Nute Gunray. You'd Expect: The guy who is running a Trade Federation consisting of what would be the equivalent of hundreds of billions of credits of equipment, fleets, robots and manpower wouldn't blindly follow the orders of a hologram of a man he's never met or even seen the face of. Even if he knew Palpatine as behind it all, Palpatine couldn't give him any favors considering his position. Instead: Not only does he do so, but he continues to be involved in a losing effort in a role that just screams expendable fall guy.
Nute Gunray has Queen Amidala under his control, and sends her off to be processed someplace called Camp Four. You'd Expect: Gunray to give Amidala a large and elite escort. Preferably one with Destroyer Droids, since the first time we saw them in action, they were able to fight two Jedi to a stalemate. Instead: He sends her with a few droids who are outnumbered by their prisoners two to one (what?!) despite knowing that there are two Jedi in the area, unaccounted for and looking for the queen. (WHAT?!) Guess what happens.
Jango Fett instructs an assassin to kill Padmé Amidala, using a flying droid that can drill a hole in her bedroom window. This comes after they nearly killed her at the start of the film with explosives and neither of them know that Palpatine wants her in danger but alive so he can use her to manipulate Anakin. You'd Expect: This droid would fire a bomb into Padmé's room, then self-destruct to eliminate any connection to the assassin. There's no need for subtlety: everyone knows that somebody wants Padme dead due to an earlier assassination attempt. Instead: Jango gives the assassin a couple of venomous creatures to place in Padmé's room; they linger there long enough for Obi-Wan and Anakin to sense them and kill them. The droid then flies back to the assassin, giving the Jedi a lead. Lampshaded thoroughly in thisDarths & Droids strip.
Yoda is duelling with Count Dooku. Realising that he might not win this fight, Dooku decides to flee, and uses the force to cause a giant metal cylinder thing to fall towards the wounded Anakin and Obi-Wan, in the hope of distracting Yoda. You'd Expect: Yoda to use the force to quickly pull/push Anakin and Obi-Wan out of the way of the metal, before turning his attention back to Dooku. Instead: He grabs the metal thing, moves it so it's not above Anakin and Obi-Wan, before dropping it. It takes him several seconds to do this, and as a result, Dooku is able to escape. Cue the Clone Wars.
In one of the worst Strangled by the Red String moments in recent memory (also pointed out by Red Letter Media), Anakin and Padme's interactions throughout the film. From the moment he meets her as an adult, Anakin comes off as very unprofessional and creepy. He makes inappropriate and arrogant remarks whenever he's around her, openly defies her authority on at least one occasion, makes bizarre, leering gestures towards her, and attempts to justify his massacre of the Sand People - including women and children - to her (with her reaction making it look like she's incredibly freaked out by this revelation). You'd Expect: That, after all that, she'd politely cut off ties from him after the threat is over and avoid him as much as possible, seeing as he's already proven multiple times over that his actions are incredibly inappropriate. Instead: She not only flirts with him by wearing revealing clothing (and toys with him by saying that she can't love him because she's a senator), but she marries him at the end of the film!
Palpatine uses his political clout to give Anakin a position on the Jedi Council. The Jedi reluctantly accept, but tell Anakin that he will not be made a Jedi Master. You'd Expect: Anakin to understand that since he didn't earn the Master rank, which is generally a requirement to be on the council, he's not going to be given it just because his friend pulled some strings to put him on the council. Instead: He doesn't understand. He gets offended instead, saying that it's unfair for him not to be granted a title he hasn't properly earned.
Anakin goes to see Master Yoda after having a terrible dream (possibly a premonition) about Padme suffering and dying. You'd Expect: that the wise and compassionate Master Yoda would explain the nature of self-fulfilling prophecies and recommend that Anakin not go to dangerous extremes even to do something so noble as save the people he cares about. At the very least, he would say something to placate him. Something like, "Always in motion is the future. Do not be reckless." Instead: Yoda quite callously tells Anakin to let go of everything he loves, never mourning their loss or even missing them. As a result, Anakin stops listening to the Jedi and starts listening to Palpatine.
Speaking of the above dream, that Padme will for an unknown reason, die in childbirth, Anakin is convinced that it will come true unless he does something about it. Understandable, due to him once having a similar dream about his mother, who did die. You'd Expect: That Anakin would ensure that there's no chance of Padme dying, using methods he should know and understand. He could try and convince Padme to have an extensive medical check, in case the cause of death is a pre-existing condition they don't know about. He could also arrange to have her give birth and recover from it in secret, if he thinks someone will try to assassinate her when she's having the kid. Instead: He decides to join up with a Sith Lord, who claims that the Sith have the ability to save people from dying, and that if he follows his orders, which at a very early point include MURDERING CHILDREN, Padme will be saved. And Anakin remains convinced of this throughout and never asks himself what any of this has to do with saving Padme.
Palpatine keeps acting and behaving suspiciously around Anakin, like knowing things about things like the Sith that he shouldn't, prompting Anakin to kill defenseless captives, suggesting he abandon Obi-Wan needlessly to his death and making broad comments about how the Sith were able to prevent people from dying. You'd Expect: Anakin to take a hint. Instead: Palpatine does everything but scream in Anakin's ear "I'M A SITH LORD!" before tricking him - not seducing him, but tricking him - into following the Dark Path, to the point where Anakin does everything including killing young children. And then Palpatine tells him more and less that he lied about bringing keeping people from dying and utters some bullshit about "finding out together" how to do it. You'd Then Expect: Anakin to take the time to either gut Palpatine like a fish or return to the Jedi Council and admit his mistake. Instead: Anakin continues to do Palpatine's business for him and tries to murder Obi-Wan, despite everything Palpatine told him was a blatant lie.
Near the end of Revenge Gunray and other separatists are hiding on a distant planet. Their mysterious... ally?... master?... employer?... benefactor? (seriously, what were their relations with Sidious?) ...contacts Gunray and promises to send his apprentice to them, who will "... take care of them." You'd Expect: Gunray to thank Sidious, end the communication and immediatelyget the hell out from there. You'd have to be Too Dumb to Live not to pick up on that hint. Instead: They just sit on their asses until Vader arrives and... well, takes care of them.
Obi-Wan discovers that Anakin has turned to The Dark Side, fights him and ends with having him without legs and one hand, burning, and sliding into a river of lava. He senses that the Emperor approaches and has no time to climb down the slope to finish Anakin off. You'd think: That he'd hurl a light saber at him or Force push him into lava, thus granting him a quick death. Instead: He leaves him to a painful death. And has to deal with the consequences.
Anikin has been tricked into destroying the entire Jedi order (save Obi Wan and Yoda), and pretty much everything and everyone who was dear to him, and is now offically in the Vadar suit after a close encounter with a river of lava. It's also painfully obvious that Palpatine did not honor his end of the bargian with regards to Padme. You'd Think: That he would be super pissed and immediately take his rightful revenge on that rotten, scheming bastard. Instead: He falls into complete despair and yells"Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!".
Vader and the crew of his Star Destroyer have captured the Rebel Blockade Runner with Princess Leia and the stolen Death Star plans aboard. An imperial gunner and his commanding officer detect a jettisoned escape pod with no life readings aboard. You'd Think: They'd blast the pod just to be on the safe side, or at least have it tractor-beamed into an empty cargo bay and send in some Stormtroopers to check it. After all, data is not alive. Leia could have tossed the plans inside and jettisoned it for the Rebels to find later. Or there might be droids aboard! (Imagine that.) Instead: The officer orders the gunner to just let it go.
Admiral Motti boasts that the Death Star with its giant, planet-killing laser cannon is "the ultimate power in the universe." Vader admonishes the Admiral for such hubris by saying "the power to destroy a planet is insignificant next to the power of the Force." You'd Expect: Motti would smile and nod and avoid saying anything at this juncture that might piss off the Dark Lord of the Sith. Instead: He kicks things off by insulting Vader and his religion right in front of everyone in that meeting room. That alone was highly uncalled for and would very likely get you fired in real life. As if he hasn't already committed an act of monumental douchebaggery at this point, he then insinuates that Vader is incompetent because he has yet to "conjure up the stolen data tapes or find the Rebels' hidden fortress." He's only saved from being telekinetically strangled to death when Grand Moff Tarkin orders Vader to stop.
Han acts like a child around Leia, insisting that she's in love with him and uses childish name-calling to try to get her to admit that she likes him. Not only that, but he repeatedly gets into her personal space and refuses to back off when she says "Let go" and "Stop that." You'd Expect: Leia would would tell him to piss off — that any man who clearly doesn't respect her and insists on touching her when she has specifically told him NOT to is not worth the time of day. Instead: She falls in love with him, seemingly won over by his petulant name-calling and "yes means no" attitude. Because when a woman tells you to stop, what she really wants is for you to be more aggressive and insistent.