The real reason Star Wars III is the worst of the bunch.
Forget for a moment that the prequels are like a three-part seminar on dialogue clichés, and that they were increasingly hostile to the notion of continuity. The real problem is that George Lucas accessorized the hell out of his Empire (literally and figuratively) and destroyed its mythological framework through neglect. Without the structure of humanity’s timeless therapeutic stories to guide him, the characters were rendered flat and the plot inconsequential. I’m supposed to believe that a boy’s fear of losing his wife to childbirth is enough to turn him to the Dark Side, but that a woman’s love for her soon-to-be-born children isn’t enough to give her the will-to-live? I'm referring to the most appalling plot qualification in any movie I’ve ever seen, and the reason I think Revenge of the Sith is the worst of the six Star Wars movies. The following piece of dialogue is a perfect microcosm of the infuriating failure of these prequels.
MEDICAL DROID: Medically, she is completely healthy. For reasons we can't explain, we are losing her.
OBI-WAN: She's dying?
MEDICAL DROID: We don't know why. She has lost the will to live. We need to operate quickly if we are to save the babies.
If I’m following correctly, the fact that her husband has turned to the Dark Side has robbed her of the “will to live”, and for some reason, the fact that she has children on the way doesn’t play into this desire-to-live at all. Does anyone see anything wrong with this?
All Lucas had to do to make this film work was to make it about sacrifice. He could have turned Vader into an inverted hero like Milton’s Satan, used his misguided heroism as a means to some kind of greater redemption. He could have—gasp—made a female character the real protagonist and have Padmé’s death serve as a chosen and necessary event for the birth of the twins. But speculating at this stage is pointless and a little painful. What actually happened is that George Lucas chose to rob the only female heroine of her agency (and maternal drive) in an embarrassing display of paternalistic ignorance, and to reduce one of the greatest movie villains of all time to the status of blubbering wimp. Talk about your tragedies. Nooooooooooooooooooo!