Nostalgia counts for a lot, but sometimes it's not enough to save our most sacred icons from showing their age. Even the most dedicated Star Wars fans have noticed a few flaws from the original movies that go beyond vintage charm and into the realm of outdated or just plain silly. The characters aren't spared this scrutiny, especially the ones that we love and fear the most. Darth Vader, one of our most feared and terrifying villains, sure doesn't get the same reactions that he once did. When you sit down to enjoy some vintage Star Wars, this is the stuff you never even noticed as a kid from a long time ago that will make you cringe today. Here are ten of the ways you'll notice Darth Vader hasn't aged very well.
10 That Voice
When it was just a deep, ominous voice without a face, it had a lot more impact. Now everyone knows that it's James Earl Jones. Darth Vader is scary, but the King of Zamunda or that pacifist hippie writer from Field of Dreams? Not so much. And now Princess, we will discuss the location of your hidden rebel base...so Shoeless Joe Jackson can play baseball again! Now that we know about the face behind the dark mask, it just doesn't have the same effect as it once did.
9 Those Clothes
Luke and Leia have a lot to answer for here, too, let's be honest. Who thought of this simplistic black and white color scheme? It must have been a bad writer trying to compensate for his lack of talent by making the costumes painfully simplistic. What's with this cape? We can't have a villain without a cape? In the 1970s it was reminiscent of old school monsters like Dracula, but now it makes Darth look like a stunt double from the set of The Phantom of the Opera.
8 An Absentee Father
I guess we could say better late than never, but Anakin still did pretty poorly in this department. We're less tolerant of him now that we would have been in the early 1980s, that's for sure. Back then it was more socially acceptable for a man to prioritize his work above his kids, so much so it was a popular movie and TV trope. Star Wars sure wasn't the first film to tackle the issue, even if it happened in a roundabout way, so kudos for that much.
7 Poor People Skills
Have you noticed today's more fashionable villain is always more on the charismatic side? Slick characters like Loki from the Marvel movies or Q from the Star Trek franchise come to mind. Darth Vader, on the other hand, isn't exactly a "people person." We know working with the Empire isn't for the faint of heart, but maybe choking people in the Monday morning breakfast meeting is a bit ham-fisted. Today's audience would be waiting for the undead minions to pop up, or maybe some kind of sophisticated spellcasting action.
6 "More Machine Than Man"
A few lights on a plastic console and padded plastic might have cut it in 1978 to make someone look like a robot. Now that we've seen the Borg, several Terminator films, and a Ghost in the Shell live-action movie, this is a much harder sell. And this doesn't sell. Darth Vader doesn't look like he's fighting for his humanity, he looks like he's wearing a snowsuit lined with garbage bags. Well, Obi Wan turned out to be a liar anyway.
5 Protected by Plot Armor
It was cool at the time, but these days only good guys are allowed to survive because they're essential to the plot. Darth Vader's convenient little field trip left him alive to fight another day because he has to appear in the next two movies. This is also connected to the deadly little exhaust port that can explode the whole Death Star. This famous plot-hole (pardon the pun!) had a whole movie made up to explain it. When do we get a movie as to why Darth Vader decided to take that lucky joyride?
4 The Swordfights
You're not going to see a lot of wire tricks or Jackie Chan style martial arts stunts with the Darth Vader fights, and that's the problem. For almost 40 years since the original trilogy came out, some extremely talented martial artists and stuntpeople have been pushing the limits of film, choreography, and the human body itself. Darth Vader never had to slow down because he was too fast for the camera to record him. Maybe he should ask Jackie Chan what it's like. The fight choreography in the original Star Wars was even rudimentary back in the day, just imagine how it looks now.
3 His Force Powers
It's not just that his own kid owned him and he only survived the encounter because of his boss' big mouth. Darth Vader might have been a big deal in the first few decades of Star Wars, but how many other force users in the same franchise could levitate him into oblivion these days? Ever see Darth Vader lift an X-wing out of a swamp? Or grab a laser blast in mid-air? He can't even throw lightening. Then there are all the other epic franchises out there. In a world where we now do battle with the Umbrella Corporation and Queen Sylvanus Windrunner, a force-choke and a flying credenza aren't very scary.
Not just for using it on Solo, either. It seems like Darth Vader went through a phase where he wanted to put everything in Carbonite. He had a chamber planned for Luke, too. Is this really an efficient way to transport a prisoner? You've basically turned them into a massive brick. You might as well just knock them out and carry them over your shoulder. This was neat before we saw crazy stuff like the pods from The Matrix. Now it's low tech and just doesn't make sense.
1 No Staff Diversity
We're not sure if Darth is the guy in charge of staffing, but he's pretty high up there in the leadership ladder, so can't he do something about recruitment? And wanting to hire your own son sure shouldn't count. The Rebel Alliance is a pretty diverse group, but the Empire is pretty much just a bunch of old white guys. It looks like the Empire doesn't hire women or non-humans. Just men, and for the most part, old men. How do they even have an army? With Darth choking the people that they do have, I'm surprised they could fill the chairs in that meeting.