So, unlike most of the rest of the world, I actually like the Star Wars prequels. I also sort of think much of the hate they get was inevitable, that being a later set, there was nothing that could have been in them that anyone would have liked. It’s also sort of the “cool” thing to say they’re bad.
Very common complaint was that the famous villain-turned-good Darth Vader, known well already as some badass in a big black robot suit, appears as not only human but… an emotional being! And… young! Especially in The Phantom Menace, because – oh noes! – he’s a child! And the presence of children offends people.
Okay, so, aside from the horrifying realization that Darth Vader was ever young, there’s also that he was a good guy and human. That he spent all of Attack of the Clones and the first part of Revenge of the Sith stupidly in love with Padme. And with it came the cheesy dialogue. Even after he turned evil, still with the cheesy dialogue. And he was whiny and demanding.
That’s all true. But here’s what gets conveniently ignored and forgotten… All six movies have cheesy dialogue, from all characters!
Also, Anakin was whiny and demanding? Alright, let’s play a little game. Imagine all of pre-Dark Side Anakin’s dialogue being said by Darth Vader, with James Earl Jones’s voice. And vice versa: imagine all of Darth Vader’s original trilogy dialogue being said by pre-Dark Side Anakin Skywalker, by Hayden Christensen.
Funny, I’m sure which one sounds whiny and demanding is a little less clear now. Original trilogy Darth Vader is in that big dark mechanical suit and much older, so of course his dialogue will be construed as menacing and badass, while that of young human Anakin, even if the same damn words, will be construed as some spoiled brat whining about something.
In the original trilogy, yes, Darth Vader is still demanding. Much of that owing to him being, you know, evil. And the evil guy in charge. And he’s even still whiny. It just doesn’t seem so since the whininess is usually accompanied by a choking.