The Phantom Menace isn’t actually the worst!
Following on from the release of The Rise of Skywalker, I’ll be ranking all eleven Star Wars films.
11- Episode II- Attack of the Clones
See, I told you that the Phantom Menace is not the worst Star Wars film. The problem for me with this film is that it symbolises all the worst elements of the prequels. Think- clunky acting (thanks to Hayden Christensen), terrible romantic chemistry (thanks again to Hayden Christensen) and endless, dull, uninspiring talky-talky scenes. Sometimes it feels like an intense political drama as opposed to a space-opera. Despite it’s faults it does have some excellent action scenes, the Battle of Geonosis is among the series best. Special mention also goes to Christopher Lee’s performance as Count Dooku.
10- Episode I- The Phantom Menace
Ok , Episode I didn’t quite escape my wrath. To be honest, I don’t actually find this film to be as bad as some make it out to be. Yes, it is ruined a lot by Jar Jar Binks, and endless talks over trade negotiations. Despite this, the film has wonderful performances by Neeson and McGregor. The action scenes also have a special mention. I really enjoy the podracing scene and the climatic battle between Qui-Gon, Obi-Wan and Darth Maul.
9- Solo: A Star Wars Story
Don’t get me wrong, this is a good film. It is beautiful to watch, has brilliant performances by Alden Ehrenreich & Donald Glover (as Han and Lando, respectively) and has a lot of good fan service. The main problem for me however is that the film feels very safe, you know for sure how it’s going to end. Despite this, I still enjoy it, and I was certainly tempted to place it higher on this list…
8- Episode III- The Revenge of the Sith
Well this film has always been known as the ‘good one’ of the prequels (truly shows what a success that trilogy was…), and it is by and large a good film. The start of the film is fantastic with the Battle of Coruscant, then the film slows down for a talky-talky marathon half-way through, before ramping up for epic lightsaber duel finale. That in a sentence, is the main problem with the film, the pacing is rather off. Despite this, the film has a huge amount of emotional weight for portraying Anakin’s turn to the dark side, and it should really be commended for that.
7- Episode VII- The Force Awakens
I think many will be surprised by where this has come in my rankings. Don’t get me wrong, this is a really good film. It introduces some fantastic new characters (Rey, Finn, Kylo Ren…) as well as re-introducing some old ones (Han Solo, Leia, Chewbacca…)! The cinematography is also fantastic, making it a really beautiful film to watch. The only problem with the film is that it feels a bit too familiar…
6- Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
I really like Rogue One. It is a brilliant backstory to the iconic Death Star, and the battle to destroy it. It features some brilliant characters who form ‘Rogue One’ whose mission is to steal the plans to destroy the battle station. The film is also crammed with fan service too, such as using unused footage from Episode IV- A New Hope.
5- Episode VI- The Return of the Jedi
The weakest film of the original trilogy. Has plenty of brilliant scenes, such as the Battle of Endor and Luke and Vader’s climactic duel on the Second Death Star. Has some slightly strange moments, such as the sing-song at Jabba’s Palace. The Ewoks are arguably the predecessor to Ja Ja Binks.
4- Episode IX- The Rise of Skywalker
I’m not going to lie, I really like the Rise of Skywalker. Yes it does play it fairly safe. However I think that as an ending for a ‘trilogy of trilogies’ it is pretty good. This is because it has the ultimate showdown between the Sith and the Jedi in the film’s climax. Bonus points goes to Ian McDiarmid’s terrifying performance as Darth Sideous.
3- Episode V- The Empire Strikes Back
Often described as the best Star Wars film, and it’s easy to see why. The Empire Strikes Back is much more sinister than its predecessor and in many ways more emotional. The showdown between Luke and Darth Vader is one of the finest lightsaber duels in the saga. The film’s climax with Darth Vader revealing he’s Luke’s father is one of the saga’s finest moments.
2- Episode VIII- The Last Jedi
What a film! The Last Jedi is probably one of the most divisive films ever released. Personally, I really like the Last Jedi. I think it has a lot of emotional tension as well as having some of the most surprising twists in Star Wars. Some may thinking Kylo Ren killing Smoke was a waste of a good character, but it’s worth it for the twist.
1- Episode IV- A New Hope
Ok, some might say it’s a cop out that I’ve put the original first. For me, the first film will always be the best. The first film contains some of the greatest moments in cinematic history, such as the Battle of Yavin and Mos Eisley Cantina. Much of this film is so iconic, that Star Wars arguably ended up recycling much of the plot of this film for The Force Awakens.
Featured image credit: Consequence of Sound