Star Wars movies ranked

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.

Ranking fandoms

As a nerdy fellow, I am a part of multiple fandoms. So naturally, I must rank them.

Wait, “nerdy fellow,” what is a fandom? Well, un-hip person, Merriam Webster defines a fandom first as a “state or condition of being a fan of something.” Boring. Secondly, they describe it as “the fans of a particular person, team, fictional series, etc. regarded collectively as a community or subculture.” Better.

For the individual, fandom is important. It is something that almost never matters in the grand scheme of life, but it brings you happiness and involvement. It can be a shared experience or something that you indulge in alone.

Below is a ranked sampling of my top-5 personal fandoms:

  1. Star Wars
  2. NBA
  3. Kansas City Chiefs
  4. Halo
  5. The Bachelor/Bachelorette

I have already discussed why I love Star Wars on this site. What helps it take top billing is how deeply you can dive in once you love it. There are of course movies, but the TV shows, books, video games, and lore make it easy to maintain as an obsession.

My love for the NBA is also spelled out on here. Though I claim the OKC Thunder if I must pick a favorite, I really just enjoy the league as a whole, which means I get to enjoy so much content. Every team plays 82 games, then there is the postseason, All-Star events, trades, drama… it is easy to get sucked in.

I haven’t been waiting 50 years for the Kansas City Chiefs to win a Superbowl. My Dad always liked them, but we didn’t watch as a family growing up. I got sucked into football around probably 2007 or so since my wife’s (girlfriend at the time) family liked it. Fantasy hooked me as much as anything, but the Chiefs have easily been my favorite sports team. How ’bout them?

The next two highlight how varied fandoms can be for a person. Video games in general is too vague, but Halo easily works here. Aside from pre-ordering every game that comes out, I’ve read about half a dozen Halo books and own all video snippets that have ever happened on Blu-Ray. I suppose Xbox in general could work somewhere in here as well.

The Bachelor/Bachelorette is definitely a unique fandom for me. I am part of #BachelorNation because it is a guilty pleasure that my wife and I share. Some people dread Mondays, but snuggling your wife while you drink a Sam’s Club-sized bottle of wine and watch people humiliate themselves on TV? Don’t miss out on this, people.

The above five are certainly not the only fandoms I am a part of. Pokemon, Blake Griffin, Lord of the Rings, Nintendo, Missouri State University, Postseason STL Cardinals (yes, I’m a fair-weather fan), Dragon Ball Z, video game series I will pre-order no matter what (Elder Scrolls, Borderlands, Soul Caliber, Fable, Red Dead, and more), Marvel… and that is just off the top of my head.

It is a bit of a blessing and a curse to be into so many things. There is always something to watch, play, or read about, which is awesome. On the other hand, there is always something to watch, play, or read about, so I have to be careful how I spend my time.

For example, I played a phone game called Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes for a couple of years. It was a fun way to always have some Star Wars in my pocket. I realized though that it became more of an addiction than an occasional distraction and I did not want to be on my phone too much with my son watching my every action and learning accordingly.

I am on a hiatus from the game and it feels good. There are always ways to get my Star Wars fix through books, TV shows, and more. The game was a bit excessive. Balance is important and I hope to teach my son that lesson too!

So that is a quick rundown of my fandoms. If I am silly for any of them, I REFUSE TO APOLOGIZE. Everyone is different, everyone deserves to pursue what makes them happy, and everyone whose list doesn’t exactly match mine is wrong.

Star Wars fatigue

There has been a lot of online talk recently about Star Wars fatigue with all the movies coming out. Do I have it?

Let’s preface this by saying: there is a lot of online talk about everything. Most of the “voices” involved in such things are haters. Why the internet is such a hateful, negative place is a question for another time.

Star Wars fatigue is a legitimate issue though (as legitimate an “issue” as something like this can be anyway (first-world problems)). The same questions arise in other places too, like the Marvel movies, Call of Duty, and other things that keep churning out like clockwork.

So is Star Wars fatigue real? Yes. Have I experienced it?

If you can’t view media or listen to the above video: I said no. No, I have not experienced Star Wars fatigue.

Honestly, it is understandable that some individuals may be getting a bit tired of Star Wars. A movie per year, video games, books, toys – Disney is really milking this multi-billion dollar purchase. Wouldn’t you if you made a multi-billion dollar purchase?

Why was the franchise so expensive to buy in the first place? People love it. Millions of people love it.

So, many will get fatigued by the influx of new stuff. Particularly old heads that think there hasn’t been a good Star Wars movie since 1983. These sour people are unfortunately blinded by nostalgia and cannot be convinced otherwise. You still know they’re shelling out to go see each movie, even if only to complain about it later in some comment section somewhere.

These are the same people that will say Michael Jordan is the unquestioned greatest even if LeBron averages 60 points this year.

Disney has even reportedly nixed some new movie ideas or at least put them off because of less-than-ideal receptions to The Last Jedi and Solo. A crying shame I say.

For me, there will never be enough Star Wars. I was first exposed to the originals, grew up with the prequels, and was thrilled when the sequels started coming out recently. The spin-offs and side-stories like Rogue One and Solo are just what the doctor ordered as well.

Even with The Last Jedi, which took things in some odd directions, I was able to compartmentalize and appreciate any fan service, lightsaber action, and Chewbacca sightings I could get.

Expectations shouldn’t be for each movie to be better than the last, but for there to be dramatic conflicts, fantastic locals, droids aplenty, and some magic via the force.

I am confident in each movie delivering that, so I say bring it on. A movie each year, more books than I could ever read, Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes on my phone, Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order on Xbox later this year… I’m soaking it up as every fan should be.

Get on board nerds! It is going to be a long ride, so please enjoy it with me!