In the final installment of the Star Wars saga, the Clone Wars rage, widening the rift between Chancellor Palpatine and the Jedi Council. Young Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker is caught in the middle, his allegiances torn. Seduced by promises of power and temptations of the Dark Side, he pledges himself to evil Darth Sidious and becomes Darth Vader. Together, the Sith Lords set in motion a plot of revenge that begins with the extermination of the Jedi. Only Yoda and Obi-Wan survive, and are left to hunt down the Sith, leading to a climactic lightsaber battle that pits Anakin against Obi-Wan and will decide the fate of the galaxy.
After a quintet of Star Wars films and a whole lot of hype, Episode III has finally hit the big screen, and it's arguably the best of the classic sci-fi series.
Revenge of the Sith avoids the major pitfalls of previously released episodes: the silliness of jovial teddy bears defeating mechanized armies (Return of the Jedi); long-winded, pointless car races (The Phantom Menace); disappointing lightsaber fights (Attack of the Clones); and lots of aimless wandering across the galaxy (The Empire Strikes Back). The much maligned Jar Jar Binks is briefly seen but never heard, and the movie rarely wastes time with comic relief or weak attempts to entertain the kids with overbearing sidekicks.
Episode III also abundantly delivers the Star Wars elements that really kick ass: fast-paced action, larger than life drama, Force mojo, and wicked lightsaber fights. The story of Anakin Skywalker finally succumbing to the Dark Side and becoming the infamous Darth Vader, while occasionally uneven in its pacing, is thoroughly satisfying, and his fall from grace is progressive, logical, and tragic.
But in spite of the dramatic treachery and epic space battles, the lightsaber fights steal the show--and there are plenty to go around. They start almost immediately with a rematch that pits Count Dooku against Anakin and Obi-Wan Kenobi. Later, Obi-Wan battles General Grievous, a droid leader wielding four lightsabers at once, and Chancellor Palpatine opens up a can on Mace Windu and three other Jedi. Still later, Palpatine goes head-to-head with Yoda, and while it's another matchup of All-Star geriatrics, it's not as feeble as Attack of the Clones' Yoda vs. Dooku fight. The battle royale, though, is a headliner between Anakin and Obi-Wan, full of venomous backstabbing that makes the dramatic moments of Episodes 4, 5, and 6 all the more meaningful.
Among the cast, Ewan McGregor is outstanding as the heroic Obi-Wan. He does a great job of embodying the critical aspects of the character, and if you compare his performance to that of Alec Guinness as the elder Obi-Wan in the original Star Wars, it is remarkably easy to believe that they are the same guy.
Star Wars, Episode III: Revenge of the Sith is an impressive close to an iconic pop culture phenomenon, and we eagerly recommend it to hardcore fans and nostalgic film buffs alike.
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