FILM + TV

A Definitive Ranking of All The Star Wars Movies

Some say it can’t be done, but we say, “NEVER TELL US THE ODDS!”

by NIK GOODNER
12/13/17

 

With the highly anticipated Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi, set to release this Friday, December 15th, 2017 and the Han Solo film on its heels with a release date of May 25th, 2018. We’re attempting to do the impossible (never tell us the odds) and rank all the current Star Wars movies.

Star Wars is arguably the best franchise in cinema history with its origins dating back to the original Star Wars movie in 1977. The journey of our characters has spanned over forty years and is still attracting new generations of Star Wars fans.

Star Wars has been able to do something that the majority of movie franchises aren’t able to do, succeed this long without the need for a remake to revitalize the franchise. (Listen to Pop Culturist 002: Remakes)

Now, for those new to the Star Wars Universe or ranking lists, this is not the order in which the movies should be viewed because everyone knows it’s IV-VII, Star Wars: Rogue One, then I-III.

With that clear, here is our ranking of the Star Wars franchise.

 

8. Episode I: The Phantom Menace

 

In the late 1990’s and early 2000’s, Twentieth Century Fox handed George Lucas some money and several green screens, and said, “knock yourself out…”

Or, at least that is how I picture it.

Star Wars fans spend long hours in dark cantinas debating whether or not to include the Star Wars prequels in Star Wars movie marathons, however, whether we like it or not they are considered Star Wars universe canon.

So, here we are.

The Phantom Menace was Lucas’ introduction back into the world of Star Wars, and for the most part, it was a decent attempt. However, it was weighed down with heavy dialogue about trade negotiations and a comic relief character named Jar-Jar Binks that made the Ewoks look like Director Krennic’s Death Squad.

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7. Episode II: The Clone Wars

 

Episode II: The Clone Wars was the second entry in Star Wars prequels, and while it did give us something all fans wanted, less Jar-Jar and more lightsabers, it is overpowered by the cheesy love story and line delivery from young Anakin Skywalker and Padme Amidala.

It’s rough.

 

6. Episode III: The Revenge of the Sith

 

It’s at this point our list takes an upswing. Revenge of the Sith has a rounded out storyline that fits very nicely into Star Wars canon. At this point in the prequels our actors Hayden Christensen (Anakin/Darth Vader) and Ewan McGregor (Obi-Wan Kenobi), seem to be comfortable in their roles and can give convincing portrayals of their characters.

Not to mention, Revenge of the Sith has one of the BEST lightsaber duels in Star Wars history.

However, where Revenge of the Sith falls flat is in keeping the clean aesthetic and computer-generated visual renderings that weren’t entirely developed to be believable. The CGI is meant to enhance the story, but in Revenge of the Sith (and all the prequels + the special editions), the CGI begins to distract.

Another significant problem with Revenge of the Sith is it takes away from the original trilogy plot twist that Darth Vader is Luke’s father, which makes it impossible to watch the Star Wars movies in their respected numerical order.

 

5. Episode VI: Return of the Jedi

 

There is a lot of weight that is on a third movie in a trilogy. Naturally, it has to wrap up all the loose ends and give our heroes a victorious send-off, and there is a lot of plot to move through. It is also the closing of a chapter which can make viewers feel distant going into their viewing experience.

Return of the Jedi is the third movie of the original trilogy, and it falls victim to several of the tropes that keep the third film from being great.

With that said, it does hold a special place in our hearts because of the incredible storytelling conducted through Luke’s costuming:

Throughout the film, Luke wears all black which is a cue that our hero may be heading down the path of the Darkside. Then, after his confrontation with the emperor while spending the last moments with his redeemed father Luke’s shirt flap falls open revealing the white underneath and showing the audience that Luke’s path has been set straight.

 

4. Episode IV: A New Hope

 

A New Hope is the catalyst of the Star Wars universe without it we have no Star Wars. It is a real hero’s journey with compelling villains many of which never truly interact with our main heroes. A viewer is quickly brought into the story and made to feel the might of the empire and the struggle of the rebellion.

When the Death Star is destroyed, we rejoice, because A New Hope takes it’s time to develop our critical characters as they go from struggle to struggle. You learn their personalities through visuals and interactions + reactions versus a lazy narrative or plot exposition.

 

3. Star Wars: Rogue One

 

When Disney announced they’d be expanding the Star Wars cinematic universe to include anthology stories not centered around Jedi knights or the Skywalkers to say fans were nervous was an understatement. However, when Rogue One hit theaters in 2016, the naysayers were silenced.

Rogue One proved for the first time that Star Wars is a compelling movie without the central theme being the balance of the Force. And, that other characters can be our primary focus showing us this universe is profitable expandable.

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2. Episode VII: The Force Awakens

 

Much like Rogue One, The Force Awakens gave us hope that the Star Wars universe is something that can be continued. The prequels missed the mark and left most fans with a sour taste in their mouth, leading us to believe that our favorite space opera might only continue to exist in critically acclaimed cartoon spinoffs and comic books.

However, in 2015 our worlds were flipped upside down, and we began to believe in the franchise once again.

The Force Awakens is a dominant narrative that poetically echoes its predecessor A New Hope while still fitting within the visuals and aesthetics of the original trilogy with a crafted blend of CGI and real-life visual effects.

Simply stated, The Force Awakens feels like a Star Wars movie.

 

1. Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back

 

The Empire Strikes Back opens with a climactic battle between the Empire and the Rebel Alliance on a new planetary system: Hoth. Immediately, we see that one blow to the Empire by the Rebel Alliance from A New Hope is not enough to stop the emperor and his plans for more power. The characters we know and love quickly obtain a brief victory. However, the satisfaction doesn’t last long as our heroes are separated and left to face their separate battles.

This film ends with little hope. Leia has lost the one she loves as our favorite smuggler, Han Solo, is gone and our young Jedi, Luke Skywalker, has had his worldview destroyed as he copes with the truth about his father’s death.

The Empire Strikes Back is not just a great Star Wars movie it is an excellent movie MOVIE!

It set the standard for what a sequel could be and took fans from loving a movie series to an unhealthy obsession.

That’s why we leave Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back in the top slot of our list… For now…

 

Notes:

Original Trilogy = IV - VI
The Prequels = I - III
Star Wars Stories = Rogue One
New Trilogy = VII - IX


Nik Goodner

Content creator + founder of CRTVCHURCH

 

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CRTVCHURCH © All rights reserved. 2018

About | Advertise | Terms | Privacy | Wallpapers | Contact

CRTVCHURCH © All rights reserved. 2018

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