The overall sense of the reviews collected at RottenTomatoes is that Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith is the best of the three prequels, with more action, drama, and character development, and fewer soap opera meanderings. Two blurbs from Los Angeles newspaper critics capture the overall sentiment:
“Revenge of the Sith is the most energetic of the prequels, the only one at all worth watching. But that doesn’t mean it is without the weaknesses that scuttled its pair of predecessors.”
— Kenneth Turan, LOS ANGELES TIMES
“We are all preprogrammed in one way or another to want Episode III — Revenge of the Sith to climax in the way it does. All George had to do was not screw that up. He didn’t.”
— Bob Strauss, LOS ANGELES DAILY NEWS
RottenTomatoes calculates Episode III at 84% on the critics Tomatometer (percentage of reviews recommending the film), which surpasses the scores of Episode I (62%) and II (65%). For comparison, the original Star Wars ranked a 93%, Empire Strikes Back was a stellar 98%, and Return of the Jedi a mere 80%. These numbers suggest the Episode III actually surpasses Return of the Jedi, but my guess is that Return suffered in comparison to the first two movies while Revenge gets a few extra points by exceeding expectations.
UPDATE: A Small Victory is gathering blog posts on Revenge of the Sith, mentioning the above post and many others. Coyote Blog links to a funny spoof of Star Wars that teaches a very special lesson about organic farming.