Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith Review

Revenge Of The Sith
Image Source: Parade

Movie: Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
Production Companies: Lucasfilm Ltd.
Director: George Lucas
Producers: Rick McCallum
Scriptwriters: George Lucas
Main Cast: Ewan McGregor, Hayden Christensen, Natalie Portman, Ian McDiarmid & Samuel L. Jackson
Release Date: 19 May 2005
Running Time: 140 minutes
Certificate: 12

Revenge of the Sith – Introduction

George Lucas’ Revenge of the Sith has always held a controversial status within the Star Wars cinematic universe. Many viewers at the time of release criticised the film for having sub-par acting and cringe-worthy CGI. However, in recent years, fans who grew up with the Star Wars prequels have challenged these grievances, suggesting these instalments in the franchise were just as iconic as the original trilogy. (Personally, I would consider myself to be a part of this latter batch of fans.)

Synopsis of Revenge of the Sith

The final film in the prequel trilogy, Revenge of the Sith, shows Anakin Skywalker’s journey to the dark side and his ultimate transformation into the infamous Lord Vader. This instalment ties up the ‘origins’ of many beloved characters from the original trilogy, such as Obi-Wan Kenobi, Yoda, and more. The first aspect of this film I want to explore is said origins.

Analysis Of Revenge of the Sith

Well-Crafted Origins

A worthy villain backstory is hard to come across in modern media. A factor that makes this evermore difficult is when the backstory in question is for an already well-loved character. With Revenge of the Sith, Lucas had the improbable task of creating an origin story that showed audiences why a character like Vader became that way, without diminishing his massive presence.

The incredible thing achieved with this film (and the trilogy in general) is that it doesn’t shy away from showing us all the flaws Anakin possesses. If anything, it highlights them, and almost shoves them down your throat. But this combined with the considerably tragic backstory given to the character is what makes him so incredibly two-dimensional and complex. In my opinion, Revenge of the Sith is what makes Darth Vader as iconic as he is today. Knowing his origins is what makes Vader such a remarkable villain.

Of course, the likes of Obi-Wan Kenobi’s backstory deserves an honourable mention; prequel-Obi-Wan is every bit as eloquent and well-versed as he is in the original trilogy, but with naivety and youth about him that brings an emotional depth to character not before seen.

Iconic Performances

The other feature that contributes greatly to the craft of origin in Revenge of the Sith is the actors’ performances. Funnily, one of the most criticised aspects of the trilogy has been the casting choices. For me, Hayden Christensen’s Anakin/Vader is perfectly arrogant and equally naïve. While his performance is often considered cringe-worthy or downright unwatchable, I think he plays the character in just the right way to convey his transition from man to machine. With the recent releases of Obi-Wan Kenobi and Ahsoka, fans have come back around to Christensen’s performance.

Also once controversial was Ewan McGregor’s performance as the beloved mentor, Obi-Wan Kenobi. There’s no hiding that these were big shoes for McGregor to fill, having to follow Alec Guinness’ performance in the original trilogy. However, I feel it’s again evident that fans have decided McGregor’s interpretation of the character to be just as iconic. This was reflected in the success of his very own Disney+ show, Obi-Wan Kenobi. In Revenge of the Sith, McGregor delivers a stellar portrayal of how Obi-Wan comes to lose everything he has ever known and loved. Once again, he ties up loose ends as to where the character is at the beginning of A New Hope.

CGI and Visuals

Quite possibly one of the most controversial aspects of Revenge of the Sith has to be its use of CGI and blue screen. Of course, the practical effects of the original trilogy are simply reflective of the time in which it was made. However, fans were disappointed with the lack of practical effects in the prequels, and how different aspects of the films look because of the CGI. I think it has to be said that practical effects would have added not only an element of nostalgia to these films but also perhaps a more ‘Star-Wars-esque’ look.

Despite this, Lucas’ decision to move towards CGI and blue screen isn’t unfounded. Not only had effects and post-editing evolved massively since the release of the original trilogy, but so had his budget. I think the overall aesthetic of Revenge of the Sith lends itself well to the more computerised effects, as it shows us a whole different period of this galaxy – one before a majority of the death and destruction we know to have occurred in the original films.

Summary Of Revenge of the Sith

Revenge of the Sith was undeniably a massive part of lots of fans’ childhoods. And still, to this day, the emotion and depth of the final chapter of the prequels hold its ground as a well-made and unforgettable addition to the franchise as a whole. Are there some parts that could have room for improvement? Yes, as with almost any film. But I truly think the good outweighs the bad with this one.

Overall Rating: 9.5/10 – Classic