Wil Harrington ranks the Star Wars movies. Wow.
Greatest blog post ever written? To be determined I guess. Feeling good about it though. I love Star Wars and can therefore find things to love about even the weakest movies, shows, books, games, etc. I have decided to undertake the tough task of ranking the theatrical films.
Everyone that has seen the movies is going to like some more than others. They are tough for me to rank because I genuinely like them all. This could vary a bit for me from time to time because it is so close. Let’s start at the bottom:
#11: The Last Jedi (Episode 8)
The amount of online hate for this one is real. It certainly is not detestable, but though I enjoyed it the first time, I do appreciate it less with each viewing. There was a different director for this one, who poo-pooed all over the trajectory of the prior film, making for a disjointed feel to the whole sequel trilogy. Some nice action and a cool Luke/Yoda interaction, but overall a bit of a letdown.
#10: Attack of the Clones (Episode 2)
Crazy part first: I love this movie. Here we are at the bottom of the list and I’m throwing out the “L” word – that should tell you what you need to know about how I feel about this galaxy far, far away. This one hosted a cringy and forced romance between Anakin and Padme. That was a major theme, but we also got the start on the Clone War that spawned a fantastic animated series, tons of Jedi, cool new bounty hunters, and the first Yoda-in-battle scene. Epic.
#9: Solo: A Star Wars Story
I had reservations about the casting of a young Han Solo. I’d seen it go wrong before with the young Indiana Jones movies. Harrison Ford is tough to duplicate. I went in with tempered expectations and came out with a big grin. This one works excellently as a standalone film and gives me hope for future Star Wars Stories such as Kenobi or Boba Fett films. Fast-paced action, humor, and distinct Star Wars feel.
#8: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
The first theatrical Star Wars film that wasn’t technically part of the Skywalker Saga, Rogue One delivered on all promises. Some say this is the best thing Disney has done with Star Wars. I don’t know about that. I loved it, but it was a little long and many characters were blander than Star Wars usually has. That said, the droid K2SO made up for everyone else and this movie has my favorite scene in cinema history.
#7: The Force Awakens (Episode 7)
This was the first Disney-made Star Wars movie and the beginning of the sequel trilogy that concludes the nine-movie Skywalker Saga. In order to introduce Star Wars to a new generation of fans, it mirrored the first Star Wars movie (Episode 4 in 1977) in numerous ways. Almost too many. It was weird. That said, the characters were likable, Star Wars was back, and the First Order is cool. Stinks that they killed one of my childhood heroes though.
#6: Rise of Skywalker (Episode 9)
RoS receives about as much hate as The Last Jedi, which is unfair. As I mentioned earlier, a new director took things in a strange direction in the eighth movie. JJ Abrams, who directed episode seven took the reigns once more for episode nine. The trilogy was going to be disjointed no matter what, so I believe he wrapped things up as well as possible. RIP Sith.
#5: The Phantom Menace (Episode 1)
People are funny. They did not like the prequel trilogy until the sequels came along. Most Star Wars fans are apparently difficult to please. This movie was and is very good. It sets the stage for the Skywalker Saga nicely, expanded on the existing universe in a big way, and introduced Darth Maul and podracing. Jar Jar wasn’t that bad, yo.
#4: Return of the Jedi (Episode 6)
I am guilty of over-hyping this one in my mind, but I am not alone. The complaints people have with the new movies should really be put into perspective because those people hold this movie in reverence. Spending like 40 minutes at Jabba’s palace was unnecessary and teddy bears saved the galaxy. The Luke and Vader dynamic is what keeps this one on the pedestal.
#3: Empire Strikes Back (Episode 5)
Accepted by many as the greatest of the Star Wars films, Empire has a bit of everything. The Hoth arc was fantastic, we got to meet Yoda, Boba Fett, and Lando, and we really saw Luke take leaps and bounds as a Jedi on his journey to confronting Darth Vader. This is the one with the epic “I am your Father” plot twist also. Other movies stink. Star Wars is great.
#2: Revenge of the Sith (Episode 3)
Revenge of the Sith completed the prequel trio, bringing the highly anticipated conclusion of Anakin Skywalker’s fall the to dark side. This one was a visual feast and introduced General Grievous to the universe. After the lackluster romantic development of Episode 2, this one fully delivered on Anakin’s (and ultimately Vader’s) character. The dual between Vader and Obi-Wan was an all-time great Star Wars moment.
#1: A New Hope (Episode 4)
Growing up, Empire Strikes Back was my favorite. Having seen all the movies numerous times and having given nostalgia time to develop, the original Star Wars story takes the title. The introduction to the universe – the force, lightsabers, light vs. dark side, Darth Vader (my favorite movie character ever), the Death Star, lightspeed, the Millennium Falcon, Han and Chewie, a plethora of droids… This is where it all began. In my opinion, this one works well as a standalone as well as the catalyst that begins the series. If I just got to watch one Star Wars ever again, it would be this one.