Why Episode III is the best Star Wars movie


Arguably the most emotional entry in the saga, Revenge of the Sith is my pick for the best Star Wars movie. Allow me to explain.

It was supposed to be the last entry in George Lucas’s epic story. Easily the best film of the prequel trilogy, Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith brought the tale of Darth Vader to a satisfying and breathtaking conclusion.

Episode III, in my humble opinion, is the best Star Wars movie there is. The emotion, the action, the shocking twists and turns, the countless memes, only five seconds of Jar Jar–it’s all there.

More from Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith

Now, I know what some of you might be thinking. What? How can you do this? This is outrageous. It’s unfair!

Take a seat, young reader. I know A New Hope is the one that started it all, The Empire Strikes Back might be the best sequel ever made, and Return of the Jedi is pretty underrated. Then again, what are the first six episodes about, in Lucas’s own words? That’s right–the rise and fall (and eventual redemption) of Anakin Skywalker.

See, Revenge of the Sith is the first Star Wars movie that I can remember seeing in the theater. That being said, I might be a little biased when I say it’s the best, but when I look back on it now at 21, I really do think it’s Lucas’s best work.

The prequels have taken their share of criticism, but now that Disney is in full swing with the sequel trilogy, I think fans like me are clamoring to see more of the old. Were the prequels poorly written? Yeah. Some questionable acting? Sure.

However, Episode III took everything that The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones did well (intergalactic space battles, epic lightsaber duels, spotlight on the best actors) and put it all together.

Allow me to take you through the reasons Revenge of the Sith is the best entry in the Skywalker saga.

Photo Credit: [Revenge of the Sith] Lucasfilm

The opening sequence

There’s no shortage of unreal opening scenes in the Star Wars universe. There’s the famous chase in A New Hope, the probe droid landing on Hoth (and Luke getting bodied by the Wampa) in The Empire Strikes Back, or the assassination attempt on Padme in Attack of the Clones. However, it’s the sequence in Episode III that takes the cake.

We start out with Obi-Wan and Anakin navigating their way through a huge battle between the Republic and the Trade Federation. Anakin almost shoots Obi-Wan out of the sky, R4 is decapitated, and R2 shows that he’s not to be trifled with. When the two Jedi eventually reach Grievous’s ship to rescue Palpatine, Obi-Wan Force-jumps out of his ship and cuts down numerous battle droids with his apprentice. Amazing.

The visuals in this scene are among the best in the saga–14 years later, they hold up pretty well. Lucas may have gone a bit overboard with CGI in some parts of the prequel trilogy, but he uses it to its fullest here. And let’s not forget John Williams’s score, which sets the tone right away.

Four of the best duels in Star Wars lore

Image Via Lucasfilm

When I wrote my piece on the best on-screen lightsaber fights, Revenge of the Sith had the most entries and three in the top five. The reason for that? They were all unbelievable to watch.

*I’m going to leave out Dooku vs. Obi-Wan and Anakin, only because it was pretty short and once Anakin put his head down, Dooku never had a chance.

Let’s start out with Grievous vs. Obi-Wan on Utapau. Obi-Wan jumps right in (“hello there”) and Grievous calls off his bodyguards to deal with the Jedi slime himself. One of the coolest visuals in the saga ensues with Grievous revealing his four arms and wielding the four lightsabers. The two briefly fight before Grievous bails and Obi-Wan follows him. Obi-Wan eventually caps it off with a shot to the cyborg’s heart, causing his eyes to burn up and he collapses on the spot (so uncivilized).

Then we’ve got Mace vs. Sidious, a fight that Mace WON, only to have his victory taken away from him. This is basically just a showcase of Mace being unleashed, and all you have to do is look at his face when he’s driving Sidious’s lightsaber down–a face that says “you are not winning today.” Of course, he was wrong, but I’ll always remember this as Windu’s finest moment because he would’ve preserved the Republic had Anakin not interfered.

Episode III comes to the climax with two unreal duels happening at the same time: Yoda vs Sidious and Anakin vs Obi-Wan. On one side, you’ve got the two GOATs going at it in the senate, and on the other, you’ve got master and apprentice facing off in the most emotional duel of the saga. This has to be my favorite sequence in the whole series–I mean, these are the two battles that end up determining the next 30+ years of the galaxy. Lucas managed to capture the raw power of each combatant while also conveying the mental strife in them.

Ian McDiarmid’s performance

ORLANDO, FL – APRIL 13: Ian McDiarmid and George Lucas attend the 40 Years of Star Wars panel during the 2017 Star Wars Celebration at Orange County Convention Center on April 13, 2017 in Orlando, Florida. (Photo by Gerardo Mora/Getty Images for Disney)

It’s treason, then.

With respect to Alec Guinness in the original Star Wars (he got an Oscar nod), McDiarmid’s performance as Palpatine in Revenge of the Sith is the best of the entire franchise. He completely dominated every scene he was in, whether it was action-packed or just two guys talking to each other.

Take the Darth Plagueis scene. Forget Star Wars–this is just some high quality acting, period. I don’t know about you, but I’m hinging on every word each time I see this scene. It’s some great storytelling and it’s probably the clincher that got Anakin to turn to the Dark Side.

I’ll also point to the famous scene where Palpatine spins around in his chair to face Windu and his fellow Jedi. McDiarmid delivers the “Master Windu” line so calmly, then follows it up with the iconic “I AM THE SENATE”.


Anakin’s arc is completed

One of the things that Episode III did so well was make us understand why Anakin betrayed the Jedi and broke bad. It was a culmination of everything that had happened in his young life:

  • Born into slavery
  • Taken away from his mom at a fragile age
  • Grueling mental and physical training to become a Jedi
  • 10 years away from the love of his life
  • Mom dies in his arms
  • Gets arm cut off by Count Dooku

Photo Credit: [Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith] LucasfilmThat is just a gauntlet of terrible things for a guy who’s supposed to be the Chosen One–he’s already got an ungodly amount of pressure on him, so these tragedies and misfortunes don’t help.

Come back to Revenge of the Sith and the bad luck storm is still surging for young Skywalker. He finally gets some good news when Padme reveals her pregnancy, only to have that immediately thrown into question when he starts having visions of her dying in childbirth. Mom’s already gone, so he’s not about to lose his wife.

After the Jedi Council admits him to the club but denies him the rank of Master, everything goes downhill quickly. Think about it if you’re Anakin–you just killed the guy who instigated this civil war (Dooku), rescued the Chancellor from Grievous, and taken on the Jedi’s request to spy on said Chancellor. And yet, they still won’t make you a Master.

The whole time, the only guy in his corner is Chancellor Palpatine, who may or may not be able to save Padme’s life. Of course Anakin’s going to take that gamble, especially with his mom’s death and the Jedi’s lack of faith in him still fresh in his mind. In the end, he gets cocky (high ground) and ends up in the iconic black suit.

Next. Steven Speilberg and the great $40 million Star Wars swindle. dark

Where is Episode III in your rankings? Let us know in the comments.