I didn’t know a lot about Star Wars: Episode 2 – Attack of the Clones. As I said in my review of Phantom Menace, I’ve always been far from a devout Star Wars fan, and I believed it when everyone told me the Prequel films were awful, taking them at their word. I hadn’t ever seen Attack of the Clones prior to now, with myself always losing interest in the series before the credits rolled on Phantom Menace.
Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones is an epic-space opera directed by George Lucas, at the time, the third Star Wars film directed by him, the fourth, of course, being Revenge of the Sith, and is the second film in the Star Wars Prequel series.
The film is set ten years after the events of The Phantom Menace, and the galaxy is on the verge of an all-out war. Led by a former Jedi named Count Dooku, thousands of planetary systems are hell-bent on separating themselves from the Galactic Republic. In the midst of all this, Padme Amidala evades assassination by the skin of her teeth, and is given protection by, now, a much older Anakin Skywalker. His mentor Obi-Wan Kenobi also investigates said attempt on Padme’s life. All of this sets the groundwork for a new threat to the galaxy.
The reception from audience-members and critics to Attack of the Clones is, perhaps, a little better than what it was for The Phantom Menace, although, I wouldn’t dub it appropriate cause for celebration, if only because how neck-and-neck they are. In-terms of box-office returns, Attack of the Clones was still a box-office success worth acknowledging, but it showed the shine was starting to come off Star Wars after Phantom Menace. The film made over 350 million less than Phantom Menace worldwide and finished fourth worldwide in its year of release.
I will go ahead and end the suspense by saying – I think Attack of the Clones is better than The Phantom Menace, a film I particularly disliked. From the get-go, something noticeable is the way Obi-Wan Kenobi’s character improves in-comparison to The Phantom Menace, and I’ll be honest, I had to do some honest meditation to decide if it was simply because he had a beard now. I think I would say that, on some level, the character comes together better because he has an actual contrast in Anakin that he did not have with Qui-Gon Jinn. In the last film, both the characters were stoic and tedious, whereas, in this film, Obi-Wan feels like the voice of reason amidst Anakin’s emotional instability, and simply put, it’s a much better dynamic altogether.
Early in the film, I didn’t really understand the dislike the older Anakin received from everyone, and it was then I saw some of the temper-tantrums done with the character. In some respects, Anakin came off like a Romeo type character, in that he is very sentimental and has a very simple, almost dimwitted teenage angst and instability.
Of course, although, I have that interpretation of the Anakin character, I can most definitely comprehend full-heartedly why so many dislike the character the way they do. The character and the dialogue he’s fed come off unnatural and, once more, as I described with characters in Phantom Menace, cringeworthy in their utter badness.
Not only that, but the way the storyline unfolds is far too convenient and workman-like, as though there is no nuance or heart, it feels so inorganic and forced. The dialogue for Padme Amidala is every bit as bad as Anakin’s, and although part of me wants to be upset about how the character has been reduced to a one-dimensional love-interest, the other part of me certainly never cared about her in The Phantom Menace. It’s upsetting to think of how so many capable actors and actresses threw their talents at these Star Wars films and what’s amounted from it is so little.
I think I would say the action-scenes are an improvement from the first film, but I would still say they lack considerably. I believe what it comes down to is I find the scenes themselves a little undercooked and lacking pizzazz or levity, imagine if we had choreography like in the John Wick films and someone more equipped to spruce up and bring together the narrative was involved, that’s what I want. I’ll go ahead and say the action scenes are fun, but nowhere near greatness’ door.
That said, Attack of the Clones had some scenes I liked. For instance, the way Anakin snaps at one point in the film, showing the first big example of how unhinged he is with his emotions. The chase scene early on with Anakin and Obi-Wan, I also enjoyed, and I think, for the most part, I like the settings for this film a lot more than I liked the sandy Tatooine aesthetic found in Phantom Menace.
The visual aspects are solid. I thought Phantom Menace left a lot to be desired in that department, but Attack of the Clones does a lot better. Simply put, Attack of the Clones operates at higher-capacity to The Phantom Menace in practically all departments, and by measuring them together, watching them back-to-back, I come away liking Attack of the Clones far more than if I looked at it as its own film.
All in all, as I don’t really have much to say, Episode II has its fair share of fumbles as far as storytelling is concerned, its dialogue, and its delivery of said dialogue, but the action-scenes and scenery improve, and the film itself has a couple of moments worthy of being highlighted. I wouldn’t call it a “Great” film, and I wouldn’t even necessarily call it a “Good” film, but I would say it’s a “Decent” film, which is more than I could say for its predecessor.