Every Star Wars Movie Ranked from Worst to Best
There’s no denying that Star Wars has become one of the most popular franchises in film history, if not the most popular. George Lucas changed the cinematic landscape back in 1977, and we’ve felt it ever since. However, there’s much debate over where the canon films rank among each other. So, allow me to throw my hat into the ring — possibly angering hardcore fans in the process.
#9: Episode II – Attack of the Clones (2002)
Although Phantom Menace gets a lot of consideration for the worst Star Wars movie, Attack of the Clones is pretty terrible in its own right. George Lucas heard the complaints that the Phantom Menace was too boring or lacked enough action. However, he added incomprehensible action with disposable droids, allowing for zero emotional impact at the climax of the film. Attack of the Clones is also responsible for giving us one of the most forced romances in movies in Anakin and Padme.
“I don’t like sand.”
#8: Episode I – The Phantom Menace (1999)
This was a shaky start to the prequel trilogy. Phantom Menace gets bogged down in continuous senate meetings and trade talk that by the time the action starts, many viewers were already annoyed by the movie. Jar Jar Binks is still considered one of the worst parts of the Star Wars saga as a whole, bringing completely lowbrow humor that just makes anyone above the age of six angry.
However, there are some moments to like here. The final lightsaber duel between Obi-Wan, Qui-Gon, and Darth Maul with the famed “Duel of the Fates” music playing is pretty riveting stuff. The Phatom Menace also does a really solid job of world building and expanding upon the scope of the original trilogy. However, it does ruin other Star Wars lore by adding the much maligned midiclorians angle to identifying a Jedi.
#8: Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018)
Many expected Solo to become a serious disaster. And while it’s not quite that level of bad, it’s still pretty unremarkable. The entire endeavor feels like it’s noted to death, and everyone is forced to work in very standard means with little deviation. What entertainment this film has is tied to other Star Wars film via references and familiar characters; there’s nothing new, and it’s frustrating to see such talented individuals wasted on standard material.
Solo is the first of the Disney Star Wars films to feel tired and unimportant, and it’s mostly due to the fact that the film does nothing to warrant its own existence.
*To read my full review of Solo: A Star Wars Story, please click here.
#7: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith (2005)
Revenge of the Sith is undoubtedly hampered by its two predecessors, but it’s definitely an improvement. The final battle between Anakin and Obi-Wan on Mustafar is incredibly well-done and very emotional, highlighting Ewan McGregor who was the saving grace of all the prequels. The movie also takes a noticeably darker tone than the other prequels which is much appreciated considered the catering that was done to a younger audience previously. Also, Jar Jar does not speak in the third movie, which might be the best endorsement you can give the Revenge of the Sith.
The film does leave a bad taste in your mouth with Vader’s yell at the end, however.
#6: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016)
Rogue One may be the most breathtaking Star Wars film as it spans many new planets and locations. While the film leaves something to be desired with the character development of our leads, the film contains one of the best third acts in recent memory. Rogue One could have easily been a throw away movie since many fans could guess the ending of the film before it ever hit the big screen. But, it’s done in such a way that it creates a fully enjoyable experience. The film also quite possibly gives us the best Darth Vader moment of any of the Star Wars films, which is as haunting as it is awesome.
*To read my full review of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, please click here.
#5: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi (1983)
Although it doesn’t reach the heights of A New Hope and Empire, Return of the Jedi is a great movie on its own right that deepens Star Wars lore while also delivering a satisfying ending to the original trilogy. We finally see Luke mature to his full potential after years of watching him grow in the force. We also get one of the biggest redemptions in movie history with Darth Vader. Jedi brings a smile to your face and, until 2015, was a fantastic ending to Star Wars saga.
#4: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi (2017)
The Last Jedi is a gutsy film that takes a ton of chances. In fact, some fans already hate the film for how it changed Star Wars lore. However, there’s no denying that Star Wars had become quite safe under the Disney regime. The Last Jedi forces everyone to accept a new reality in terms of character bonds and themes, bringing Star Wars into a new era. This film may become more appreciated with age.
It certainly has its flaws. But, Rian Johnson created a fascinating, heavily discussed movie, and that’s a lot more than 99% of films can say about themselves.
*To read my full review of The Last Jedi, please click here.
#3: Episode VII – The Force Awakens (2015)
Arguably the movie with the most pressure to succeed in the history of cinema, The Force Awakens provided audiences with an emotionally satisfying entry into Star Wars canon. The highest grossing movie of all time in the domestic box office, Episode VII offers some great new characters to fall in love with for the new Disney Star Wars trilogy while perfectly melding in the old cast.
The Force Awakens also promotes an interesting, complex villain in Kylo Ren that has already done the unforgivable. It has some jaw-dropping action, including the chase between the main characters and Captain Phasma. One of the few criticisms is the movies’ obvious parallels to A New Hope. However, The Force Awakens has enough new material to stand up on its own merits.
#2: Episode IV – A New Hope (1977)
George Lucas’ baby redefined the blockbuster upon its release in 1977. The movie changed the movie landscape by injecting a new voice into the sci-fi genre. A New Hope is still super watchable and fun to this day and invites into a whole new world where practically anything is possible. The film obviously contains X-wings flying through the Death Star trench and saving the day. But, the film has so many other great scenes from massively scoped moments like Alderaan’s destruction and to tiny moments like banter between our super likable leads — every swashbuckling scoundrel in cinema has been some way molded after Han Solo. A New Hope is one of the most iconic movies ever.
#1: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
Empire deepened all the emotional moments of A New Hope while setting the industry standard for what a sequel should accomplish. It easily has one of the best reveals of all-time in cinema and all the emotion of Han being frozen in carbonite still resonates today. We also get some great training sequences from Luke and Yoda on Dagobah. You begin to understand the deeper meaning of the force and watch as our hero grows. There are so many lines from this movie other than “I am your father” that people continue to quote tirelessly.
Empire is not only one of the best sci-fi movies, but also one of the best movies in general.
Thanks for reading! What is your ranking of the Star Wars movies? Comment down below!
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