It is well known that later this year JJ Abrams will begin shooting the first of a trilogy of new Star Wars movies, and while plot details are of course under wraps, the anticipation made me return to George Lucas's prequel trilogy and specifically their conclusion with 2005's Episode III: Revenge of the Sith.

In 1977 George Lucas redefined cinematic expectation with his first entry of the series, following it up with The Empire Strikes Back (1980) and concluding the original trilogy with Return of the Jedi (1980). The directing duties were handed out to Irvin Kershner and Richard Marquand, with Lucas deferring script writing to Lawrence Kasdan, Leigh Brackett and Kasdan to complete his story. The original trilogy transcended cinema and was taken into the hearts of popular culture, therefore it was met with much anticipation when Lucas announced he would return to the world of Star Wars with his prequel trilogy in which he would explain how the series antagonist, Darth Vader, went from Jedi to agent of the 'dark side'.

The first two prequels The Phantom Menace (1999) and Attack of the Clones (2002) were met with widespread derision as Ewan McGregor, Natalie Portman and Hayden Christensen found it difficult to act against Lucas' obsession with digital effects and poorly rendered dialogue, and some profoundly strange racial profiling (yes, Jar Jar Binks I am talking about you). However I would like to suggest that the final entry in the prequel trilogy is actually one of the best of the series - containing thematic elements that are beautifully realised.

Lucas is a director who has no concern with the expectations of his fan base. He has altered his original trilogy many times and has never seemed bothered by the subjective desires of his fan base. While the original trilogy was based around the audience's connection to Han Solo, Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia and of course Darth Vader (which sustained them through nearly seven hours of cinema), for his prequels Lucas chose to envelope himself in the political and theological concerns of the modern myth he had created. Instead of the fun and frolics of the original movies, what is prevalent in the prequel trilogy are trade disputes, the nature of the Jedi and the destruction of a galactic republic as it falls into despotism. At the end of F Scott Fitzgerald's novel 'The Great Gatsby' he describes 'the dark fields of republic' as something that the central character and American society cannot grasp. It is ironic then that when George Lucas picks up a long standing American concern with the nature of political rule and its context - even when he invokes the spirit of Benjamin Franklin's quote when asked which America Franklin has bequeathed to the people ("a Republic....if you can keep it") - Lucas was lambasted for it. In his final Star Wars movie we also witness the collision between old religious ideals with the Jedi and how the capillaries of religion fit inside political systems. At the time 'Sith' was released US President George Bush was in power and he invoked religious morality when engaging a republic in a war. It is quite telling then that a mainstream Hollywood Science fiction move placed historic and modern American concerns at its centre. Also as we now read of 'separatists' daily in regard to the current crisis in the Ukraine, so I ask is Lucas so out of touch with modern culture in a movie about Jedi and space ships?.

Also what I love about Revenge of the Sith is the way it portrays the movement of Anakin Skywalker from good to evil. He is a character who is let down by the Jedi as they teach a dogmatically didactic and emotionally redundant mantra to him. He is told by the iconic Yoda to let go of everything he fears to lose, he is also taught that romantic love is not something to strive towards.

Anakin is confused by his own naïve nature and the lack of catharsis he has experienced for the suppressed anger in his psyche at the death of his mother. His main fear is the death of the woman he loves in Padme and ultimately this obsession leads him toward the almost Shakespearean like evil of Darth Sidious (played with glee by the stage actor Ian McDiarmid). Now people who detest these prequels usually point toward the dismal performance of Hayden Christensen as Anakin Skywalker. I would also disagree with this. The scene where he cries after committing horrifying acts of violence as his new namesake Darth Vader and as he ponders his next move prior to his cashiering are stunning. Christensen shows some depth here and presents his antagonist as a more morally ambiguous character than the man behind the mask of the '70s and '80s. Lucas even describes the 'tragedy of Darth Plagueis the wise' in the story and it has a resonance for this story in the tragic composition of this story as the tragedy of Darth Vader. When juxtaposed with the featuring of the Shakespearean actor in Ian McDiarmid it is a wonderfully operatic piece of storytelling that is featured here. What Lucas also manages to do is to paint some ambiguity towards the nature and perceptions of the heroes of his entire trilogy: The Jedi. Yes they are good but clearly Darth Vader is as much their creation as he is the creation of the dark side and the 'Sith'.

Also while the dialogue is risible at times, it is still in keeping with the wanton desire Lucas has for his stories to appeal to children. Revisit the original trilogy and you will still see some of the flaws that are apparent in the dialogue of this movie. The score from John Williams is wonderful and the set pieces with sword fighting are truly iconic and will take some beating in the new trilogy. Natalie Portman and Ewan McGregor do as much with their roles as Lucas's script allows and she would later return to blockbuster action with Marvel's Thor (2011).

Now. I am not suggesting that Revenge of the Sith is a masterpiece but it is a stunning addition to the Star Wars cannon that understands its own contextual mythology and is perhaps similar to JRR Tolkien's contextual concerns about industrialisation and militarism which framed the Lord of the Rings novellas. While not always successful I would argue that Sith deserves to be given a second chance as the second best movie of this narrative after The Empire Strikes Back. I may court controversy here but I loved Lucas's final entry into the franchise.