While some consider The Phantom Menace to be the worst of the prequels and the series in general, there is a nearly equal number of people who consider this movie to be the worst. I felt that way for a while as well, but after rewatching it, I honestly don’t think it’s that bad.
Let’s start by talking about most people’s biggest gripe with this movie which is the romance. While it’s not necessarily good, it’s definitely better than a lot of others. (Cough) Twilight! (Cough). You can tell that Portman and Christiansen are trying to make it work. They just needed better direction. You know how I said with each of these reviews, I’ll link BanditIncorporated’s Mega Review? Well in the one I’ll be linking for this review, he mentions how with some alternations of how the dialogue between Anakin and Obi-Wan is spoken, it could be made to sound like friendly banter. I feel like it’s a similar situation with the dialogue between Anakin and Padme. If they had some more clever direction and if the lines were tweaked and said in a different tone or something, it could’ve worked. But what really bugs me about it is the way the romance plays out. First they kiss and Padme remarks how they shouldn’t have done that. But then it suddenly goes into them getting along and having a few moments of actual chemistry. BUT THEN, it cuts to them arguing about how being together wouldn’t work. Was this just thrown into the script at the last minute and no one bothered to proofread it? Granted, that would explain a lot about the prequels, but the point is that it should’ve been the moments of chemistry first, the kiss second and then the argument last.
Other than that, I can’t find anything that I really hate. I found this movie to be a lot more engaging than The Phantom Menace and I followed the plot fine enough and there’s a lot of interesting stuff. It’s especially interesting to watch how Palpatine tricks and manipulates people to do his bidding and build towards what will become the Galactic Empire and the way he sets Anakin down his path to becoming Darth Vader.
But my favorite part of the film was the scenes centered around Obi-Wan, who’s finally given time to shine in this movie (Seriously Disney, why have you not announced an Obi-Wan Anthology movie yet?), investigating the assassination attempt on Padme, leading him to Kamino, the titular clone army, Jango Fett, and Count Dooku, played brilliantly by Christopher Lee. If there’s one thing people will tell you they loved about the prequels, it’s Ewan McGregor’s performance as Obi-Wan, particularly in this film and Revenge of the Sith.
The action is also a lot of fun. We get a pretty sweet dogfight between Obi-Wan and Jango Fett through an asteroid belt. Once again, the sound designers do an incredible job. And admit it, you geeked out at the sight of an army of Jedi charging at an army of battle droids. And while it is kinda goofy, I can’t help but find the duel between Yoda and Dooku really entertaining. Though I can’t say the same for the duel between Dooku, Obi-Wan and Anakin. That was just lame.
I find it especially hard to hate on Attack of the Clones, but not just because I grew up with it. Despite my dads claims that he did take me to see The Phantom Menace, I was only 3 at the time so if he did, I was too young to remember it, seeing Attack of the Clones is my first memory of going to a movie theater. Not to mention, it gave us the Clone Wars animated series. While I don’t think it’s great and I don’t exactly get urges to watch it, I do think it’s watchable despite two or three cringe-inducing scenes and some effects that don’t hold up so well. The fanboy in me wants to give it 3.5 while the critic in me wants to give it just 3, so I’ll meet it half way and give Attack of the Clones 3.25 out of 5 lightsabers.
I think one thing haters of the prequels can give this movie is this. It had a lot less Jar Jar. Anyway, here’s the BI link. There’s a lot of interesting stuff in it. https://youtu.be/tzw_mNgqNiQ