PT "Anakin became evil too quickly"

Discussion in 'Prequel Trilogy' started by enigmaticjedi, May 24, 2015.

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  1. enigmaticjedi Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Nov 2, 2011
    star 3
    This is a complaint that is often levied against ROTS. I think this complaint is predicated on a misunderstanding of Anakin's turn.

    Anakin did not join Sidious to become evil; he sold his soul to save Padme.
    -- Before he ignites his lightsaber against the younglings, you see a hint of hesitation in Anakin's face
    -- After Anakin kills the Separatist council, you see Anakin in some tears, lamenting the despicable actions he undertook.

    Having Anakin kill younglings was a poor decision. If it were friends who had looked up to Anakin, it would have been better. However, even this was not unprecedented. In AOTC, Anakin slaughtered all of the Tuskens, including the children. As a result, the slippery slope had begun in AOTC. This tends to be forgotten, because the children weren't shown on screen I guess.

    In sum, I think this complaint misses the point of Anakin's turn. What do you think?
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  2. Cushing's Admirer Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 8, 2006
    star 7
    I think it's entirely justified because we see *very* little build up or genuine reactions.

    Likewise I think many like you in this case wrongly label 'misunderstanding' on the part of the viewer what is more often likely the failure of the narrative to *connect* with the audience in the ways you believe it should. Everyone's experience is different and that is not because of lack of understanding.
    Last edited by Cushing's Admirer, May 24, 2015
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  3. DARTHLINK Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Feb 24, 2005
    star 4
    Because Anakin went swiftly from ‘a Jedi who just made a really horrible mistake’ to ‘a Jedi who has turned and is willing to murder younglings’. It just felt too...sudden.
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  4. MarCas92 Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    May 23, 2015
    I still think it was too sudden. I would've preferred a slower build up. I mean, it's a huge leap to go from attacking your friend in order to save another to slaughtering children. I knew that killing children was in him, I just feel that that moment was put in more for shock value than as a logical story progression.
  5. VadersLaMent Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Apr 3, 2002
    star 10
    Anakin's fall started in The Phantom Menace, continued in AOTC, and reached its head in ROTS after a lifetime of bad influence and inner dragons.
  6. Cryogenic Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 20, 2005
    star 5
    Yes, true. The fragments we get paint a picture of a person in some doubt as to the righteousness of his actions.

    But I just want to go in a slightly different direction with this. Try something different.

    Respectfully, though -- how would that have been better?

    I will point out that the film never concretely shows Anakin killing younglings -- not those we see him draw his lightsaber on, anyway.

    The most compelling evidence of him attacking younger Jedi is a holographic recording that Obi-Wan watches, where Anakin appears to be simultaneously attacking and defending himself from adolescent Jedi, not the prepubescent younglings he confronts in the council chamber.

    It is possible he escorted the younglings he initially comes up against out of the chamber, to safety. Now, Anakin and Obi-Wan do come up against downed younglings (prepubescent younglings) when they return to the Jedi Temple in that atrium, with Yoda noting that one of the younglings seems to have been killed be a lightsaber, not by blaster fire. Yoda's head hangs heavy; and a little while later, he advises Obi-Wan not to watch any of the security recordings. He seems to already assume that Anakin is the culprit. However, a clone trooper could have grabbed hold of a lightsaber and killed the youngling in such a manner. Equally, it's possible that the youngling is a victim of "friendly fire" (go back and watch the scene of Yoda training the younglings in AOTC -- look how clumsy they are with training sabers).

    The movie does actually leave Anakin's precise actions in some doubt. Anakin is never tried in a court of law. He is judged and condemned by Yoda and Obi-Wan without even the mock appearance of a trial. No evidence is gathered, no witnesses are interviewed, no jury is consulted. What Yoda and Obi-Wan decide is purely extra-judicial -- and it ends in Anakin half burning to death. Modern human rights laws say that everyone is equal under the law, grant everyone the right to a fair trial, and expressly forbid cruel and unusual punishments.

    I will add that Anakin doesn't fully defend his alleged crimes to Padme, but he does say that "Obi-Wan is trying to turn you against me," when Padme tells him that Obi-Wan has informed her that Anakin killed younglings. Even if his mind had been twisted by the Dark Side, this at least suggests that Anakin has a different view of things and might not have committed the crimes that Obi-Wan has led Padme to believe he is responsible for. Anakin basically has a death sentence placed upon him by Obi-Wan; and the only recourse he has for avoiding it, ultimately, is to fight back and hope he gets the better of Obi-Wan.

    The film actually presents an extremely dire view of these characters and their world -- if you're willing to apply modern legal principles developed since the Enlightenment, rather than remaining trapped in mediaevalism and judgementalism.

    And I think the film is somewhat making this point. That people are innocent until proven guilty. That without a proper legal and ethical system, as corrupt and as faulty as those systems might be, you don't have anything like true justice -- just hunches, grudges, and insanely revanchistic acts, dressed up behind "good" intentions.

    Revenge Of The Sith.
    Last edited by Cryogenic, May 24, 2015
  7. thejeditraitor Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Aug 19, 2003
    star 6
    he killed them dude. it works because it shows he'll do anything to protect padme but really he's doing it for himself.
    Last edited by thejeditraitor, May 24, 2015
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  8. True Sith Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    May 10, 2015
    star 4
    It's a little sudden, sure, but I think it shows how beyond desperate he is to save Padme, since nothing terrifies him more than losing her like in his dreams. He's past the point of no return by then after he incapacitated Mace. From there, it's a very slippery slope once you embrace the dark side, so I don't have much of an issue with it.
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  9. Cryogenic Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 20, 2005
    star 5
    He killed them, he didn't kill them. The film leaves it unclear.

    What it does make quite clear, however, is that Anakin seems willing to potentially kill younglings -- and he's still the one that marches into the Jedi Temple with the clones.

    So it's a pretty twisted and dark film either way.

    The point I was trying to illustrate above is that, as dark and despicable as Anakin's actions (the ones we see) already are, Yoda and Obi-Wan also barrel into a kind of hellish nihilism, condemning Anakin on scant data, sanctioning (Yoda) and committing (Obi-Wan) atrocities of their own.

    Sith is a very dark ride. Yoda and Obi-Wan have a sort of sublimated blood-lust. They are both prepared to kill and balance the books with violence. Like the very individuals they ready themselves to face, they choose to be a law unto themselves -- repeating Mace's error in confronting and then attempting to kill the leader of the Republic.

    All these characters take their own trip into hell.


    Right. The film explores the rocky world of personal identity and how self-deception is an enslaving defence mechanism.

    It's pretty trenchant -- both for what it shows and what it doesn't, IMO.
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  10. True Sith Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    May 10, 2015
    star 4
    Last edited by True Sith, May 24, 2015
  11. Cryogenic Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 20, 2005
    star 5

    Try reading my actual posts next time.
  12. thejeditraitor Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Aug 19, 2003
    star 6
    he did kill them. obi-wan saw it.
  13. True Sith Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    May 10, 2015
    star 4
    Um, I did thanks. It was pretty clearly shown that Anakin did in fact draw his saber, fight, and kill the younglings. "Killed not by clones, this padawan....by lightsaber he was." I don't know how obvious you want it to be. The idea that a clone could have done it by the way is extremely implausible.
    Last edited by True Sith, May 24, 2015
  14. skygawker Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    May 25, 2014
    star 3
    Yeah, I don't think there's any ambiguity. He definitely killed them.

    That said, I did think it was a logical progression. He'd killed children in the previous movie, if not onscreen. He agreed to wipe out all the Jedi - since we know there were Jedi children, and since Anakin made no argument to spare them, he would be complicit in their deaths whether he or a clone was the one to actually do the deed. I liked that the movie didn't try to gloss over that.
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  15. Cryogenic Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 20, 2005
    star 5

    That's very true.

    And well-put.

    These movies, in my opinion, gloss over very little -- and that, I think, is a very big part of the backlash against them.
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  16. mes520 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 3, 2012
    star 4
    The book probably does the best job between the two, but I think the movie is pretty decent.

    It's not crazy to think that Anakin well Vader would kill Jedi, what did they ever do keep him on his side? *crickets* Not much. Their dislike for him and vice versa went back to TPM. Palpatine was Anakin's friend, his mentor, and he offers Anakin everything he wants.

    As for killing the Jedi younglings. It's not that much a stretch either. One, he's killed kids and the innocent before, the Tusken Raiders in AOTC. Two, they're future Jedi, as a General in the Clone Wars he knows one cannot leave enemies behind or they come back to bite you later. Three, it shows Vader has no limits to get what he wants.
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  17. Agent M Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    May 13, 2015
    star 2
    Yeah I think he did kill them, but that was an amazing post!
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  18. Cryogenic Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 20, 2005
    star 5

    Well, thank you, Agent M!

    Glad someone appreciates it.
    Agent M likes this.
  19. All_Powerful_Jedi Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 12, 2003
    star 4
    It was very sudden and that one scene in particular, in Palpatine's office, was the key scene needed to sell Anakin's turn and it unfortunately feels very quick and lacks some justification. Anakin goes from "What have I done?" to "Whatever you say, my Master" after Palpatine begins[IMG] to renege on his claims of preventing death.

    Not only does Anakin turn in this scene, but so does Palpatine. He goes from "I'm too weak" to "POWAHHHH!!!! UNLIMITED POWAAAHHH!!!" and Anakin just looks stupid for glossing over the fact that this guy is revealed to be a monster.

    It's unfortunate, because Lucas paced Anakin's turn out too few and too far to save everything for Revenge of the Sith (aside from killing Tuskens) that he basically had to do it all in one scene. He could have planted the "Palpatine knows about Anakin/Padme" stuff in Episode 2 easily without ruining anything so that it's less sudden that Palpatine knows the trick to converting Anakin. Instead, it all happens pretty much at once.
    Last edited by All_Powerful_Jedi, May 24, 2015
  20. DarkMark Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 6, 2002
    star 3
    I've never really had trouble accepting it. From the monent he cuts off Mace's hand and becomes complicit in his death, there's really no turning back for Anakin. Given what he's just seen Mace trying to do, it's no leap for him to believe what Palpatine says - "when the Jedi find out what has transpired here, they will kill us." There's no hope of Palpatine going on trial any more, giving Anakin the chance to question him about Plagueis's abilities. The Jedi will kill him, and maybe Anakin as well.

    From then on it's about protecting Palpatine, because allowing the Jedi to kill him, or turning away from the dark side, will be condemning Padme to death, and Anakin can't do that. So he twists it and justifies it to himself - killing the Jedi is vital to save Padme, and it will also stop a civil war breaking out. Once he gives in to that, starts to kill Jedi and willingly uses the dark side, it quickly consumes him and he becomes drunk on the power of it. Always worked, for me.
  21. darklordoftech Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 30, 2012
    star 6
    The irony of the claim that Anakin's turn is too sudden is that a common complaint against AOTC was that Anakin was too close to turning. I often hear "Anakin fell long before AOTC," "Padme should have known that Anakin would turn when she heard about the sandpeople," "AOTC Anakin is such a jerk," "AOTC Anakin is a Sith in all but name," etc. To make all those claims and then call Anakin's turn in ROTS "too sudden" seems self-contradicting to me.
    Last edited by darklordoftech, May 25, 2015
  22. carlcockatoo Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Mar 14, 2015
    star 4
    I think that point in the film was the right time for him to turn.

    it's just that everything leading up to it was kind of back-and-forth and that particular scene went from "holy **** I'm confused and conflicted" to "k koo I'm Darth Vader now". in my rewrites it would all have played out differently **** it there's gonna be an hour later today where I can't really do much maybe during that time I should just type this **** up?

    I'll just say this for now:

    -AOTC clones Anakin should have been mostly good. I'd have him show signs of darkness with an act of violence, but not straight up murder.
    -He would have fully turned the same way as in the actual PT (ROTS would be the tale of turn to darkness, and a little over halfway through is when he's Vader), but the motives would have been different: lust for greater power (for noble reasons that get distorted), depression over his mother's death leading to vulnerability, genuinely questionable Jedi decisions putting his values into question, and anger for being suspended by the Jedi Council (despite Obi-Wan's wishes), bringing him even closer to Palpatine. no premonitions of Padme's death (which btw the way that played out was insulting to Padme's character). I'd still go for the whole "he sold his soul" thing, but it'd be more him taking the "easy route" (as Obi-Wan said in the OT) to get his way in a confusing time and by doing so his former good self is consumed by darkness. So he's both a tragic hero and a legitimately terrifying villain like Vader was meant to be.
  23. Prospecting on Subtyrrell Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Mar 18, 2014
    star 2
    I think people sometimes underestimate just how insidious Sidious is. He played this to absolute perfection psychologically.

    The most common complaints appear to be why Anakin doesn't object when Sidious says he doesn't have the power he promised. My question is, why does Sidious admit this at all? Why not just lie and tell him that yes, I have the power, but to use it you need to be strong enough in the dark side. Then after Anakin has done enough evil to not turn back he can tell him he was just playing him.

    Imo the reason he does tell Anakin straight away is because that is part of the process. At first he just goes "learn to use the dark side of the force, become my apprentice". That's all he's asking Anakin to do then and there. He's like the good authority figure offering him a solution to all his problems at a time of extreme peril. Anakin accepts and is still Anakin here.

    But then Sidious tells him he doesn't know the power after all, and the next shot is of Darth Vader, not Anakin. Because Darth Vader is his hate, and what better way to bring out Darth Vader than to piss Anakin off as much as he can? He is not offering him any comfort at all. "Oh about that, I don't know after all, but just keep doing as I say then maybe. Basically you have just betrayed your friends for a pipe dream".

    Look at Vader's face, he hates him. Wants to kill him. But at the same time he believes this power exists, after all he is himself a product of midichlorians creating life, and if anyone can learn such a power it would be the most powerful Jedi ever. Sidious has just appealed to his hate and his ego. At the same time there can be no doubt that Anakin is being intoxicated by the dark side in this moment. His mouth is open and he pledges himself seemingly out of some dark side command. Because right now his hate is so strong and his emotions running so high he is struggling to keep it from consuming him. After he has pledged himself it is as if Sidious let go somehow, and Anakin comes back. A shameful look, he can't even look Sidious in the eye. When he looks up again he takes a moment to adjust, then you see Vader. And once he feels the power coming with that, there's no turning back. Would it be easy to get a father to forgive a criminal for killing his wife? Not likely. The hate would be seething for years, possibly a lifetime. This is the place Anakin is at emotionally right now. He hates Sidious, the Jedi, himself. He desperately needs a justification for his feelings and Sidious gives it to him.

    From that point on Vader is in control. Anakin is still peaking through, right until the end, but he is never given an alternative to Sidious. Padme leaves him, Obi Wan and the rest of the Jedi want to kill him. Seeking comfort in the dark side of the force is all he really has left.
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  24. jakobitis89 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 27, 2015
    star 4
    It's Anakin's emotional state that confuses me about the whole situation. I can totally see how he's ended up at the point of no return and how Sidious has manipulated him into thinking the Sith have the answer to all his problems... but he's visibly shocked by his own actions in cutting off Mace's arm. Then a few moments later (in film-time) he marches into the temple, murders a few Jedi and draws a lightsaber on a bunch of kids and gets to work killing them (we don't see it because an 18-rated Star Wars film wouldn't fly and you can't PG-ify a bunch of preteens being cut into kibble, but it definitely happens to at least one group of younglings.) And in this second case he seems pretty much chilled and relaxed about his business. It's a really jarring disconnect. I have never seen the 'phantom tear' he supposedly cries when he's about to kill the kids, he seems pretty much fine and dandy with his decision in direct contrast to his shock and horror that he's fallen so far as to be complicit in the murder of a Jedi Master a short while earlier.

    His fall does makes sense from a logical perspective but less so from an emotional one, to me.
  25. Prospecting on Subtyrrell Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Mar 18, 2014
    star 2
    Because the hate is already there. Against Sidious, against himself. And he has given into it. But he can't channel it towards himself or Sidious. Because he has made himself key to the only thing he cares about. So he takes it out on the Jedi. The Vader persona is thinking "The Jedi tried to kill the Chancellor and take over the republic. They are traitors, enemies". All true from a certain point of view. Vader needs this constant rationalization to justify his existence, his lust for power, and he has it in abundance. He is not a criminal, he is not evil. He is bringing an end to the war, he is restoring peace and justice. When he arrives at the temple he wants to kill them, just like he has wanted to destroy the armies of the Seperatists when they were threats. When he gets to the younglings there is still an aspect of him who hesitates. He doesn't go in with glee or basking in the dark side with yellow eyes. He is thinking to himself "If they escape they will grow up to be threats to the Republic". The dark side overrides any compassion he would normally have. He is doing a necessary thing for the public good. Not the first time this justification have been used in history.
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