8. Star Wars: Attack of the Clones
Luckily for Star Wars fans at the turn of the century, each episode of the prequel trilogy is better than the previous one. Lucas perceptibly rectified some of The Phantom Menace’s blemishes and made sure his environments felt organic in Attack of the Clones, particularly the bustling speeder chase through Coruscant or the rowdy crowd that fills the Geonosian arena. Even the oceanic planet of Kamino is effectively active with never-ending downpour during Obi-Wan Kenobi’s showdown against Jango Fett.
Despite a welcome escalation in plot elements, Attack of the Clones is not completely devoid of awkward moments; the lovey-dovey parts with Anakin and Padme belong in a different genre, but their feelings for each other are palpable enough throughout the prequel storyline. Attack of the Clones acts as a stepping stone that brings the pair to more intense matrimonial obstacles in the trilogy’s culminating narrative.
Perhaps the love story comes off as inconsequential because it interrupts the more thrilling beats occurring across the galaxy. After Kamino, Obi-Wan heads to Geonosis, where things really heat up. Eventually, Anakin and Padme join him for some gladiatorial games versus oversized creatures. Then the entire Jedi Council drops in for a truly epic battle; highlighted by Mace Windu decapitating Jango Fett. By the time Yoda swoops in with the clone army, audiences are already overcome with excitement.
The entire ending with Count Dooku unfolds gloriously. The former Jedi overpowers Obi-Wan and Anakin, even cutting off the latter’s hand, setting the stage for Yoda to leave Star Wars fans in awe of the master Jedi’s fighting maneuvers. The final moments where Anakin receives his robotic hand nicely parallels the end of the middle chapter of the original trilogy, with Anakin’s son, Luke, requiring the same treatment after facing his father.