Anakin: Love won’t save you, only my new powers.
*She steps away when she sees that he has changed.
Padme: I don’t know you anymore. Anakin, you’re breaking my heart. You are going down a path I can’t follow.
I tear up each time I watch the ending of Episode III. Is that lame? This scene with Padme and the following fight and epilogue is reason enough to watch this movie. I know there is generally more hate on the prequels, but Revenge of the Sith is a must-see. This is profound loss, and you need to feel this if you are engaging with the storyline of Star Wars.
“People don’t actually realize it’s actually a soap opera and it’s all about family problems—it’s not about spaceships.” These were some of the words of George Lucas regarding his separation from the Star Wars franchise. This is just one sentence that could quickly be misused if one is not familiar with all that the series has accomplished for science fiction and “spaceship” movies. But the words lingered with me. Yes, this is a spectacular story surrounding a blood-tied family and a Jedi family, and I love it so much. Hence, tears and feels and such.
If you take a look back at the closing dual between Anakin and Obi-wan, it is definitely a fight between brothers. At this point, we have watched for hours and waited years as Obi-wan poured into Anakin since he was a little boy. We knew the betrayal was coming, but we got attached because we saw good people like Padme and Obi-wan get attached.
Obi-wan: I have failed you, Anakin.
Anakin: [shouts like a demon] I hate you!
Obi Wan: [affectionately] You were my brother, Anakin. I loved you.
Gruesome burning of Anakin’s flesh.
What would have happened if Obi-Wan had just killed him then? It’s like he is hoping for some form of reconciliation or resolve even though he knows that this cannot happen. And as if this isn’t enough to sink your ship, the audience immediately views several juxtapositions of life and death.
Padme and Anakin die. Luke, Leia, and Darth Vader are born.
To see her funeral and then his unapologetic-can’t-mistake-it position and stance towards the Death Star…it just feels sad. It feels so wrong to watch her funeral and then see Darth Vader take his position next to the Sith Lord. Anakin is lost forever. Anakin and Padme are separated forever.
I find this unraveling of Anakin absorbing. There is a scene when Anakin is looking up through his hood, now in essence Darth Vader, and he looks beyond disturbed. He looks like a demon child, hatred and evil boiling in him and evident in his red sullen eyes.
I could boil this story down to a hero turned evil. A character we have grown attached to (cautiously since we know what is coming), becomes something that betrays the others we are rooting for. We all know the story of Darth Vader, yet if a movie could simply be “boiled down,” then there’d be no point in making it. What I am saying is that this story of unraveling is one worth watching. Episode III can’t be boiled.
Revenge of the Sith is worth the time to refresh your mind on the tragedy of the dark side. Padme embodies relationship and reminds us that you can’t separate intimate relationships from war. Maybe it is because I think in relational terms, but I always seem to ponder and feel the gravity of collateral damage in war-type movies. Even if the film’s direction skips over showing how a supporting character might feel, I naturally ask that question and feel the possible answers. I identified naturally with the two women in Anakin’s life. How on earth could they bear losing him? How could he betray them? I know the Force plays the driving role in this whole dark transformation, but it doesn’t take away from how the separation is awful. Padme’s life left a lasting mark for me, clear back in 2005.
Anakin’s betrayal of her is heartbreak at its deepest. Not only does he choose to destroy their relationship, but he attempts to destroy the larger principles and causes that it stood upon. And this happens in a way that makes everyone else feel sorry for Anakin. Something has pulled him and devoured him. He has been consumed by the dark side. We all feel that he is in bondage but that it is still his fault and choice. Such are the realities of darkness and free will in the world.
But Episode III also allows us the opportunity to consider the events surrounding the birth of Luke and Leia. These are the seeds of hope in the midst of gross tragedy. Nobody can stay too depressed when they see the sandy pure landscape of Tatooine.
Darth Vader is an iconic villain if there ever was one. And we do well to remember that he was once just a boy who loved his mother dearly, had some cool hobbies, excelled beyond his peers, became the pride of his mentors and the shining hope of an empire, fell hopelessly in love, started a family, and brought devastation to all of it. No one had more promise than him, and it seems like he is able to burn all of that up. It is fitting that the final scenes contain so much lava and fire. The emotional landscape had been torturous. And that is the main point of Episode III.
And as we know, he ultimately fulfills the prophecy of the chosen one. His wife’s final words echoed the beliefs that he would destroy the Sith. “There is still some good in him. I know it.” And he does eventually, but at what cost? His son’s love finally awakens the good in him and enables him to finish what he should have executed in these moments. But this is only many deaths and tragedies later.
It takes a lot of emotional stock to consider the Darth Vader of Episodes IV-VI and then remember his beginnings as a boy with a mother who loved him. It is confusing actually and feels like a dark mystery I’ve experienced before. Something inside of me knows it is the worst kind of tragedy to watch a glimpse of great promise turn and move the opposing direction. Is it easier to see and accept the final evil product and villainize it, rather than watch the grotesque morphing and their ugly descent? Anakin is graphicly possessed by darkness. His fate is to be sealed off and separated as a calculated vessel for the purposes of evil and wrath.
Anakin, you’re breaking my heart.