Let’s get this out of the way: I like the prequels.
Many people think that The Phantom Menace was a letdown. I think it was great. (Although trading taxes are pretty boring.)
Ewan McGregor’s young Obi-Wan was simply amazing, especially next to Qui-Gon Jinn, one of the greatest Jedi ever due to Liam Neeson’s performance. Together, the two of them showed the world what it’s like to be a Jedi. Young Anakin Skywalker, the center of the story, was also great, though the performance was questionable. Padme was well done, too.
The villains are as good as the heroes. Darth Maul is a formidable enemy, as the final duel shows. I agree with many people in that he shouldn’t have died so early, but I would rather not have seen him brought back as a cyborg in the Clone Wars.
And now for Jar Jar. I realize that I will lose a lot of fans for this, but here it is: Jar-Jar Binks is not bad. He’s annoying and funny, but he does not deserve the hate he gets. Although a certain theory suggesting he’s a Sith is pretty awesome.