1. Luke's Actor
Here I was at the end of Episode III thinking that Anakin's son was going to be as epic as ever. Yet, it turns out that he's actually as whiny as ever. "I was going to go to Toshi station for power converters!" Who ever acts like that when they're being held back by their uncle and believe that they're never going to leave home? That's terrible acting!
Then there's his reaction to when he finds out that (spoiler alert) Darth Vader is his father. He just got his hand cut off, and then he found out that his arch nemesis, the man indirectly responsible for the death of his family and directly responsible for the death of his mentor, Obi-Wan Kenobi. He should have brought a ton of gravitas to his reaction in that moment, but instead he suffered a breakdown. How lame is that?
They should have brought a real actor to that role, like Jack Nicholson. Jack Nicholson is a three-time academy award winner, twelve-tie nominee, and clearly the best actor out there. He's clearly incapable of ever slipping into a silly role. Mark Hamill's portrayal of Luke Skywalker reminds me of the type of performance that would go into romantic comedy. You know who else starred in a romantic comedy? Heath Ledger, in 10 Things I Hate About You. I'd put these two actors in the same category. Clearly, neither of them can act and they should not have moved on to other things after their respective "breakout" films.
2. Darth Vader
Here I was at the end of Episode III thinking that Anakin's new persona as Darth Vader was going to be as epic as ever. Yet, you look at him. Just look at him. Even worse, listen to him. Did you hear him in Episode IV? He had that awesome new look going for him, and apparently nineteen years later he's still a hot-tempered, whiny brat. "I want them alive!"
Then he constantly deals with his fellow officers by choking them whenever they annoy him. How juvenile. It takes until he learns that Luke is his son that he finally sobers up and grows back those nineteen years in just a few seconds.
3. The Death Star
All that dramatic build-up to the Death Star in the first several films, and it was blown up just like that. Also, its weakness was lame. It seriously had a vent like that, and of all the ships it had, Grand Moff Tarkin seriously didn't consider sending out more of them to wipe out the small, last-ditch attempt from the rebels to exploit this weakness.
What's more, after it was destroyed it turned out that the emperor conveniently had another one of these ultimate weapons. Why didn't they find something else to drive the plot of the fourth movie and wait until the end to bring up the Death Star?
4. "Only Imperial Stormtroopers are so precise."
These are clones of Jango Fett. They're human perfection. They are the perfect supersoldiers. So, naturally, they never hit anyone in the entire trilogy. Come on guys, you're chasing down a Wookie in a narrow hallway. How hard can that be?
Alright, alright, so they're not all clones anymore and the majority are human recruits. In the Expanded Universe, the clones hate the recruits and consider them all lame and mute. They're still considered the empire's elite force. These are space marines we're talking about. There's still no excuse for them to be so incompetent.
On another note, they wear all that armor and apparently a single shot kills them. They can't even survive a small group of Ewoks.
5. Obi-Wan's Death
It was so anti-climactic for such an endearing character. The advantages of joining the Force were never really explained. If he was more powerful than Darth Vader could possibly imagine (and something tells me that, like Han Solo, Darth Vader can imagine quite a bit), then what exactly did he do that proved he was so powerful? Literally nothing that he couldn't already do while he was alive, except less. Why did he have to allow Darth Vader to kill him in order to distract him? Wasn't he distracting him already? How could Lucas have possibly thought this was a good idea?
Also, the way Darth Vader held the lightsaber when he confronted his old master was really shakey. He might want to check for arthritis in those mechanical hands. Those guys aged real fast for just nineteen years.
6. Cheap Characters
They had a five-man band. How unoriginal is that?
7. The Bikini
In the same movie, Princess Leia is not only revealed to be Luke's twin sister and Vader's daughter, but shortly beforehand she was a slave girl wearing a demeaning bikini. How in the world is that good taste? Not only does it devalue the later revelation that she's Luke's sister, but it's demeaning to the sweeping hordes of women fans in the Star Wars fanbase. It psychologically puts that expectation on women: "You'd better get used to it, because this is how you ought to be seen." It was cheap, it was wrong, and it was a completely shallow way of bringing in money. The first three movies never stooped so low!
8. Bad Romance
I simply couldn't watch the second film in the sequel trilogy because of that romance between Han and Leia. He was kind of a bully to her and a bit coercive. That's not romantic at all. Worst yet is when she says "I love you", and his supposedly romantic response is "I know". Who could possibly have thought that was a good idea? I simply could not watch those scenes with them in it. it was completely arbitrary, had nothing to do with the plot, and didn't truly conclude. By contrast, the original romance between Leia's parents was fundamental to the larger story and Anakin's character development.
I should also add that Harrison Ford is a terrible actor, and Han Solo is just a grumpy guy. George Lucas apparently thought that it was charming, though. How could he have possibly thought that was a good idea?
Carrie Fisher was also a terrible actress. Her mother was played by Natalie Portman, who not only proved herself as a child actor, but also went on to win Best Actress after her Star Wars tenure was over. Where do you see Carrie Fisher now, huh?
Also, whenever it wasn't the forced, bullied romance between Han and Leia, the latter was apparently interested in incest. It might not have been such a big deal if they were both ignorant, but in Episode VI they apparently "always knew". Gross!
9. Bad Dialogue
From "Only Imperial Stormtroopers are so precise" to "I know," the series is full of cheesy one-liners. Lucas, for the life of him, cannot write good dialogue. Let's just be grateful that we can't understand what Chewbacca was saying that entire time, because I doubt it would have sounded good at all.
Among other things, almost all of Vader's lines are stock dialogue. Then there's Darth Sideous. He had a major downgrade since his original appearance. Sure, he's emperor, but he lost all his dignity, and he's just some toad who croaks incredibly lame lines and has a penchant for the phrase "fully operational."
Even the good guys are infected. "Almost there...almost there..." And then Mon Motha says "Many Bothans died to get us this information." That sounds so lame the way she says it.
10. They lost the "used world" aesthetic
If you look at the first three films, you see penty examples of a rusty, dirty world underneath all of the nice hover-cars. Yet in the future, everything's so squeeky clean. Look at Cloud City! Loot at the inside of both the Death Stars! They ruined and trashed the aesthetic of the original films. How could Lucas have possibly that that was a good idea?
11. It was a cheap effects film that was only out for the money
George Lucas clearly wasn't interested in telling a good story and was more interested in milking off the success of his original films. So much about these films clearly were contrived for the purpose of bringing in eye candy. I found out after some research that he meant to bring in the Death Star only at the very end, but the producers made him bring it in earlier because the fourth one needed more action. Clearly, special effects and making money comes before making objectively good material.
These movies didn't need to be made. The third movie ended just fine, concluding with the story of Anakin Skywalker descending into the age-old class of the tragic hero. There was a tint of hope left, but that didn't really need to be exploited. It was thrown in there only as a sequel hook, but there was really no need for a sequel. What could have made George Lucas to think that this could possibly have been a good idea?
12. The plot was shallow
On the same note as the last observation, the plot was cheap and shallow. A farm boy meets a wise mentor and goes off to save the princess. The mentor dies once the hero discovers his group of same-age friends with whom he will share the rest of his adventures with, and he goes off and blows up the villains using his Mary Sue powers.
Alright, maybe it isn't so bad, because that's a classic formula, but sides were black and white. It was literally the "Light Side" and the "Dark Side". While Anakin had been expertly persuaded to enter the dark side due to incredible amount of moral ambiguity, everything was to crisp-cut in this film. Luke was a Big Blue Boyscout, and apparently his whininess was supposed to be a virtue. The good guys were good and the bad guys were bad, and it was as simple as that. Even Darth Vader, who had wonderfully complex reasons for joining the Dark Side, seemed one-dimensional in his reasons to be bad. All he had to say to his son was "Join the dark side because hatred feels good and it's clearly the most important thing in life. Clearly."
Apparently these movies were made for children. That's stupid. Star Wars shouldn't be for children! The first three movies explored mature themes, but apparently kids couldn't handle that, and all these films were PG. Since they have been kiddied down into family entertainment, they are objectively inferior.
13. A lack of interesting locations
The first three films had some fantastic locations. The next three had nothing but generic places that required no creativity: ice planet, swamp planets, cloud planet, forest planet...
We get the idea. Of course, it also had the Death Star and the carbon freezing chamber on Cloud City, which were the most innovative ideas, but otherwise, in terms of location, there was almost nothing there that we had never seen before. The first three films had some genuine fantasy. What's up, Lucas?
14. The scale of the war
With the Clone Wars, Lucas was willing to show just how big the Clone Wars were and demonstrated something on a galaxy-wide scale with huge, sweeping battles. The size of the galactic fleet powered down considerably since then. The size of the battles would have made sense if the rebels were everywhere and the empire had to disperse their troops, but the final battle at Endor showed just how few ships the empire truly had. Maybe there was a plot reason, but Lucas really needed to extrapolate on that. And this was for the climactic final battle? Come on!
15. The Lightsabers
Let's face it. Really, there's no way around this. One of the best things about Star Wars is the lightsaber. It is one of the single most iconic elements, and perhaps the coolest thing of the entire series. You take it away, and Star Wars isn't Star Wars anymore.
That's exactly what happened in the sequel trilogy. Sure, the lightsabers were still around, but the fights were boring. They didn't live up to the fights of the original three movies, which were pumped up with gravitas and great music. The fight with Darth Maul religious in its presence and ritualistic in its balletic style. It was a clash of pure good and evil. There were other classic fights. Anakin Skywalker fought Christopher Lee. The prowess of General Grievous was amazing. But almost nothing beats the simultaneous fights between Yoda and Sidious on the Senate floor and Kenobi and Skywalker on a lava planet. There was a certain gravitas to seeing two old sages of good and evil beat it out (and knowing that Yoda had actually let the Jedi order down) and two brothers who had parted ways for good.
The sequel trilogy finished off one of those fights, but it was anticlimactic. The only other thing it had was a fight between father and son, which it beat to death by doing twice. It literally had nothing more than that. It was just those three fights.
So there you have it, a list of why the sequel trilogy was a travesty to the first three and disgraced their continuity. This is why I hate the sequel films. How could George Lucas have possibly thought that was a good idea?