This movie more than makes up for the lackluster Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones. Strange that I originally loved Clones but I watched it again with the girlfriend a couple days ago and found it to be a colossal bore.
The opening battle scene is something to behold, a 10 minute rollercoaster ride that truly rivals anything else George Lucas has ever done. The build-up to Anakin Skywalker’s turn to the dark side is handled beautifully and culminates in a great scene between Hayden Christensen (Skywalker) and Ian McDiarmid (Senator Palpatine) at an opera, where Palpatine shows where his true allegience lies.
And don’t even try to get me started with all of the lightsabre battles. Un-freaking-believable!!! The last 45 minutes of the movie easily is the best sequence in the entire six-movie set. Very emotional, gripping till the end, and extremely satisfying.
A few (very tiny) negatives. The dialog in the movie, of course, is still pretty pedestrian. Lucas has never been much of a writer: he’s an idea guy, a dreamer; he knows how to translate his thoughts visually but he can’t write his way out of a paper bag. Poor Natalie Portman, a wonderful actress and one of my personal favourites, is a complete afterthought in this movie. She’s barely given any screen time and when she is onscreen, she’s burdened with lines of dialog that Meryl Streep couldn’t even pull off.
Small grievances, however. Ewan McGregor looks like he’s having the time of his life in this movie; McDiarmid absolutely steals every scene he’s in, chewing said scenery like it’s a box of Crispy Creme donuts. I even thought Christensen showed some life, although I’m kind of in the minority on that.
Overall, I still think that this falls below Empire Strikes Back in the grand scheme of things but only by the smallest of margins. This movie kicks serious ass and is a fitting conclusion to the series.