Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones picks up ten years after the events of the last movie. Anakin (Hayden Christiensen) is now a young adult, well versed in the power of the force, returning to meet Padmé (Natalie Portman) for the first time in years. Joining him is his master, Obi-Wan (Ewan McGregor). But when a bounty hunter is sent to kill Padmé, Anakin is assigned to protect her, and the two of them venture off to a safe planet not too far away, and it's here that their forbidden love blossoms. Meanwhile, Obi-Wan is sent to investigate Jango Fett (Temuera Morrison), a bounty hunter they believe may be behind the attack. It's here that Obi-Wan discovers that Jango has been manufacturing an army of potentially dangerous clones who are waiting around for orders to attack.
While The Phantom Menace had the acting capabilities of Liam Neeson, Attack of the Clones does not. Aside from McGregor, one of the only two actors who comes close to being decent is Samuel L. Jackson, yet he doesn't do a damn thing in this movie. He's a walking plot device, merely inserted into the film to allow other characters to mention important aspects of the plot, particularly that of Yoda (Frank Oz) and Obi-Wan. And while the story of how Samuel L. Jackson got a purple lightsaber is quite hilarious in interviews, in the film it just makes no sense, completely contradicting the lore set up in the original trilogy.
Much like The Phantom Menace, the plot in Attack of the Clones is not a very intricate one, nor a very good one. The film is a big set up for it's CGI finale, which I will get into in just a moment. Throughout the original trilogy, we hear of the clone wars. Obi-Wan mentions that he fought in it, alongside the man who will eventually become Darth Vader, which we all know to be Anakin Skywalker. Attack of the Clones is two hours of build up, ending with the start of the actual war. It's George Lucas slowly telling the origin of Vader over the course of three movies, and once the war starts, you know shit's going to hit the fan pretty soon. You can sense that Vader is just around the corner.
Their love story feels forced, their love never really being felt. You can never see the connection that they have. They just look uncomfortable for the entirety of the film, their dialogue even more cringe worthy than it was in the first film. The Han and Leia love story worked well in the original trilogy, but that's because it felt natural and wasn't the main plot of that trilogy. In Attack of the Clones, it's pretty much the central plot. There's a stupid "Jedi shall not know love" rule that is for some reason implemented and it's just dumb. Jedi could love in the original films, but in the prequels? Cock blocked.
In Attack of the Clones, Bobba Fett is the son of Jango Fett, the previously mentioned bounty hunter who Obi-Wan is investigating. It's here that we get to meet the young Bobba for the first time, and he doesn't make the best first impression. We really didn't need to see the origins of Bobba Fett in this movie, yet George Lucas for some reason wanted everything in the prequels to tie into the original films. I didn't really need to know where this iconic character came from. The fact that we knew so little about him just made him a much cooler character, and now we know his beginnings. Now we know he's doing this for vengeance, and for me, it just took away from the character a little bit. That being said, the shot of Bobba Fett picking up his dad's severed head is still a really cool shot and I love George Lucas for crafting that.
As for the subtitle, Attack of the Clones, surely this means we're in for some attacking of clones, correct? NOPE. Both 'Star Wars' and 'Attack of the Clones' are misleading because this film lacks all of that. It's not until the final fifteen or so minutes that any attacking takes place, and the battle doesn't make that much of an impact. Padmé, Anakin and Obi-Wan have all got themselves captured and are forced to battle it out against a trio of blood thirsty creatures. This scene, I'll admit, is quite a bit of fun. The dialogue is awful, but the situation is just what you'd want in a Star Wars movie. It's adventurous and thrilling. If only the rest of the trilogy was as well.
To sum up, Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones is a small step up over The Phantom Menace, but that being said, the film itself is still mediocre, the dialogue unbearable and the performances mostly atrocious. It's a Star Wars film that lacks both stars and wars.