Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones is the second movie in what is commonly referred to as the “Star Wars prequel trilogy”. Taking place before the events of the Death Star in Star Wars Episode IV, Attack of the Clones continues to show us the rise of the iconic villain Darth Vader. This prequel/sequel promises more lightsaber action, a more mature plot, and plenty of the signature Star Wars charm. The first prequel, The Phantom Menace, was originally met with tepid reception. Let’s see if Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones can bring the trilogy back on track.
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The Movie Review
Attack of the Clones starts a decade after the events of The Phantom Menace. Once again, times have turned to political unrest, as numerous solar systems have threatened to abandon the Republic. Led by a shadowy man named Count Dooku, the rebellion against the Republic has caused nothing but headaches for the Jedi Knights to maintain peace. Amidala (Natalie Portman) is now a full-fledged Senator and comes up with the idea to form a defensive army to aid the Republic.
Now past his teen years, Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen) continues his Jedi training with General Obi-wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor). The two meet up with Senator Amidala to offer her protection, as assassins from the rebellion have started closing in. After a while, the Jedi split up; Anakin is left to defend Amidala while Obi-wan attempts to find the source of the assassins.
Attack of the Clones flips back and forth between the two groups, with Anakin and Amidala discussing their budding love for each other and Obi-wan investigating the growing mystery. Like the Phantom Menace, the story is deeply baked in politics, which provides plenty of world-building but at the cost of excitement.
The Jedi council continue to be a key entity, with Jedi knights such as Mace Windu (Samuel L. Jackson) getting plenty of screen time. Unfortunately, the romance plot between the young Jedi padawan Anakin and Senator Amidala feels plastic and unearned. This is in part due to a wooden performance by Hayden Christensen and the lack of chemistry between the two actors.
However, Attack of the Clones excels when it flips to Obi-wan’s side of the story. Without giving too much away, the Jedi knight’s investigation uncovers a vast conspiracy that spells certain war in the galaxy. His adventure is prime with lightsaber bouts, intense sequences of peril, and a few exceptionally memorable characters. This half of the adventure more than makes up for the more tedious romance sub-plot, and it ultimately saves the movie and keeps it entertaining.
Overall, Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones is a step up from The Phantom Menace, but still held back by some weak performances and ham-fisted storytelling. Despite this, it remains an exciting action flick with plenty of fun Star Wars content and characters.
- Awesome large-scale battle scenes
- Colorful scenes and locations
- An interesting mystery keeps the narrative afloat
- Romance sub-plot feels forced and unnatural
- A few underwhelming actor performances
- Basis in politics makes it confusing for younger viewers