This is not a rating of how good movies named "Star Wars" are, this is a rating of how "Star Wars" the following movies are. While some of the new movies look beautiful, the best "Star Wars" movies are the ones with the most "Star Wars" magic, and that magic comes from the original trilogy.
Luke Skywalker looking at Tatooine’s two suns was my introduction to the magic that is "Star Wars." I saw the original Stormtroopers before I knew what a clone was, I saw an old grandpa like Yoda and Emperor before I saw them hopping the galactic senate like kangaroos. The original trilogy is my original understanding of what "Star Wars" is.
Before I start the ranking, I must say that the best "Star Wars" creations apart from the original trilogy are the animated series. “Star Wars Rebels” was a solid series and “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” is one of the very best animated series I have ever seen, from start to finish. The impact of "Battlefront II" and "Lego Star Wars" which I played well into my teenage years are a story for another day.
11. “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker”
Disney can add as many awkward scenes and big explosions as they want but that does not add quality to a movie. This movie disgraced the tradition of quality trilogy endings that episode three and six created. The new grandfather spin on “I am your father” did not cut it for me.
10. “Solo: A Star Wars Story”
I thought the acting in this movie was decent, but this film was one of the weaker of the one-each-year films that came out during Disney’s Star Wars reign. Harrison Ford is Han Solo, and it was better for Han Solo’s past to exist solely in my imagination. Harrison Ford’s face completing the Kessel Run was a thought I did not need to be recreated. The movie tried a bit too hard to put the pieces together.
9. “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”
I was not able to accurately assess the feelings I had about this movie because it was the first "Star Wars" movie that I was able to see in the theater on its opening night. When I got past the experience, I personally felt like they did not build any new hype. It was a twist on what I have already seen. Doing it better than the original is nearly impossible in this case so I don’t think recreating the original should have been the goal. If this film was your introduction to the force, you will probably disagree.
8. “Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace”
Following up the original trilogy is a tall order so I cannot hate on 'The Phantom Menace' too much, but the acting was very weak. Getting an entirely new "Star Wars" galaxy was neat. Two-sided sabers, podracers and Jar Jar Binks are all cool elements, but the movie was average at best.
7. “Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones”
Being such a massive “Clone Wars” fan, it pains me to say that this movie was only slightly above average. The movie had a big job to do. Episode two had to serve as a bridge between episodes one and two and also introduce the "Star Wars" elements that existed in the original trilogy. The scenes like the "Star Wars" version of Roman Gladiators were extremely ambitious, but ambition can only get you so far.
6. “Star Wars: The Last Jedi”
This was Disney’s attempt at trying to reconcile whatever went down in the 2015 revival of "Star Wars." Although it was also the best movie of the latest trilogy, the bar was ridiculously low. The fact that they did manage to make sense of the new empire was impressive, but it was not enough. After growing up on Darth Vader, Anakin and Emperor Palpatine, I have no problem saying that Kylo Ren does not live up to his predecessors. Character development was attempted, but the final film in the trilogy does give you less reason to rewatch this episode.
5. “Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith”
The prequel trilogy had its terrible moments, but they managed to squeeze out one gem. The creation of Darth Vader was a sight to behold. Ewan Mcgregor carried the prequels and continued to do so in the final early 2000’s installments. “I have the high ground,” memes are still circling the internet today. You know how it was going to end but the darkness of this movie was inspiring. This movie also contains the best battles in the entire franchise. The defense of Kashyyyk, Count Dooku against Anakin,and Obi-Wan battling General Grievous were beautiful.
4. “Return of the Jedi”
Closing out a trilogy is difficult. Following up “The Empire Strikes Back," is a hard task as well. Despite the challenge, George Lucas was able to make a quality ending to the original trilogy. Again, I knew it was the last of the first three films so I could not have been truly surprised by the ending but the Ewoks. You just cannot complain if they give you Ewoks to end a story. Also, Jabba the Hut and his tiny cackling rat are iconic.
3. “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story”
I genuinely enjoyed this movie. I cannot say that this felt exactly like a "Star Wars" story, but it evoked a lot of those "Star Wars" feelings. I rooted for Jyn as much as I have rooted for anyone and that is what "Star Wars" is about to me. Rooting for the good that is fighting against a wicked evil. The way the film dropped you right off at the beginning of episode four made my heart happy. The ending Darth Vader scene may be the best "Star Wars" scene post-1983. Being able to see a film that made me feel this way in the movies on the opening night may put this movie higher than it should be, but that is an experience I cannot make light of.
2. “Star Wars”
Also known as “A New Hope,” this was the original "Star Wars" movie and nothing about its greatness is attributed to nostalgia. From the moment a Star Destroyer rolled up on the Tantive IV and the merciless Darth Vader made his entrance, it was love at first sight. The trash compactor scene was enthralling. What about the Death Star was not peak cinema? The freeing of the princess and Luke returning to blow the ball of death to smithereens were cinematic gold. The only thing that could make this film better is knowing that it would be followed up by...
1. “The Empire Strikes Back”
Stars: 100 gold peggats
How do you beat the first Star Wars movie? By having the villain who killed Luke’s mentor professing to him “No, I am your father,” after an epic lightsaber battle. With Hoth, Cloud City and Dagobah, episode five took "Star Wars" to a new level and cemented the franchise as a grail just two films in. Yoda, the legendary wielder of the force made his legendary entrance into the "Star Wars" franchise. This sequel immersed you into the galaxy far far away you had already been introduced to, and now there was no choice but to absolutely adore it.
What separates this movie from the rest is how it ended. I felt pain at the end of this film. As a young kid, I do not think I had seen a movie that left me distraught at the end like this did. I was hurt but I knew that what I had seen was legendary. That is the only word needed to describe this film: legendary.
Meet me at the Mos Eisley Cantina if you disagree, but there is no need to worry. Greedo and I do not have much in common.