Episode II begins ten whole years after the events of The Phantom Menace. In that time Obi-Wan has grown a beard, Padme hasn’t aged much at all somehow since helping to liberate Naboo, Anakin has regenerated into Hayden Christensen (much to everyone’s dismay), and Master Yoda has achieved a level of fully-fledged CGI.
The actual plot sees things get somewhat more political and subsequently much more entangled than ever before, with George Lucas making the viewers reach the brilliant scenes by first wading through all of the painfully boring ones.
Following what is by far the most interesting strand of this story Obi-Wan’s quest leads him to uncover that a Sith Lord may be responsible for Padme’s failed assassination attempt and that this Sith Lord is also manipulating several key political decisions of the Galactic Senate in secret. Obi-Wan finds Count Dooku at the heart of this web, a former Jedi Master and leader of a faction of anarchists called the Seperatists (the same who invaded Naboo ten years prior). Dooku intends to launch an attack against the Republic through use of his new droid army. He takes Obi-Wan prisoner on the barren world of Geonosis, even attempting to turn the loyal Jedi to his cause.
On the whole, Episode II is a dreary and often boring entry in this saga (running at 142 minutes, making it the longest of all six films) which ends with one of the most awesome and action-packed sequences of ass-kicking that the galaxy has ever seen. If the film has proved anything, it’s that George Lucas should stick to scripting Jedi battles and lay off the badly-worded romantic stuff.
… And also that if there’s one thing worse than Darth Vader as a kid, it’s Darth Vader as an early twenty-something (and played by Hayden Christensen).