May the fourth be with you! Do you realize how amazing it is that Star Wars is so beloved, and such a cultural institution that we have pretty much a national holiday celebrating the franchise? Unreal. Amazing.
These were my favorite movies growing up, and they continue to be my favorite movies today. As a child of the 90s, I don’t even hate the prequels that much. They’re obviously not *good* movies, but I have a soft spot for them and appreciate them. And because we don’t know what else to do, here’s a ranking of all of the films so far, with short explainers as to why, exactly, they fall where they do.
8. Attack of the Clones
The middle chapter of the prequel trilogy sees Ewan McGregor’s Obi Wan in his own storyline for much of the film, in a weird detective-esque storyline for most of it. It has its moments, including an insane Yoda lightsaber battle, but mostly Hayden Christensen’s terrible acting brings this to the bottom of the list. But not as bad as you remember!
7. The Phantom Menace
NOT AS BAD AS EVERYONE SAYS. A lot of bad stuff though, including Jake Lloyd as young Anakin saying “I’m a person and my name is Anakin”. But the Duel of the Fates sequence at the end is iconic and legendary and when this came out and I was in Kindergarten I drew pictures of Darth Maul every day so DON’T SHAME THIS FILM.
6. Revenge of the Sith
Yes, the three prequels are the three worst films of the series. And while they have some maddeningly frustrating moments, questionable acting, and generally strange plotting, they are at the very least still watchable. Revenge of the Sith is the closest of the prequels to being a good movie, despite, at times, desperately trying not to be.
5. Rogue One
There’s a huge dropoff between the prequels and this one. Rogue One is actually a really good movie. Like, really good. It’s really tough to rank the lone standalone Star Wars film among all of the other trilogy chapters; we’ll have a better standing with which to rank Rogue One in a few years when the Han Solo film, etc. are released. But for now, this ranks here, aided by the ridiculously awesome final 45 minutes, and detracted by whatever ridiculous happenings resulted in Forest Whitaker’s role.
[SPOILERS, obviously, in the clip below; this is literally the end of the movie]
4. Return of the Jedi
Perfect ending for the original trilogy, Admiral Ackbar, and love them or hate them, Ewoks.
3. The Force Awakens
I love this so much. So, so much. I love Daisy Ridley, I love John Boyega, I love Oscar Isaac, I love Adam Driver, I love them all. Yes, it hit a lot of familiar beats with A New Hope, but it also planted so much mystery, and was just thrilling and invigorating in its own right. I saw this three times in theaters, and have watched it at least three others times on video since. And there is nothing more exciting happening in 2017 than the release of The Last Jedi. NOTHING.
2. A New Hope
The one that started it all. This movie came out in 1977, and the effects look nothing like the effects of today. Mark Hamill’s acting was… not what we’d expect today. A storm trooper hits his head on a ceiling and it’s not edited out. And yet, somehow, this film remains perfect. I was shown this when I was a little kid, I’ll show my kid some day, he’ll show his kid, and the Star Wars fandom will live on forever.
1. The Empire Strikes Back
THE PERFECT SEQUEL. So often there are sequels that are just rehashes of the first film. Empire isn’t that. At all. At any point. This is the model for great sequels; a story that totally changes the game, excites, twists, turns, and perfectly sets up for the next chapter. If The Last Jedi can be even half as good as its original trilogy counterpart, we’ll all be extremely happy. May the force (and the fourth) be with you, Rian Johnson.