Ok, so this goes against what I've thought and written before, but here's the deal. While the love story was not overly great, my main gripe with Anakin was that I didn't like him all that much.
He was a kid with a good heart, but...
- He ended up rather selfish.
- He was tragically afraid of losing the people he loved.
- He whined.
- He complained.
- He was unsure of himself, in spite of being arrogant.
- He was power hungry, jealous, and kind of a brat.
Such a character really makes since, being that I already knew that he succumbed to the Dark Side and became evil, murderous, kill all the Jedi guy. I should not have been surprised that, while not initially or even intentionally evil, Anakin was rather less likable and less heroic than I wanted him to be. It's as though I wanted Anakin to be a great and heroic person, without obvious character flaws, who rather accidentally succumbed to the dark side. I feel like I wanted it to overtake him by his curiously reaching his hand into a pool of dark side and getting sucked in - as though it wasn't his fault.
Such a view of Anakin was never very realistic.
Anakin as made by George Lucas was less likable and possibly more frightening. Perhaps by making him an obviously flawed character, Lucas made a character who exposed my own flaws, faults, and culpability in things I have done wrong. Lucas' Anakin didn't let anyone off the hook for our own bad choices by showing them to be accidents. Anakin, and we are all culpable for our poor choices.
That also makes the grace given to Anakin by Luke all the better. Grace wasn't given to a great man who became bad accidentally. Grace was given to a flawed man who chose to become bad (and knew he was doing so on the inside but had enough internal dialogue to justify it). Luke gave Darth Vader true, unearned grace. Luke loved his dad, despite his dad becoming Darth Vader.
Grace then, for us too, is not given to us because we are great people who do bad things on accident. Grace is given to all of us flawed and wonderful people who choose to do good and who choose to do bad. Despite the Vader in all of us, grace is given to us because we are loved.