Good example of the Mandarin first off. Messed up character, but solid performance. But are you being fair to Hayden to compare him to Ben Kingsley?
And fact of the matter is, when we didn't know he was a joke, and he WAS the Mandarin we thought we were getting, those scenes are impressive. The writing was solid, the tone was set. He was ominous, evil, you were soaking in what he "might" be. Ben just fed off that. Once he became a Third Stooge, then he just acted like he was another character in another movie essentially. Good for Ben, that's not what Hayden was allowed.
For Sith (and Clones/Phantom) I'm not using the books as a guide for what I expected. I go only off Episode IV. Ben and Luke talking in Ben's cave. Anakin was betrayed by Darth Vader, and Vader hunted down and destroyed the Jedi. Later we find out Anakin IS Vader. We hear about Clone Wars, and Ben fought in them. Just from the OG movies, that's what we know, grew up knowing actually.
Is that what we got? **** no. Anakin comes into Sith a hero. A Jedi hero. He wants to be with his wife, have a baby, save innocent lives, etc etc. 20 minutes later, he's slaughtering ******g kids.
I can't ever sit in a room with Lucas, I would freaking beat him senseless. One of the greatest story arcs ever conceived, that's what he gave us.
It gets better. Samuel L Jackson, tremendous Jedi Master. Truly great. Finds out a Sith is running the galaxy. Needs to stop him. Has an entire clone army, and hundreds of Jedi under his thumb. Shows up to face said Sith with 3 random Jedi.
Those 3 were dead in seven seconds.
********. All of it. Failure on George's part to live up to the story he himself created in ep IV. For that, Hayden and everyone else really were already way too far behind the 8 ball. As I pointed out, he ruined Liam Neeson. He muted Ewan McGregor. Natalie Portman was meh. Samuel L. How can you hold Hayden accountable for not stepping up if THOSE actors were lost under George's garbage? That ain't on Hayden man.
As I said, Shattered Glass showed me he can do work with the right material. Watch that movie, you couldn't convince me he wasn't that man in real life. He portrayed a real person brilliantly. Stuttering, stammering, whimpering, weak, frail, he was everything in that film. He nailed it. But it was well written. Clones and Sith were not close.
What I was talking about about what we COULD have seen, or should have been given, isn't from the books. Just the originals and what they mention thru that trilogy. We should have started with Phantom being about a new Darth Maul character (easily the best thing George did in the prequels) and had Anakin be 18 or so, ala Luke, and already know Ben, Yoda, etc. Introduce Padme/Amidala, and go forth. Show Anakin teetering on good v bad. Things that show you what's to come.
Clones should have been Anakin already wavering, being seduced, an issue with his girl, separated, turns to Vader, and attack the Jedi we go. Clone Wars have begun.
Sith comes thru with Vader hunting down and killing Jedi after Jedi, twins are born, hidden, Yoda and Ben go off into hiding.
That story, the way it should have been done, would have been epic. Truly, epic. George went for kids. When all the kids already loved an older Luke. An older, cooler Han. And most importantly, they loved Vader. Yet he went little boy on us.
Jesus, the two most powerful Sith, fought each Jedi, Yoda, and Ben, and they were the two that survived.
What kinda ****** ******** is that? The only ones that succeeded were the mindless Clone stormtroopers, they slaughtered Jedi after Jedi within 10 minutes. ****.
The scenes you showed were tough. But no way to "act" those into being better. The dialogue sucked. The best scenes, the ones that were perfect, were when he went to kill the Viceroys and used nothing but an evil look to show you what was happening to him. Introduce Padme, and he falls apart, cuz that's the substance he's given. Hell, VADER sucked when he asks, "where's....Padme?" And then shouts Noooooooooooooo, man, Darth Vader looked like a damn fool.
James Earl Jones couldn't save that ****.
If you ever find Shattered Glass, let me know. Certainly in the next few months, leaks will begin dropping, teasers, castings, etc. We'll have a ton of time to revist all the mistakes. Hayden will never be seen as a young DeNiro, no doubt, but I can't blame him for anything that went wrong in the prequels.