Screen 3: Revenge of the Sith (12A) Few stories start in the middle, pause at the end, then rewind to the beginning and head back to the middle again. George Lucas may have chosen to tell the epic Star Wars saga in this way, but his final film suggests that finishing in the middle might not have been the best choice. Revenge of the Sith should be the best of the six films. Special effects technology is far better than it used to be three decades (or even three years) ago, so this film ought to look both credible and incredible - and it indeed does. The problem with bringing the story back full circle is that Lucas spends most of the film ensuring continuity with Episode 4. Too much of the middle of the film concentrates on establishing the requisite galactic politics, and the second half splinters into rather too many subplots just to tie all the loose ends together. You know precisely who's going to die (Padme's not in the next film, is she?) and who's going to live (Obi-Wan's going to survive that fall into a bottomless lake, isn't he?). It's all highly satisfactory, but somehow less than imaginative.
But Revenge of the Sith is really Darth Vader's coming out movie. We've watched Anakin grow up, befriended by a series of dodgy looking mentors in brown hoodies, and even dally with beautiful princesses in an attempt to prove his manhood. But now we see him grappling with an inner realisation that not he's like other blokes, that maybe he doesn't want to hang around with beautiful princesses any more, and that his future lies off the straight and narrow. The scene where Anakin is finally corrupted and confesses to his dark side is the least convincing in the entire film, much too quick and convenient. But it's not long before Anakin (no, call me Darth) has fully embraced his alternative lifestyle, abandoning his former girlfriend and hanging around in shadowy backrooms. By the end of the movie he has succumbed totally to the S&M lifestyle, swanning his way around the galaxy in gasmask, knee-length boots and full leather, dishing out pain and torture, a posse of like-minded men in uniform by his side. Whatever next for dominatrix Vader? Maybe the sequel will tell us... except, of course, that we've already seen it.