Star Warrrrrrrs! Nothing But Staaaaar Waaaaaars!
It's been the greatest pop culture phenomenon in the world since it's humble beginnings in 1977. People all around the world have identified with it as the movies that defined their generation. It's the perfect blend of storytelling and spectacle that makes it's lore as legendary as King Arthur, Robin Hood, and the Iliad.
Even though Star Wars stories have been featured in several forms of medium from television to animation to comic books to novels to video games to fan fiction, it's core will always be defined by the cinema, as it was in the cinema where Star Wars was inspired and created in.
With the release of Solo: A Star War Story this year, there are now ten feature length Star Wars films going back 41 years.
And you know what that means?
We can now make a Top 10 Star Wars Movies list that fans can debate and fight over for the rest of our lives!
Now while I value the opinions of my fellow Star Wars fans, I am going somewhat "rogue" and not every spot on this list will be as expected. This list is based off my opinion and mine alone, and if you disagree with me, just remember that it's not the scripture.
And also, why read a ranking list when you know every single part of it?
From worst to best, these are all 10 theatrically released Star Wars ranked!
"The Phantom Menace"
If this movie wasn't on the bottom of my list, I would be thrown off my roof by an angry mob of Star Wars fans.
I was 5 when this movie came out and I just assumed that this was how Star Wars movies were supposed to be made.
The one cool character in this movie (I guess) is the Sith Lord Darth Maul. Maul actually would've been cool if he had more lines and screentime before Obi-Wan unceremoniously sliced him in half rather than make him the main villain of the prequel trilogy.
As bad as Phantom Menance has aged, at least it has arguably the best song in Star Wars: Duel of Fates!
"Revenge of The Sith"
But he has the high ground Anakin!Giphy
People generally consider Revenge of The Sith as the best of the prequels because it's the darkest, has the best visuals, and is the best directed. To me however, Revenge of The Sith is not the best of the prequels because it's supposed to be the most important part of the entire Star Wars saga and falls flat. The character arc of Anakin Skywalker's transformation into Darth Vader was the purpose of the prequel trilogy and they had to chronicle his turn to the dark side in just two and half hours. Anakin's purpose and reasoning for being seduced by the Dark Side is dwindled down to him being paranoid about his wife pregnant wife Padame possibly dying in childbirth and gaining the powers of the Sith so she could be saved.
Star Wars fans knew the outcome of Revenge of The Sith because it sets up the events of the classic trilogy. The lighthearted and family friendly tones of the first two prequel films had unnaturally turn dark to show the fall of the Jedi and the rise of the Evil Empire. And of course, Anakin has to conveniently suffer severe burns on the lava planet Mustafar after losing an over-the-top lightsaber duel with his former master Obi-Wan Kenobi. That way he's forced into the iconic Darth Vader outfit that they promoted like crazy as if the Anakin in the Darth Vader outfit was in most of the movie.
It should've been the epic tragedy that the original trilogy promised, and instead it's a Blah-end to the infamous prequel trilogy.
"Attack of The Clones"
Attack of The Clones is a little better than the Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones, but not by a lot.
Clones fast forwards 10 years after Episode I with Anakin Skywalker going from an annoying little kid to an annoying young adult.
The cringe-worthy chemistry and romantic angle between Anakin and Padame that's supposed to be the heart of the trilogy exposes a lot of things that are wrong with the prequels: Monotone dialogue in a scenic but fake CGI background that's supposed to be a sci-fi epic. Luke and Leia have to have a mother after all, and rather than go with the easy "Anakin had a one night stand with some lady before he became Darth Vader" they went with a romantic angle that was family-friendly.
To give this movie a little credit: there's a good scene of Anakin avenging his mother without any lines and it does a good job at foreshadowing his transformation into Darth Vader.
Still, Attack of The Clones isn't the worst movie ever and is worth seeing once.
Ok, so I know it looks bad to be the worst non-Prequel Star Wars movie. But I think because it just came out and there will likely be sequels that it's best to let it sit here for now and let the franchise continue to see where Solo will go down in history. So far it doesn't look good because the financial disappointment Solo has been has forced Disney to shelved other planned Star Wars spinoffs.
Even with all that, I still had a lot of fun watching Solo. The only problem is that I don't remember a whole lot. It's the movie fans have been begging to get for decades and now it's finally here. In a way the dream expectations were impossible to match with the final product. It also didn't help that they made a director change from the uniquely talented duo of Lord and Miller to the competent but blander vision of Ron Howard.
And that uh..twist at the end...yeah....
"The Last Jedi"
Porg to the rescue!Giphy
I've never read, watched, nor listened to a review of The Last Jedi (Besides my own on Odyssey). But I could tell after seeing this in the theater that this movie was going to be polarizing for the entire Star Wars fan base.
Because I only saw it once in the theater and I don't remember a lot of it, it's a sign that this isn't a great Star Wars movie. The story and character directions goes to places that were amusing but still highly questionable. Director Rian Johnson had a reputation for unconventional story-telling and film-making and it definitely shows in this one, but it's also unfortunately combined with the hand of The Mouse getting involved as well.
Considering that there will be another sequel that will continue (or culminate) this new Star Wars lore, time will tell where The Last Jedi will be viewed in the Star Wars legacy:
Will it be viewed as the beginning of bolder and unique ideas that broke the bonds of Star Wars tradition?
Or will it be seen as an experiment that fell short of it's potential.
Or maybe my feelings on the movie so far which is: "Yeah, I liked it!"
"Return of The Jedi"
Hey is that Uncle Ray?Giphy
The finale of the classic trilogy is more "Dark Knight Rises" than "Return of The King", but fans have put down Return of The Jedi so often as inferior to it's predecessors that it's become an underrated gem. Luke Skywalker completing his character arc as a trained Jedi, being introduced to Jabba the Hut, finally seeing the Emperor in person, and....Ewoks!
Darth Vader's incredible character arc alone makes Jedi a classic, elevating him from one the great villains in cinema history into one of the greatest characters in the history of fiction.
If Return of the Jedi had the same epic scope and tragedy that it's predecessors had, the original Star Wars trilogy would go down as the greatest trilogy in the history of film. Instead, it's a serviceable and well-done wrap-up of a generation-defining film series.
"The Force Awakens"
Eleven did it betterGiphy
10 years after Revenge of the Sith, 32 years after the end of the classic trilogy, 3 years after Disney's stunning acquisition of Star Wars from George Lucas, Star Wars made it's triumphant return to the cinema with Episode 7: The Force Awakens.
JJ Abrams had a lot of demands on the table in revitalizing the most beloved franchise in the world, and for the most part he delivered.
The Force Awakens introduces new and interesting characters like Rey, Finn, Poe and Kylo Ren, the villain and son of Han Solo and Leia. The movie may go far on nostalgia moments and cameos but that didn't stop me from loving every one of those callbacks in the theater!
The first Star Wars feature film outside of it's main cannon, Rogue One has some advantages as to being totally bound the Star Wars cannon and lore.
What Rogue One got right was capturing the grit and realism that no Star Wars movie ever has. It mostly feels fresh without making you forget that it's a Star Wars movie. Sprinkled in it are brief cameos (although the CGI addition of Grand Moff Tarkin was not a good idea). And Darth Freakin Vader in the greatest scene ever in that hallway slicing and owning those rebel scum!
For a Hollywood event film, the ending is one of the least Hollywood types-ending you'll ever see. No dues ex machina, no conveniences, no teases at a sequel, just an ending with a cold reality that is still beautiful and hopeful at the same time.
"Star Wars - A New Hope"
Physics class still stinksGiphy
Making a Star Wars movie in 2018 is the definition of a low-risk/high-reward feature film. Making a Star Wars movie four decades earlier was the complete-and-utter opposite. Star Wars wasn't based off an existing property. It was inspired by several genres, old television serials and classic stories like John Carter and the works of Joseph Campbell, but the casual moviegoer didn't know that.
From the opening title sequence crawl, to the incredible shot of the Destroyer ship looming it's dominance over the small rebellion, all the way to the Death Star exploding at the last second, audiences witnessed the most epic cinematic experience of their lives.
A New Hope was the little engine that could and introduced audiences to a whole new world of heroes and villains. Think about how fun it was to see Luke, Han Solo, Princess Leia, Obi Wan and Darth Vader for the first time ever in this film and not have to see carbon copy versions of them in hundreds of different movies and TV shows. (Like Toy Story 2!)
"The Empire Strikes Back"
If this wasn't number one I would've been thrown off the roof of my own house by an angry mob. Of course Empire is #1! Where would we be if it weren't for the success of The Empire Strikes Back? The first Star Wars movie could have gone down as a flash in the pan in which it's sequels simply rode the coattails of it's success. But Empire brought more to the table.
If only my generation were oblivious enough to not know the obvious:
That the Jedi Master Yoda on the Degoba system wasn't another wise mage like Obi Wan Kenobi, but the tiny green puppet who looked like just another inhabitant of the swamp
That we didn't know if Han Solo was going to live or die as he descended into the cryo-chamber.
That when Luke finally duels the man who killed his father, it turns out that the evil man inside the inhumane suit was his father all along.
Empire wasn't just a mainstream cash grab, it was an epic. Epic is a word that is used too often today, but Empire was epic in it's purest and most worthy form.
It was ancient Greek theater.
It was a Shakespearean tragedy.
It was a cinematic EPIC.
And so those are the Top 10 Star Wars movies, let the Fan Wars begin!