(Featured image courtesy of Info•Rama)
Enough time has elapsed since The Force Awakens dominated the box office to get not only a second opinion out of it, but probably also a third and fourth from many dedicated fans of the series. But what might not be so easy for many is figuring out where to rank it on their personal favorites list. This is Geekritique’s ranking of the 7 canon Star Wars films from worst to best. This list reflects the editor’s personal opinions, and we understand that not all will agree.
7. Episode I: The Phantom Menace
It’s incredibly easy to point a finger and say, there, that’s the worst Star Wars film there is. Midichlorian counts, aged graphics, dumb droids, bad acting, Jar Jar Binks, and the list goes on (but really, Jar Jar ruins it). But I’m not a prequel basher. It didn’t tarnish what came before, nor was it such an inconceivable story to be considered outrightly dumb. But it is quite childish. For many of my generation of kids, this was their first introduction to Star Wars. I have a fond place in my heart for it, because even though I had seen the original trilogy, this felt like ‘my Star Wars,’ instead of ‘my parents Star Wars’ – though I’ll admit it is undoubtedly the last on my list to rewatch.
6. Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
Although it must be said that of the three prequel films this is by far the best, I rank it second among them for purposes of rewatch value. It’s the tragic tale of Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker succumbing to the Dark Side of the Force, and becoming what he was always fated to become: Darth Vader. And despite the film’s strength amongst the Star Wars canon, it’s simply not as much fun as a Star Wars film should be. Though it ends with the hope of the Skywalker children making it out alive, it’s still a very dark film. I hope that moving forward we don’t see another Episodic entry as dark as this one got.
5. Episode II: Attack of the Clones
My favorite of the prequel trilogy, Attack of the Clones stepped back from the more childish mundanity of The Phantom Menace and replaced it with an even greater sense of adventure. We get a lot of Jedi action – perhaps the most Jedi action in any film. We get Jedi going on missions, Jedi fighting in colosseums, Jedi training kids, Jedi dying, Jedi flipping, Jedi… There’s a lot of Jedi action in this film, and say what you will – it doesn’t look like we’ll be getting as much of a Jedi oriented film for quite some time. But Attack of the Clones did give us some of the worst cringe-inducing scenes in the entire Saga when it came to Anakin and Padmé’s forbidden love.
4. Episode VI: Return of the Jedi
Here’s where my ranking might get a bit controversial. I love Return of the Jedi. It reached a level of maturity within the original trilogy that helped breathe much life into the eventual Expanded Universe. But it isn’t all perfect. And no, I have no hate for the Ewoks, but as soon as the Rebel party drops down onto the forest moon of Endor, the movie loses much of that maturity, and slows down dramatically. This slowing does pair well with the eventual confrontation of Luke with the Emperor, however the drag in the second half is notable. Still a far better film than any of the prequels managed, but it is essentially two different films entirely (one on Tatooine, the other on Endor).
3. Episode VII: The Force Awakens
Yes, I do indeed rank The Force Awakens higher than one of the original trilogy films. And here’s why: the magic first evident in the original film was fully realized in The Force Awakens. Argue anything against the film, but you can’t argue that. You felt like you were back in that same galaxy that the original trilogy placed you in for the first time in 30 years. The atmosphere was perfect. It felt like Star Wars. The search for Luke Skywalker was the running theme throughout the film, and aided by the enigma of Rey, we were given two wholly new mysteries that will lead us through an all new generation of Star Wars storytelling. The fact that they were capable of getting the old gang back together over 30 years later, along with bringing back more of the practical effects of old says quite a lot about the lengths the new film was willing to go to bring Star Wars back into the collective consciousness of today.
2. Episode IV: A New Hope
The 1977 classic that started and shaped pop culture as we know it, Star Wars is undoubtedly one of the very best, if not the best. It was a pioneer of special effects, it revolutionized cinema forever, and is still such a good movie. It introduced us to the entire Galaxy far, far away, and to some of film’s greatest and most endearing characters. There’s really nothing bad to be said about this entry in the Saga.
1. Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
What else could be my number 1 pick? The Empire Strikes Back not only lives up to the magnitude of A New Hope; it betters it in just about every way possible. It has given us some of film’s greatest moments, and undoubtedly has science fiction’s best onscreen twist, that being Luke’s lineage. Empire gave us the budding relationship between Han and Leia, the Battle of Hoth, Force Ghosts, and best of all Yoda. This was the first time we got to see some of what Jedi training must have looked like. It’s the classic among classics. And it’s my all time favorite.
Hopefully we’ll see the day when a new Star Wars film actually tops The Empire Strikes Back, but it’ll be difficult to top. What do you think of our official list? We’re excited to see where Rogue One falls onto it. Where do the Star Wars films rank for you? Let me know in the comments below!