The ‘Star Wars’ Franchise Ranked

Tanmay Patel, Staff Writer

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That time of year is here again! It’s the holiday season, which means giving thanks to your friends and family, buying Christmas presents for your loved ones, and of course, watching a new Star Wars movie. As with the arrival of any sequel, many people will speculate about how the new movie will hold up to the other movies. In honor of The Last Jedi, here is a ranking of the Star Wars franchise. These rankings may not match up with how you feel about the Star Wars franchise, as it is my opinions about the movies.

 

8. The Phantom Menace

Undoubtedly the worst Star Wars movie of all time, and so bad, that many fans choose not to watch it when marathoning the entire franchise. Essentially, they’re saying its not a real movie, and for good reason. There’s only two memorable scenes, the pod race and the Darth Maul vs. Jedi fight. The rest of the film is either boring filler or pure annoyances such as Jar Jar Binks and the overly political story line. However, the music is one of the things true to the spirit of Star Wars, also giving us one of the greatest scores in the franchise: “Duel of the Fates”. Despite the music, The Phantom Menace still ranks at the bottom of the list.

 

7. Attack of the Clones

The second installment in the prequel trilogy fixed a lot of what was wrong with The Phantom Menace: not a lot of action and too much politics. However, it also brought a lot to the franchise that didn’t sit well with viewers. Anakin is creepily obsessed with Padmé and their story in this movie is just criminal to say the least. However, the clone story line was mildly interesting, and the wider introduction of the Jedi Order was welcome. Despite several high points, Attack of the Clones is still just a mediocre addition to the franchise.

 

6. Return of the Jedi

The culmination of the original trilogy unfortunately falls flat on its face. Too much of the movie is spent on Endor with the Ewoks, prepping for a big finale which isn’t as great as the movie made it out to be. However, the story arcs that have been developing come to a satisfying close. Darth Vader renounces the Dark Side, Han and Leia finally begin their romance, and all is well in the world of Star Wars (or so it seems). Return of the Jedi is a solid part of the franchise and an amazing movie, but doesn’t compare to the better films.

 

5. The Force Awakens

Way too much of the movie’s plot was borrowed from A New Hope. It appeals to the fan’s nostalgia of Star Wars, but beyond that, is afraid to deviate and try anything new. Almost everything is derived from A New Hope. A large base that gets destroyed in a last ditch attempt by the rebels? Check. A disfigured leader running a sinister empire? Check. Future Jedi stranded on a desert planet, wanting for a better life? Check. However, Kylo Ren is a fantastic character. He has powers like no Sith before him, and has some shred of humanity within him from the beginning, unlike Vader. The Force Awakens is thankfully one of the better entries in the saga.

 

4. Revenge of the Sith

Who knew that the fall of the Jedi Order could be so emotional? Simply being associated with the prequels gives Revenge of the Sith a bad reputation. However, a less biased view will show that the third episode is not as bad as most people think. The political aspect of the movie is reduced, and only ties into the Emperor’s takeover of the Senate and its transformation into the Empire. The rest of the movie explores the Star Wars universe, and also gives fans the top two light saber battles in the franchise. The two duels are Anakin vs. Obi-Wan and General Grievous vs. Obi-Wan. Unfortunately for General Grievous and Obi-Wan’s fight, Anakin and Obi-Wan’s duel has the high ground, winning out as the best light saber battle in the history of Star Wars. However, Hayden Christensen’s portrayal of Anakin is fairly bland and monotonous, and doesn’t do anything to help the audience empathize with his struggles. With a better actor for Anakin, Revenge of the Sith could have ranked higher on the list.

 

3. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

The one thing that the recent Star Wars movies have changed in the franchise is providing a gray moral area between good and evil. In the previous movies, it was obvious that the Empire was the bad guy and the Resistance was the good guy. However, in Rogue One, the Resistance is shown to have resorted to immoral means to win. They attempt to murder an innocent man, Galen Erso, and their agents freely murder civilians to avoid prosecution by the Empire. Rogue One is also one of the greatest war movies in recent history, and the only Star Wars movie with real stakes. The director was able to come up with an amazing script, and each character, despite only having been known for a while, touches the heart of moviegoers. Rogue One is suspenseful and definitely the greatest Star Wars movie to come out this millennium.

 

2. The Empire Strikes Back

Shockingly, the widely considered best Star Wars movie does not have the highest ranking. Don’t get me wrong, The  Empire Strikes back is still one of the greatest movies of all time, but to me, it provides more nostalgia than real entertainment. Much of the movie is well done, particularly Vader’s big reveal to Luke and Luke’s training with Yoda. The movie never dwells too much on its setting and events, moving from planet to planet and plot twist to plot twist. The Empire Strikes Back is a solid addition to the franchise, but just barely misses out on being the best movie.

 

1. A New Hope

This movie set up one of the greatest pop culture franchises in history. The only flaw I can think of for this movie was that it didn’t have enough light saber battles. However, despite having only one battle, A New Hope focuses more on the thematic parts of Star Wars. The musical score, created by legendary composer John Williams, is unparalleled by any other movie. Darth Vader’s character is so well executed, and his towering figure and seemingly endless power strike fear in the hearts of moviegoers. Most of the Star Wars movies are very well executed, and easily rank in the top 100 movies of all time, however, A New Hope definitely ranks at the top of the list.

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