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Ranking the Star Wars Franchise

Devin loves movies and loves critically looking at them. He hopes to give people the same appreciation for film that he has.

I Have a Bad Feeling About This

This topic is bound to make people angry with me right off that bat. I am sure to have people claiming that I have no sense of what makes a good movie, or that I am not a real Star Wars fan. Everyone has their own opinions and this is mine. Feel free to disagree with me. This franchise is dear to my heart and some of the films are more special to me than others. Enough of the pointless banter. Lets go!

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11. The Last Jedi

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And so it begins. The most controversial film in the franchise by far. I know some people adore this movie and while I respect you, I do not agree at all. Rian Johnson wanted to do something different with this film; I get it, however changing the personality and tendencies of the most beloved characters might have been too bold. Luke Skywalker is depicted as a very grumpy old hermit who wants nothing to do with the jedi. Why has the most optimistic and passionate character in the entire universe decided to seclude himself? Because of a bad dream. I cannot see this character as Luke Skywalker.

Another main issue I have with this movie is it felt like it was a slap in the face to fans expecting certain answers from its predecessor, which we will get to. Who is Snoke? It doesn't matter. We will kill him. Who are Rey's parents? Nobodies even though she is skilled with the force. It just feels like the awe and wonder that comes with a Star Wars film was lacking. I do not even have to mention Canto Bight. That scene is the most annoying scene in any Star Wars movie. Yes, that also includes every scene with Padme and Anakin in Episode 2.

I have given a lot of negative comments for this movie, but there are some positives. The movie looked amazing. The camera shots, the CGI (no not Leah flying through space), and the bright colors were all amazing. Crait is a beautiful planet and the scene really looks fantastic. This however, is not enough to save the movie.

10. Solo

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This to me is the most forgettable and most unnecessary Star Wars film. I am not saying it is a bad movie, however I do not feel this is a needed story. Alden Ehrenreich was great as Han and Glover stole the show as Lando, but the other characters feel flat. It was nice to see the fabled Kessel run in film, but everything else just felt okay. The story was very straight forward and did not offer much to catch draw the viewer in.

I thought seeing how the Empire had controlled remote planets like Correlia was fascinating, but they did not dive too much into that after the first 20 minutes of the movie. There is nothing that makes this movie stand out on its own which is why I have it so low.

9. Attack of the Clones

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This hurts putting this film so far down the list, but I must. I know a lot of people would immediately put all the sequel films down here but this film is simply not better than the other two sequel movies. There is a lot to love here so let's start with that.

The obvious plus is the battle of Geonosis. I love this scene so much. It is the first time we really see a large group of jedi come together and fight in one massive battle. This concludes with seeing Yoda use a lightsaber for the first time. The ending sequence is really great, however the middle section is hard to get through. Another good thing was the development of Anakin Skywalker. I am not saying this movie treated Anakin perfectly, but we see a lot of development in his character that leads him to become Darth Vader. He is impulsive and he is full of raw uncontrollable power, but that is what makes him great.

The negatives are just as glaring if not more so than the positives. The script writing in this film is atrocious. It is a shame that this movie is only remembered for a few pathetic lines that have become fantastic memes. Everything with Anakin and Padme is so cringeworthy and creepy. I cannot understand how George Lucas thought the script was as good as it could be. Another thing is the awkward camera shots and transitions. It makes the movie feel sloppily pieced together. Despite these flaws, I still enjoy this movie.

8. Phantom Menace

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Now this one really hurts. This and the next entry are very interchangeable and by the time you read this my opinion will have changed. This film and the next two are the most under-appreciated in the series in my opinion. The Phantom Menace has some good. Darth Maul. Need I say more? He is the most ominous figure we have seen in Star Wars to date. Any scene with Maul makes you lean in a little closer to the screen in anticipation of what is coming next. The only problem is that he is in the movie for a grand total of 6 minutes. Jar Jar Binks has more than twice that amount.

This film also boasts one of the best lightsaber duels the series has to offer. After the soul crushing death of Qui-Gon, Kenobi and Maul face 1 on 1 for the first time and it is a thing of beauty. the choreography is phenomenal. Just thinking about these things makes me want to put it higher, but I cannot ignore the negatives.

This film is slow. All the amazing fights and battles in this movie gets bogged down by politics and street races. I know a lot of people love the podracing scene, but I could live without it. It is at a point in the movie where I really want things to progress, but the film just does not. This is the main issue I have with the film. And then there is Jar Jar Binks. I actually do not hate Jar Jar, however he is over used. There is a lot to love about this film but the pacing is too slow and uninteresting to put this film much higher.

7. Rise of Skywalker

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Here come the death threats. Many feel this should have been put a lot lower. I actually enjoy this movie. It is a fun thrill ride that is much more enjoyable than its predecessor. I love the dynamic between Rey and Kylo Ren. Before the film came out, I was very open about not wanting a "Reylo" thing to happen, but I did not hate it. A big critique of this movie is that it retconned many aspects of the Last Jedi, but I think this is a strength. Star Wars once again felt like Star Wars.

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My favorite character is back in this film as well. Palpatine is back and although this is not my favorite version of the old emperor, he has a lot of memorable moments. This film feels like a very suitable conclusion to a very chaotic sequel trilogy.

As always there are also negatives. Where the Phantom Menace felt slow, this film feels as if it is a trip through hyper-space. This film goes so fast that it is hard to really enjoy some of the things going on. There is a lot to enjoy, but it is hard to do so when it feels like we are jumping to the next section really quick. Another negative is that most of the new characters are not memorable. It feels like they were just put in the movie to check off a diversity box or sell funko pops.

The last thing I will mention is the unfortunate story arc of Finn. This character has a lot of potential in the first sequel film, but we quickly see him go from a main character to someone in the background that we do not think about it. I am hard pressed to put Finn in the "main character" category despite having all of the potential of being there. This is not the fault of this film, but rather the sequels as a whole.

6. The Force Awakens

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This movie was highly anticipated at the time of its release, in fact I believe this was the last movie that I waited in a line to get in and see back in the days when there was not seat numbers. To be short, I love this movie. It feels new yet still feels like classic Star Wars. Many would say that is because it is just a copy and paste of the original Star Wars film, and they certainly have good evidence to show that it is but it still feels fresh. However, I cannot put this movie over the original for that exact reason. It does take the main plot points and carries them over into this new generation.

This movie has great character development with Rey and Finn especially but also with the characters we love like Han Solo. This is a perfect setup movie, but somehow the other two sequels could not capitalize off of it. If you look back at your first time watching this film you will remember how excited you were to see all of the questions you had answered. That is probably makes the sequels so disappointing. This movie was a fantastic first entry regardless of the two that followed.

My main complaint is stated above. Instead of the Death Star, we have Starkiller Base. Instead of Alderaan exploding, we have the New Republic. Instead of stormtroopers we have...well...stormtroopers. Kylo Ren and Snoke also promise to be very interesting, that is until Kylo takes his helmet off. I cannot put this movie higher but I cannot put it any lower either. Overall a great film that promised more than was given to us.

5. A New Hope

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This film will be too low for some people. They will say that the original should be put higher for the simple fact that it started it all, however this movie is not as good as the ones that come next on this list plain and simple. It is a fantastic movie and should be celebrated but the fact that it was the start of something is not reason to make it the best.

A New Hope brings in some of the best characters ever seen on the big screen. None more iconic than Darth Vader. From the very beginning, he brings a sinister presence to the film. While Darth Vader has no character development in this film alone, he stands as arguably the most threatening villain in movie history. Our other characters have a little more development and story. We see a young Luke Skywalker who is not all that loveable in the beginning of this film but you end up loving him for his never ending desire to help. I could go on and on but there is no time.

As fantastic as this movie is, it is slow in some points. it can tend to be dull in certain moments, but there has to be those moments to build the world that is Star Wars. This film does nothing terribly, but it also does few things flawlessly. It is still one of the best films of all time.

4. Rogue One

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One of the hardest thing to do is insert brand new characters for people to care about in an already established universe, but Rogue One found a way to do it and do it perfectly. Jyn Erso might but one of the more under-rated characters in the series. Her development is great as she starts by trying to survive, then finding her father, then after that, saving the galaxy from the empire. Cassian is a mixed bag, and that is not a bad thing as that was his purpose. The viewer is meant to be conflicted about his character. This film also has one of my favorite droids in the series in K2SO.

The movie is long, but not unnecessarily so. It accomplishes its goal and expands the Star Wars universe while it does. I also cannot talk about this film without mentioning the legendary hallway scene at the end. If you know, you know.

While being an emotional roller coaster, the relationship between Jyn and Cassian feels forced. it fit in the beginning of the movie but the semi-romantic vibe at the end is pushed in our faces and it does not make much sense. This is by far the best Star Wars film Disney has given us.

3. Empire Strikes Back

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This is where things get really hard for me. The 2 and 3 spot. Empire is considered to be the best Star Wars film by just about every critic and for a long time i had said it was my favorite because I felt like I had to say that. I cannot do it any longer! Is it fantastic? Yes! Is it a cinematic masterpiece? Yes! It can be both of those things and still not be my favorite Star Wars films.

Empire develops Luke, Han and Leah to perfection. Showing us more of their strengths and also their weaknesses and sometimes how those can be one in the same. One of Luke's strengths is his love and loyalty for his friends, but Vader and the Emperor us that to try and cause Luke to fall. The Story flows seamlessly from A New Hope in a way that many series struggle to do. It truly feels like an extension of its predecessor unlike The Last Jedi.

Some of these scenes are the most iconic scenes in movie history such as the battle of Hoth and the first confrontation of Luke and Darth Vader. It is easy to put this as the best just because it feels like it is the right thing to do simply due to the historic impact. The more I talk about this film, the more I want to put it at number 2, but my nostalgia has perhaps blinded me.

2. Return of the Jedi

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I love this movie. It is not perfect, but it is great. I remember being a kid and watching Luke walk into Jabba's palace as a jedi knight and wanting so badly to be him. This film's Luke Skywalker is my favorite, and it makes me so happy that we see him now in The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett. What people hate about this movie, I love. The movie feels like the shortest Star Wars film when it is really one of the longer ones. It is an absolute joy to watch over and over again.

This feels like a very solid conclusion to the original trilogy and also set the foundation for a lot of Star Wars content to follow. The last duel between Luke and Darth Vader is one of my favorites as well along with a heavy dose of Emperor Palpatine. Talking about this film now I feel very happy putting this at number 2.

1. Revenge of the Sith

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Deep down this has always been my favorite Star Wars movie and I know I am not alone. The emotional ride that is The Revenge of the Sith is wild and heart breaking. We see the fruition of everything building up inside of Anakin, we see the frustrations of Obi Wan and the incompetence if the Jedi. There is so much deeper conversations to have from this movie.

The pacing is nearly perfect. There is a little bit of a pacing issue once Anakin gets back from taking out Dooku, but once things take off, they do not slow down and it demands the viewers full attention. The script also can be a little clumsy, as it is with all of the prequels, but the pure emotion and character building in this film takes it over the top.I could go on and on so I will keep this one brief. This is the best Star Wars film.

© 2022 Devin Weatherly

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