Star Wars - The Films Ranked

 The Skywalker saga (Star Wars episodes 1-9) is one of the most popular film series known around the world.  The original Star Wars (Episode 4) film released in 1977 was a monster hit and it started an empire that is still strong to this day.  There are movies, television shows (both live-action and animated), books, comic books, toys, clothing and video games.  I have read some of the books and comics and I also played some of the video games and I have to say I truly am impressed with the quality of everything.  I know that the quality of the movies has been called into questions with the sequel trilogy, I won't spoil my ranking, but I will say that 2 of the 3 movies I find very good.  Star Wars has such a complicated relationship with its fans, the original trilogy created a whole new era of fandom.  Over the years with the prequel trilogy and the sequel trilogy, new fans have joined, and old fans have complained.  Star Wars has had a hard time pleasing everyone, I have found things to like in all the films.  With Rogue One and Solo: A Star Wars Story the universe has expanded beyond the Skywalkers (sort of), and I enjoyed both of those films more than I enjoyed some of the Skywalker saga films.  The reason I mentioned the fickle fans of Star Wars is that I think I will upset some with my list, I am not saying my list is the right order it is just my ranking of the films.  I have never seen the film Star Wars - The Clone Wars, I heard it was really bad and I have had no interest in watching it.  I watched the Clone Wars animated TV series and I do not believe the movie prequel would be worth a watch.     

11) Star Wars Episode: II - Attack of the Clones

Attack of the Clones is my lowest ranked film of the Star Wars films, I saw it in theatres when it came out and I liked it okay then.  However, on subsequent viewings, my opinion has only gone down.  Even though I ranked it 11 out of 11 it does not mean there are not things in the film I really like.  Seeing Yoda wield a lightsaber, Obi-Wan's battle with Jango Fett on Camino, and the chase on Coruscant.  Those were all great scenes, but the issue with the movie for me is the acting it all feels so stilted.  I believe the issue was with the dialogue the actors were given to read and the direction of their performances.  Both issues are tied to George Lucas and I think he would have benefitted from having a producer helping him to point out those problems.  With better dialogue and better performances, I believe this movie could be ranked higher, unfortunately, the film lacks those things.  

10) Star Wars: Episode IX - The Rise of Skywalker

I recently wrote about my thoughts on Episode IX (Star Wars Episode IX: One Year Later), if you take a look at the article you will understand why Episode IX is so low on the list.  The quality of the filmmaking is not in question, the film visually looks great.  My issue with the film is the story and choices they made and did not make.  With all that has been said, Episode IX has ended the Skywalker saga and we likely will never see some of those characters again (at least not played by the same actors).  Knowing that The Rise of Skywalker might be the last time we see Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker on the big screen has really made me sad.  The movie I felt ruined the ending of the series and made poor use of some of the characters.  The performances were good, and the movie looked amazing so I cannot place it last on the list, but it isn't very far from the bottom of the list.

9) Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace

Episode I was the first Star Wars film I saw in theatres when it first was released, I really enjoyed the film, and I was very happy upon leaving the theatre.  At that point, the only thing I was sad about was the death of Qui-Gon Jinn, a character I really liked.  If I was a bigger nerd at the time, I would have seen the score track list for the film and saw there was a song titled Qui-Gon's Noble End.  Now I am that bigger nerd and I have ruined many a TV show and movie.  Upon more viewings, I have realized that the acting and dialogue that I hated from Episode II was the same problem for Episode I.  The story for Episode 1 was better and I really enjoyed the podrace sequence, Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon escaping the Trade Federation's ship, the introduction of Darth Maul, the fight between Darth Maul, Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon and the introduction to Senator Palpatine.  The film has a lot to love, you can fast forward through the parts you don't care for.  

8) Solo: A Star Wars Story

This is the first time on this list I really wish I could rank a film a higher, but unfortunately, this film is just not as good as the ones higher on the list.  Solo is a good film that had a very turbulent production, and the end result was a lot better than I expected.  The hate that Alden Ehrenreich got for his performance of Han Solo in the film was undeserved.  I feel Alden did as good of a job as possible, there is only one Harrison Ford and Alden did his best to capture the spirit of Han Solo.  The film has a lot of good performances and some truly good action sequences.  I have felt that Solo is one of the most underrated and under-appreciated Star Wars films.  If you have seen Solo and did not like or have never watched it, please take some time and watch again or for the first time.

7) Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Rogue One is about the rebels stealing the original death star's plans which showed the rebels where to shoot to destroy it.  The film shows a different side to the rebels, specifically Cassian Andor who is shown early doing something normally the good guys do not do.  The film is great, and the climax of the film is one of the best in all of Star Wars.  Seeing Darth Vader's castle on Mustafar, to the destruction of Jedha, the deaths of all of our main characters really was effective and emotional.  The movie would still be great but Darth Vader's rampage aboard the rebel ship was my favourite part of the film.  Fans have never in live-action seen Darth Vader unleash the dark side, in the original trilogy he was scary, but you never saw him as scary as he was in Rogue One.

6) Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith

Revenge of the Sith is easily the darkest of all the Star Wars movies, the film ends with the bad guys obviously winning.  It is my favourite film of the prequels and my 6th favourite Star Wars film.  I will say a few criticisms and they are the dialogue and acting are still not great, the Darth Vader scene near the end is laughable and the cinematography is not as high quality as the films that came after it.  The only performance of the prequels that was great is that of Ian McDiarmid as Supreme Chancellor Palpatine also known as Darth Sidious also known as The Emperor.  McDiarmid is fantastic in a performance that swings for the fences, the best part of the film for me is Palpatine talking to Anakin at the opera.  The showdown between Yoda and Palpatine set against the showdown between Obi-Wan and Anakin was a close second.  One of things of the prequels was the musical score by the great John Williams, I would go as far to say it is as good as anything he did in the original trilogy.   

5) Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi

As a kid I am sure this was my favourite Star Wars film, those damn, cute and cuddly Ewoks.  Now as an adult I recognize the Ewoks as still being cute but them taking down the Empire just seems too corny.  The Empire's defeat at the hands of cute little bears is sad, and it makes the Empire seem very weak.  The Ewoks are the worst part of the film now for me and hearing George Lucas' original plans makes it worse; Lucas wanted Wookies instead of Ewoks.  It would have been a lot more believable if a village of Wookies took down the Empire.  With the criticism out of the way, there is a lot to love about Return of the Jedi.  The showdown between Luke, Vader and the Emperor is still one of the best scenes in all of Star Wars.  All the scenes on Tatooine with Jabba the Hutt were also great (except for Jedi Rocks, look it up).  The film does a great job wrapping up the trilogy and I wish Episode IX did not drop the ball as much as it did.  

4) Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back

I feel with me putting Empire at four on my list is going to get some of you thinking I am crazy; I would not argue if this film is your number 1.  My main reason for putting this film at number four was because there are times in the film where I feel disconnected.  I cannot think of anything bad in the film, the acting is good, and the story is great.  There are too many iconic scenes and dialogue to count.  The introduction to Yoda (my favourite Star Wars character) and the confrontation between Luke and Vader are my favourite scenes.  There is not a lot to say about the film because it is so strong, the characters are all so great in the film, and I think that is what cements our attachment to them.  

3) Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens

The prequels had ground-breaking effects but the films felt so cold(probably due to the excessive use of green screen), in the sequel trilogy they had the effects but made an effort to use real locations (less green screen).  The introductions of Poe, Rey, Finn and Kylo Ren (Ben Solo) while the return of Han Solo, Princess (now General) Leia and Luke Skywalker were all handled so well.  Some people have a fair point of criticism in that the film feels too similar to Episode IV, but I do not think that is a bad thing.  I find the entire film entertaining and it is so visually striking like Rey's introduction.  The film has a lot of heart and the performances by the cast are all great.  My two favourite scenes are the Han Solo and Kylo Ren scene on the catwalk, as well as the fight between Finn, Rey and Kylo Ren.  The only two things I wanted more of in the film are Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia.

2) Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope

The first Star Wars film is my second favourite, if there is no Episode IV there would have been no Star Wars.  There is just so much to like in Episode IV, the introduction of all the characters that have since become iconic, to the score, the visuals and the effects.  If you have a chance Empire of Dreams, it is a documentary about the making of Star Wars (the original trilogy).  The documentary shows just how hard these films were to make and just how lucky we are that we got the films we did.  Episode leaned heavily on fresh new faces in Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford and it turned them into stars.  The creation of Darth Vader, one of the most iconic villains in film history was another thing that the film did such a great job with.  One of the things that I love about the original is the universe Lucas created.  When Luke meets Obi-Wan (played by the great Alec Guinness) just hearing Obi-Wan talk about the clone wars had fans salivating for more information.  I have to rank this as number two just because without it, we would not have any of this.  I appreciate this film more and more as I get older because I cannot imagine what it would have been like to see this in theatres in 1977.  We are so used to blockbuster films that seeing Star Wars feels normal, while in 1977 this movie came out of nowhere and blew peoples minds.  

1) Star Wars: Episode VIII - The Last Jedi

If you had an issue with Empire being number four on the list than I expect you're irate at The Last Jedi being number one.  This movie is fantastic from start to finish, this movie only has a few weak spots, but where the film hits it hits really hard.  The weak spots are the Canto Bite/ Rose and Finn side plot, as well as Luke's toss of the lightsaber.  I am going to do an article just covering my love for this film but for now I will give you my reasons.  I was not expecting Luke Skywalker in this film to be the man we got, I was expecting him to be a bad-ass Jedi and instead we got a grumpy hermit (like Yoda, though grumpier).  Unlike Episode IX which disappointed me so much because I did not get what I expected, The Last Jedi surprised me and made me appreciate the film Rian Johnson made.  The film is possibly the most visually striking, incredibly well acted and has a surprise appearance by my favourite Star Wars character (see above).  The movie is deep on so many levels and though Rian Johnson's follow to The Force Awakens abandoned some key plots from Episode VII it gave more time to the characters we actually care about.  I cannot blame someone for thinking this film should not be number one, but I will not accept the opinion that the movie sucks.  The reaction to The Last Jedi was disappointing and I hope Rian Johnson still gets to do his new trilogy of Star Wars films (likely not).  This film is great and when I do my article singing the praises of it, I will update this article with a link to it, until then watch this movie please.

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