Star Wars is in vogue right now. Since the release of both Episode VII: The Force Awakens and last year’s Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, the world has been hooked on the tales of the force, Jedis and Stormtroopers once more. Star Wars Celebration is kicking off this week, with (hopefully) our first proper look at the next film in this incredible franchise, Episode VIII: The Last Jedi. Spurred on by this (and Gamesradar+) I have decided to provide you all with my very own Star Wars list, ranking the eight main film entries from worst, all the way to the best. So read on, and let the force be with you.
8. Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace
The Phantom Menace was meant to be excellent. Fans licked their lips at the sumptuous looking teaser trailer. They waited with bated breath for what could have been the defining moment of their generation. And it was. The Phantom Menace now defines the terrible prequel. Instead of the vast wonder and magic of the originals we were given a poorly told story of midichlorians and space treaties. Gone was the adventure, and in its place was CGI. The hype and expectations were wild and the film was wildly terrible. Jar Jar Binks and pals adventures in the prequel trilogy didn’t get off to a flying start.
7. Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones
Disappointed fans were hopeful that the prequel trilogy would get better after The Phantom Menace, and it kinda almost sort of did. It could be argued that Attack of the Clones is worse than The Phantom Menace, with God-awful acting, dialogue and boring-arse action sequences. Yet again, the film was far too reliant on CGI to tell its story, rather than the traditional use of emotions and quality story arcs. Had George Lucas lost it? Or did he ever have it? These were the sorts of questions being thrown around. It certainly couldn’t get any worse.
6. Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
Revenge of the Sith was considerably better than the first two films in this trilogy, but it still suffered from an over-reliance on CGI to tell its story. There was far more at stake here, and the film was all the better for it. The acting was still bad, and the dialogue was still dodgy, but at least it felt a little more emotionally charged than its older, uglier brothers. Plus, how could anyone not realise that bringing balance to the force meant getting rid of the Jedi? They far outnumbered the Sith.
5. Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi
Return of the Jedi was easily the worst of the original trilogy, but by no means a bad film. I haven’t seen this one in years, but from what I remember, it struggles through its lengthy run time. Its battles are bigger, its drama is bolder and its Ewoks are little. While some of the film may be hard to believe, it holds its own against the rest of the best of this franchise well enough thanks to fun action sequences and impressive set design.
4. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
I may be angering some people by doing this, but I preferred Rogue One: A Star Wars Story to Return of the Jedi. Sure, the opening may be very messy and overly long, but what follows is a great film that tells the tale of the brave group of people who fought to find the Death Star plans. I appreciated that Rogue One wasn’t afraid to try new things, with battle-scenes as visceral and aggressive as those seen in modern-day war movies such as Black Hawk Down.
3. Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens
The Force Awakens did everything that The Phantom Menace couldn’t. It matched its overwhelming hype by returning to the core elements that made the franchise great in the first place. The adventure, the magic, the chemistry between its leads – it was all there. Backed up with some great direction from J.J. Abrams, this was a film that hearkened back to the good old days, but wasn’t afraid of trying a few new tricks of its own.
2. Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
Not putting The Empire Strikes Back at number one in this list might prove the most controversial point, but I have never enjoyed it quite to the same extent as the original. Despite this, The Empire Strikes Back is nonetheless a fantastic film, and can be considered in the upper echelons on its own merits, let alone the fact that it still stands as how to make a sequel. The ante was upped in all areas, and some of the most memorable shots in science-fiction history were put on-screen, all scored perfectly by John Williams at his best. The Empire Strikes Back is a spectacular film by all accounts.
1. Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope
The original and the best. To me, all Star Wars movies have been attempting to recapture the magic of the original, and for the most part, they haven’t quite got it. Everything about this film, from who shot first, to the destruction of the Death Star, is etched into the minds of any self-respecting film buff. This film still is, and forever will be George Lucas’ masterpiece and its sense of adventure, magic and excitement is still the benchmark for the family science-fiction film. A New Hope is about as essential as cinema gets. So if you’ve never seen any Star Wars film, please start here. You won’t regret it.