11) Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones
Attack of the Clones is a shrug of a movie, often mixing belaboured action sequences with awkward dialogue exchanges. It also marks George Lucas’ digital aesthetic at its least charming and wondrous.
10) Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
I’ve never been able to get on board with this fully. For being the first “experimental” Star Wars movie, it does rely heavily upon the saga films’ storytelling and cinematic tenants. The result is a film that feels like a virtual museum of nostalgia.
9) Solo: A Star Wars Story
Despite boasting some great world-building and Bradford Young’s exquisite cinematography, Solo is a low stakes affair. Its central problem comes from the main character feeling less interesting than the world he inhabits and the supporting players he interacts with.
8) Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker
The Rise of Skywalker is a good Star Wars film. It throws a lot at the wall. Not all of it sticks. But it does understand what’s made the franchise indelible for 40+ years. Rey’s arc of control and internal strife is the film’s highlight
7) Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi
Return of the Jedi is an embarrassment of riches in terms of creatures, effects and imagination. And it mostly delivers in being a dramatic conclusion to the Original Trilogy.
6) Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens
Featuring distinctive new characters, great imagery and a rousing John Williams’ score: The Force Awakens is a persistently fun and fascinating mixtape of the Original Trilogy.
5) Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace
To an entire generation, this film is a kidified and ruinous pariah. But to me, it’s Star Wars at its most innocent and optimistic, advocating the importance of symbiotic relationships to overcome the problems of the world. The impressive set pieces and creative world-building does not hurt either.
4) Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi
The Last Jedi is an assuredly bold and subversive film. It digs beneath the surface of the space fantasy franchise, finds its mythological heart and puts it on a monumentally striking canvas. It’s also a parable of failure that’s held a great deal of personal significance for me.
3) Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
I always forget how great this film is. It’s impressive for sustaining a persistent level of tension with its characters constantly being in danger. Or having to face hard truths about themselves. The valuable gift it’s given this franchise is that the middle chapters can be introspective and personal.
2) Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
Despite having a few deficiencies, Revenge of the Sith is a tragic and poetic final bow from George Lucas. It’s the one Star Wars film that illustrates why the franchise could be considered glorified silent movies, with some stunning imagery, fueled by John Williams’ powerfully haunting score.
1) Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope
It’s so easy to overlook this film. But its roaring success is more than being the right picture at the right time. Its fusion of Saturday Matinee Serials, Spiritually and World Cinema makes it a winner. It’s also charming, funny, exciting and always a joy to watch.