A trilogy ends!
I’m generally less of a fan of this one than most people, but there’s still good stuff here. If nothing else, it looks amazeballs and the music is some of the best in the entire franchise, so that’s fun!
I will say, watching this is a WAY more emotional if you’ve gone through all of The Clone Wars. Cuz you fall in love with all the clone commanders and the Jedi generals, and then it all goes to hell here. So, if you have time, WATCH THE CLONE WARS because it’s amazing.
Alright, let’s do this!
Episode Number: 3 — Released: 2005 — Production Number: 6
The Story So Far
One of the best and worst things about this episode is the sense that you’ve missed everything that happened in between AotC and this one. And sure, we have The Clone Wars to fill in that gap, but still, we get such a short period of Anakin and Obi-Wan being a team in this episode before everything falls into teeny tiny pieces, jumping straight from AotC to this one feels like such a huge change.
We don’t see Anakin become a sparkly new Jedi, and we don’t really see him move past the teenage resentment he was wrestling with in AotC. We get that AWESOME first scene of them flying through the space battle together and being a team and stuff, and then we get all their delightful banter as they’re fighting their way through Grievous’ ship, and it’s marvelous, and then afterwards, Palpatine starts driving that wedge not only between Anakin and the Jedi Council, but Anakin and Obi-Wan. So, basically, one HAS to watch The Clone Wars to get a fully satisfying story, and to give this one its highest impact.
How Do I Love Thee?
Folks love to mock AotC for its love story, but to be honest, this one takes the cake for sheer relationship cringe. It’s logical to not like sand because that stuff can be ANNOYING, but the whole balcony scene near the beginning leaps into nigh unintelligible clouds of question marks pretty quickly. It’s just…not great.
And while Padme’s intense desire to fix Anakin makes sense in AotC, in this one, her inability to see how Palpatine is manipulating him, especially when she begins to question his use of power, just feels off. I suppose she’s trying to keep a low profile due to her pregnancy, but still…
I dunno. Padme is a pretty strong character, but this one makes her into quite the damsel, and Star Wars is not known for its damsels. *makes Rosie the Riveter pose*
I’ve Never Heard of Anyone Called Obi-Wan
Aside from his curious “Only a Sith deals in absolutes” comment (which I’m still trying to make sense of), Obi-Wan is a pretty fantastic character in this one, especially since we see him conflicted in complex ways! In many ways, his arc is more interesting than Anakin’s because, while Anakin is being manipulated by Sidious into a dark spiral, Obi-Wan goes through several different spirals and, during the second half of the film, he has to keep re-evaluating everything as his knowledge of what is happening and what has been happening keeps changing.
When the Council sends him to kill Grievous, he nods calmly and does his duty, but when Yoda explains that he has to stop Anakin, who is obviously in thrall to a powerful Sith Lord, Obi-Wan resists, but then gives in when he realizes a fight with Anakin is inevitable.
And it’s just so heartbreaking because he spends the whole fight trying to reason with Anakin, remaining cool as a cucumber right up until he realizes he has no choice but to kill Anakin, and THEN he gets angry and gives in to emotion. He’s just gone through an endless war and witnessed countless atrocities on both sides, and this is the thing that becomes too much for him to handle because it has nothing to do with duty to the Jedi.
It’s a failure of a galactic kind that he loses Anakin to the Dark Side, and I think it’s that failure that drives him to devote the rest of his life to making sure Luke Skywalker doesn’t fall in the same way.
Yoda’s exile to Dagobah is one of necessity, since the Force energies there cloak him, but Obi-Wan going to Tatooine is one of duty. He wants to make it up to Anakin by ensuring his son lives up to the legacy of good things Anakin accomplished.
I’m surprised Obi-Wan didn’t get a little MORE eccentric during his exile on Tatooine.
But I love the character, and he has such a wonderful progression throughout the prequels.
Plus, Obi-Wan gets to ride Boga, who’s the best squeaky lizard mount ever. I love Boga.
A Bevy of Bad Guys
First off, once Dooku is removed from the equation, General Grievous is the main bad guy for much of the film. And Grievous is cool. Obi-Wan’s been fighting him for quite some time, but this is Anakin’s first introduction to the ol’ cyborg, which has a fun poetic quality to it because Grievous is literally what Anakin is about to become, though he doesn’t realize it. Grievous is more machine than man, essentially just part of a face and some organs. He’s powerful, but I get the feeling Grievous would have been EVEN MORE POWERFUL had he not been reconstructed.
But of course Anakin wouldn’t realize this until it was too late to do anything.
Then, of course we get Palpatine. For all his shrewd political manipulations and uncommonly slick deflections, once he goes full Sith and doesn’t have to hide things, he goes a little overboard. when we meet the Emperor in RotJ, he’s like this spider, cool, calculating, and completely deadly. And during that AMAZING scene where he tells Anakin about Darth Plagueis, you can see all the gears working in his head and there’s all this subtle danger beneath everything he’s saying, and he pulls Anakin farther into his web, and it’s fantastic. But at the end of this one, he’s a bit manic.
His fight with Yoda could have been so cool and emotional (since Yoda vs. Palpatine was a matchup I have wanted ever since I first saw RotJ), but instead it’s a goofy brawl, which is sort of disappointing. I love the idea of destroying the Senate chamber in the confrontation, but a Sith’s power comes from anger, and Sidious is so…giddy throughout the whole thing. It would have been nice to see more rage and deadly force.
Sidious is still one of my favorite characters, though.
With all that said, everything following Anakin’s defeat at Mustafar is pretty much spot on perfect. Vader’s reconstruction gives me chills every time, and that shot right near the end where we see Vader, Sidious, and Tarkin standing there looking at the beginning of the Death Star is AMAZING.
I really wish we could have a movie set during this time where Vader has to fight to keep the Death Star secret and prove his value to Palpatine all while adjusting to his new tortured existence. We could also see him building his sweet palace on Mustafar here that we’ll see later.
Though we do get that amazing Darth Vader comic series that Marvel’s been doing (has been doing? I’m a bit behind so I don’t know if it’s done yet) which I’m a huge fan of.
What About Padme?
The whole “she died of a broken heart” thing doesn’t ring true with a lot of fans, and I’ve found myself struggling with it a lot, too.
She became so dependent on Anakin, and I think the fact that he was away so often fighting in the Clone Wars allowed her to create an idealized version of him in her mind. When they were together briefly amidst the fighting, they were so happy, it became so easy for her to forget the fact that this guy is emotionally unstable. The Jedi help him (and I think being able to train Ashoka helps ground him a bit more, too), and so from the outside he would definitely have appeared to be more stable and mature, but all that is a distraction. In moments when his fragile ego takes over (like when the Council doesn’t make him a Master) he’s still that angry kid.
But Padme was so desperate for a happy future that she loses sight of just how dangerous he is. His whole issue is attachment, and so it would have been easy to confuse possessive obsession with devotion, especially if they were separated and she didn’t get to see him consistently.
So, when all that finally comes out and she realizes that she’ll never have that peaceful future with him and her children are probably never going to know their father because Obi-Wan has made it clear that he has to kill Anakin, the overwhelming shock of it combined with the trauma of being physically assaulted by the man she loves and then giving birth COULD be a feasible explanation for why she wasn’t able to cope and dies.
People rag on her for not being there for her children, but people don’t realize just how powerful the mind is. Her whole sense of stability self-destructs. And she fights it. Her last words, that she believes there is still good in Anakin, are a last ditch attempt to bring herself up out of this black pit of despair and depression with something positive, but it’s not enough. She uses the last of her energy to bring her children into the world, even though she’s lost the will to live. And she doesn’t give up on her children because she knows Obi-Wan will take care of them.
I still don’t FULLY buy it (and if you have other theories, I’d love to hear them), but it is at least feasible. I think we’re so used to strong women in Star Wars that to see one with a fatal weakness is so unusual to us, but it’s not unrealistic. There are people like this in the world: strong, talented, motivated people who could do so much with what they have, but end up losing themselves to something that’s dangerous to them.
It’s crazy sad, but it carries with it a HUGE impact.
I always wondered why Leia was given the royal family and Luke the moisture farm. They both deserved the royal family.
I guess, since they had to be split up, only one could be with their actual family. Owen and Beru are awesome, even if they’re living in a dangerous wasteland. Plus, it’s awesome that, after losing Shmi, they get to raise her grandson. Her memory and her legacy lives on. It’s amazing that Leia gets to grow up with the finest education and opportunities, but it’s also sad that she gets cut off from her heritage and her family legacy. So it does even out. And they do end up finding and saving each other in the future, but that’s another story.
Next up is Rogue One, but next week’s post is going to be the next entry in Marvel By Numbers since Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 came out a couple weeks back. See you then!