Today is a very special day in the Star Wars universe, it is officially Star Wars Day, May the Fourth! With the entire Skywalker Saga coming to Disney Plus anywhere it’s available, I thought it would be fun to look back on all of the Star Wars movies and rank them. Also, since the franchise is taking a bit of a break cinematically, it makes all the more sense to do it now.
I will only be ranking the cinematic entries in the franchise so I won’t include the Star Wars Holiday Special or the made-for-tv Ewok movies. This list is purely my opinion, it is no official statement or anything like that. Feel free to put your own ranking down in the comments! Please be respectful and civil. Without further ado, start we will!
12. Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace (1999)
The only movie that took me two years to finish. I started this movie in an attempt to catch up before The Last Jedi but I only finished half of it. Two years later I picked it up from where I left off to catch up with the saga before The Rise of Skywalker. This movie is a pain to get through, it is immensely boring and loud and obnoxious. I honestly can’t stand it. The only positives are Ewan McGregor’s Obi-Wan, John Williams’ score especially “Duel of the Fates” and Darth Maul. Everything else can burn down. It is not necessary for the saga and it’s just a waste of time.
11. Star Wars: The Clone Wars (2008)
As an introduction to a much more massive series, The Clone Wars does a fine job introducing and re-introducing the characters. However, despite it’s visually pleasing aesthetic and animation, it is nothing but a series of action sequences stitched together to make a feature-length movie. It’s not really a horrible movie or a bad one at that, it’s just boring. Its existence is only justified by being a huge promotional ad for the actual series. Actually, this movie was one of my first memories of Star Wars so I have somewhat of a soft spot for it even though I literally just watched for the first time this week. At the end of the day, I would much rather rewatch The Clone Wars over The Phantom Menace.
10. Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker (2019)
Is this the worst movie of all time? Of course not. Is it embarrassing to sit through because of how much potential it wasted? Yes. The Rise of Skywalker is the unfortunate result of an unplanned trilogy. It is an overcrowded and rushed mess and it is really sad looking back at The Force Awakens and thinking about what could have been. Despite being heavily flawed, it does have some great action sequences, in fact, it has one of the best lightsaber battles in the franchise. The performances are great, it looks visually stunning. It is definitely a watchable movie, the problem just lies within the horrible script and writing and for that reason, it’s very low on the list.
9. Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones (2002)
I feel like I’m one of the very few people who enjoys this movie for what it is. I know that Attack of the Clones doesn’t even attempt being a good movie. It is a cheesy and awkward movie. That being said, I actually really appreciate how it opens up George Lucas’ vision of the prequel world. We get to see a ton of new locations and because of that, this movie has a very rich atmosphere. Yes, the performances, for the most part, are painful to watch but because of the many memes this movie has conjured and again because of the rich world-building, I can see myself rewatching it and enjoying it for what it is.
8. Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018)
This is the first entry on the list which is actually a good movie or rather decent. I actually don’t mind this movie. It’s a fun adventure movie set in the universe which doesn’t include lightsabers or the force. It’s Rogue One’s fun cousin if you will. It’s not really necessary at all, to be honest, but at least it’s not a pain to sit through. Alden Ehrenreich does a great job as Han Solo, the characters are fun, Donald Glover is also great as Lando and the movie is genuinely entertaining because of the massive budget that it has. It’s not a movie I will purposefully rewatch but if it was on TV, I wouldn’t mind.
7. Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi (1983)
First hot take on this list, Return of the Jedi is a forgettable movie. It’s not a bad movie and in fact, when I rewatched last December I found out that it was surprisingly fast-paced and consistently entertaining. That being said, I only remember parts of the movie and considering it is about two hours, that’s not a good sign. I’m not the biggest fan of the Ewoks, I’m more of Porg fan. The entire Jabba the Hutt and Leia bit in the first act was a great way to catch us up with the characters but it went on for a bit too long. The third act is definitely the weakest in the trilogy. While I love the stuff with The Emperor, Luke and Darth Vader, that was really the only thing I remember from the third act. On that note, it was pretty bizarre to end the trilogy in an Ewok party. I will never understand that.
6. Rogue One (2016)
For some reason, I just watched Rogue One for the first time yesterday. I never caught it in cinemas and I forgot about it when it hit digital. Having seen it, I honestly do regret not watching it in cinemas. What I love about this movie is its scope, it reminds us how grand this fictional world is. I am in love with the third act of this movie. The stuff on the beaches of Scarif was simply amazing. The entire aesthetic of this movie is a huge positive. It’s definitely one of the best looking Star Wars movies, ever. However, my biggest complaint is the characters. The movie is very much one action sequence onto another. It is trying to be this exciting action, war movie set in the Star Wars universe and it does that successfully but it doesn’t let it’s characters breathe. I don’t know anything about these characters and as a result, I wasn’t that emotionally affected by the tragic events in the third act. The first half is also pretty slow but when the second half hits, it hits hard. I would definitely rewatch this.
5. Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi (2017)
Aaah, 2017. What a time that was. I remember sitting on a desk in my school library watching this trailer and gushing about it in private. The hype for this movie was insane and I think we can all agree, that it disappoints on some levels. I remember going to watch this opening weekend, the movie ending and looking at my best friend. Just pure utter shock. I didn’t have any opinions, just shock and that stayed with me for a long time. Every time I rewatch it, I come out with a different perspective. Seeing it last December made me realize that even though it has moments of Star Wars brilliance, it simply wastes a ton of time, time that the following movie would desperately need. In retrospect, The Last Jedi doesn’t really favour the trilogy and tries to be its own thing which while I understand, it can be a bit frustrating. On that note, I actually love this movie or at least most of it so that’s why it’s high up on this list.
4. Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (2005)
Even though most people agree that Revenge of the Sith is the best prequel, I actually think that the movie is pretty underrated. If I’m being honest, my first viewing experience wasn’t really all that special, I was enjoying the movie but I wouldn’t say it blew me away. The longer time passed, the more I came to appreciate this movie. It took some major risks for a family-friendly franchise, the movie is pretty dark and upsetting at times. I love the entire Anakin and Palpatine dynamic in this movie. That being said, I did think Anakin’s turn to the dark side was a bit rushed. It came out of nowhere, he literally just surrenders. The action is decent, I’m not gonna act like the lightsaber fights didn’t look funny at times. Also, Palpatine’s facial expressions when he wields a lightsaber are hysterical and I don’t know how they made the final cut but all in all, for what the movie accomplishes and the many ideas it presents, I think it’s pretty damn good.
3. Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope (1977)
The one that started it all and honestly I don’t have much to say about it. I remember watching it for the first time and thinking ‘oh this is where that scene comes in’. Because I was familiar with so many of the iconic scenes, it lost a bit of it’s magic for me. The last time I watched it was last December and I actually really enjoyed it, it’s a very fun adventure movie with great characters and a ton of iconic moments but apart from that, it’s not much else to me. It is this high on the list because I recognize it’s massive cultural impact and brilliance and I have a ton of respect for it.
2. Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens (2015)
The Force Awakens will always have a special place in my Star Wars loving heart because it is the movie that got me into Star Wars. That iconic trailer sold me and so I watched the original trilogy and went to see the movie in its opening weekend. I will never forget that experience, being in a room full of passionate and excited fans, mostly families. It changed the way I looked at moviegoing and for that very reason, I love this movie. Even apart from all of that, every time I rewatch this movie, it’s always a massively entertaining time. While some people say it’s a rehash of A New Hope, I can understand that but it was on purpose. This is my generations’ A New Hope and because of that I think that The Force Awakens will be live long as a great adventure movie and a great Star Wars movie.
1. Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
A sequel which truly has a bit of everything. Action, mystery, romance and suspense all rolled up in one. The Empire Strikes Back does the impossible by outdoing its already phenomenal predecessor. It takes a darker approach and expands the world of Star Wars by giving us some amazing locations and new iconic characters like Yoda, Lando and Boba Fett. By separating the team, we get to know more about each character, especially Luke as we all know. The movie is without a doubt a classic. From the amazing opening on Hoth to the iconic “I am your father” reveal, this movie has no shortage of exciting and memorable scenes. It takes the beloved characters from the first movie and takes them to new and exciting places, it moves the story forward in an exciting and major way. It is a timeless classic which will delight anyone who watches it and for that reason, it is my favourite Star Wars movie.
That’s it for the ranking! Do I have taste? Yes? No? Well I hope you have a great May the Fourth! I encourage you to drop your ranking below in the comments. As always, be safe and may the force be with you!