Reevaluating ‘Revenge of the Sith’ After ‘The Last Jedi’

Since Disney has acquired Lucasfilm I haven’t watched the prequel trilogy as often as I once did because it’s become less enjoyable over the years. After The Force Awakens my enjoyment of the prequels lessened considerably but then after Rogue One it’s rare for me to want to watch a prequel film, or at least be able to watch a prequel through one sitting. So imagine my surprise when I suddenly got the urge to watch Revenge of the Sith last night. I haven’t sat down and really watched this movie in years. What would make we want to watch it now? But there was this certain sense, this urge I felt to see how I perceive Revenge of the Sith after the somewhat shortcomings of The Last Jedi. So, I turned it on and I watched it.

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It was amazing. George Lucas may have gotten a lot of things wrong with his prequels but I have to admit, Revenge of the Sith is a brilliant display of storytelling when looked at through unbiased eyes. The movie’s one blaring mishap (Anakin and Padme) isn’t from a storytelling perspective but an act of bad casting. If Adam Driver had been Anakin and let’s say, from an acting stand point, Oscar Winning Felicity Jones was Padme the story would’ve obtained a complexity that just isn’t grasped from Hayden Christensen’s a-tad-bit-annoying performance and Natalie Portman’s clearly unenthusiastic take on the character. They, however, are really the only blight on the movie and when I looked past them and enjoyed the movie for what it is I realized how surprisingly incredible the movie actually is.

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The first half of the movie is entertaining, yes, but it’s just setting up what is yet to come as it presents plot points and hints towards Anakin Skywalker’s eventual fall to the Dark Side. It isn’t until after Mace Windu is killed and Chancellor Palpatine becomes the horrific Emperor Palpatine that things start getting really interesting and that dark tone that the movie already subtly possesses gets ramped up from about a dismal 30% to a whopping 150%.

You see, this is where I started to compare The Last Jedi to Revenge of the Sith as I watched this movie last night. The Last Jedi marketed itself as this darkly toned movie with a huge reveal that would end up putting The Empire Strikes Back to shame but instead we got Finn and Rose riding space horses through a casino. Doesn’t sound so epic, huh? When the movie finally tried to hit a darker place (the Resistance losing all hope as they realized there would be no rescue mission from their allies) viewers were already exhausted from the gazillion plot lines, the unexpected twists that weren’t that great, and Poe constantly running all over the place. Why were we supposed to care that the Resistance was doomed? We just wanted the movie to end.

Revenge of the Sith doesn’t take too long to get the point of things getting dire and when it did get dire you can actually feel it. Execute Order 66 goes into effect and I watched sorrowfully as the Jedi were murdered before my very eyes throughout the galaxy, younglings and masters alike. Suddenly the movie got real and I loved it.

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Padme learns that the man she loved is actually really evil and she tries to save him but it’s too late. I couldn’t help but feel sorry for her. Here she is, on the verge of childbirth, and everything that she thought she knew and loved was coming to an end. Anakin, in his anger, nearly choked her to death after realizing she had stowed away his new enemy, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and the ultimate showdown begins. On one side of the universe on a fiery lava planet Obi-Wan and Anakin duke it out. And then on the other side of the galaxy in a senate building on Coruscant Darth Sidious and Yoda are having quite the epic duel of their own as well. I was practically beaming with joy at how climactic that fighting sequence felt. Even though I knew what was going to happen it was riveting nonetheless.

The Last Jedi‘s only riveting parts are the throne room sequence between Snoke, Rey, and Kylo Ren and the Luke/Kylo Ren showdown on Crait. Those scenes are pretty much off the chain. But everything else is kind of muddled with lackluster moments that just ruin the magic of the movie.

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And the music, oh my gosh the music. Revenge of the Sith‘s score is INCREDIBLE! One of the scenes that struck me as I watched the movie was the final scene. As Obi-Wan Kenobi delivers baby Luke to Owen and Beru Lars the “Force Theme” plays quietly and slowly escalates in a chill-inducing way that’s just pure magic. And yet this same theme is presented in the exact same way at the end of The Last Jedi as the little broom boy on Canto Bight looks up to the stars hoping that one day he too can be a hero like Luke Skywalker. The fact that these two movies have the same theme during their individual end scenes shows that John Williams sensed that Rian Johnson was trying to make this movie feel climactic but unfortunately it didn’t end up as good as it could’ve been.

In terms of the rest of the movie, I loved how the music escalated with certain moments in the film. The loudness of the instruments and the passionate singing of the choir…absolute chills. There’s also a constant dark, militaristic tone throughout the film that imbues the movie with a finale vibe. And the way he integrates his more iconic themes throughout the movie’s story is just superb.

The movie also made me surprisingly emotional which was shocking because I don’t usually get that worked up over Revenge of the Sith but it definitely hit my emotional buttons. Woo, it was rough.

All in all, no Revenge of the Sith isn’t the greatest Star Wars movie ever made but compared to The Last Jedi it’s worthy of an Oscar in comparison. The Last Jedi tried to portray itself as a dark film by going as far as making the words Star Wars red (that’s usually only assigned to the most dour of Star Wars films) but it really wasn’t that serious. Revenge of the Sith is. By the end of that prequel finale it’s a really sad existence for the galaxy and it truly feels like the heroes and everything the trilogy was building up to got ransacked with a monster truck. The Last Jedi ends on a sour note too but because all of our favorite heroes are alive and seen partying on the Millennium Falcon (not literally but figuratively) it doesn’t seem like a all-hope-is-lost type of movie ending. George Lucas may have his faults with the prequel trilogy but he did a great job with Revenge of the Sith.

I thank you for reading this analogy on Revenge of the Sith and I hope you have a lovely day. May the Force be with you.

 

 

 

 

 

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