single-handedly kills the Jedi younglings whilst the clones attack unknowing Jedis around the galaxy. Obi Wan and the newborn twins escape but only to live a life of exile.

Testament to the imagination of George Lucas, the film fills in all the gaps in information left by the previous prequels and is, arguably, the best of the trilogy for it. Baddies abound (Dooku, * – a robot with a healthy cough and penchant for lightsabres, Anakin, Palpatine) whilst the emotive heart of the story is the strongest of the prequels. Tensions run high throughout and offer absorbing viewing amidst the well choreographed battle scenes and the delivery of memorable lines.

Revenge of the Sith gives birth to three of cinema’s greatest characters; Luke and Leia Skywalker and their father Darth Vader. Whilst the film neatly ties up all the loose ends there’s also the niggly question of immortality. Qui-Gon… are you out there?

Best light sabre scene: Anakin vs. Obi Wan.
Best line: ‘Rise’ or C3P0’s apt ‘well, he is under a lot of stress at the moment’.
Best character: Darth Vader.

Discussion feed
  • This has always been my favourite of the prequels and rightly so!! With immense action scenes, incredible light saber battles, Ian MacDiarmid's masterful twisting of Anakin, order 66 and the birth of all that we know (Vader, Yoda's exile, Luke and Leia, the Deathstar) it is borderline worthy of calling itself a true Star Wars film...still has some awful dialogue in it though!!!

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