11. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
You know a movie is bad when a toy is put into its poster. Yes, that actually happened. Ian McDiarmid, who plays Palpatine, wouldn’t take a photo for the poster, so the advertising team used an Emperor Palpatine hot toy for the character. Anyway, this Star Wars movie is on the bottom of the list because it damaged the franchise the most. Darth Vader’s arc was ruined by bringing back Palpatine, Rey was an awful & unlikeable Mary Sue, the action was pathetic, the fact that the force can bring people back to life is ridiculous, etc. The movie was also unenjoyable because the plot was just a goose chase for macguffins. I can go on & on about how insulting this movie is to the franchise and to the viewer’s intelligence.
10. Star Wars: Attack of the Clones
The dialogue in this movie, particularly the infamous “sand line,” is some of the worst in the past few decades. It’s unrealistic, over-the-top, and constantly distracting. Besides that aspect, the film is also the most boring movie in the franchise, and most of the performances are abysmal, specifically Hayden Christensen as Anakin Skywalker. He is actually a really nice person in real life, and I know he already gets a lot of hate, but I have to pile on. He sounds like a never-ending voice crack. The only emotions he conveys are irritability and angst. He has what scientists call, “an obnoxious face.” The CGI is also atrocious at times, specifically some of the green screen and clone troopers (who were computer generated; they weren’t even played by real people). However, Ewan McGregor was still fantastic as Obi-Wan and the introduction of Jango Fett and the clones was interesting.
9. Star Wars: The Last Jedi
This film’s main problem is its unrelenting desire to “subvert expectations.” Rian Johnson, the writer/director, chose to kill Snoke off without giving him a backstory to “subvert expectations.” Rian Johnson killed off Admiral Ackbar to “subvert expectations.” Rian Johnson turned Luke Skywalker, who was once a symbol of hope & optimism, into a hermit who drinks space walrus milk and wants the jedi to end, to “subvert expectations.” Rian Johnson created an atrocious, annoying, and senseless character named Rose, to… well, I don’t know. Maybe he just did it to anger the audience even further. There are a lot more problems with this movie, but I won’t go through them because it would take too long. Adam Driver’s performance as Kylo Ren was phenomenal and there was some beautiful imagery, but those two aspects couldn’t save this awful movie.
8. Solo: A Star Wars Story
Han Solo doesn’t need an origin story, but unfortunately, Disney decided to make one. The problem with this film was its poorly written script. There were some ridiculous choices that were made by the writers. For example, Lando, a suave and stylish hero in the original films, was in a physical romantic relationship with an annoying droid who argued for droid civil rights in this movie. That ruins Lando now; he’s no longer the cool lady’s man people admire, he’s just a man attracted to robots. Also, the movie just felt like a safe Marvel-like movie that was pumped out of a conveyor belt. It was so obvious that it was made solely to make money, which it failed at doing since it bombed at the box office. I did like the portrayal of Chewbacca and his chemistry with Han. The filmmakers actually respected Chewie, and they came up with the perfect origin for how he & Han met. The action was well-filmed too and most of the actors did a good job.
7. Star Wars: The Phantom Menace
This movie is definitely flawed, but it still has many great elements. For example, the world-building was some of the best in any Star Wars movie. Obviously, there were some boring senate meetings, but it was still amazing to see the Jedi Council and to learn how the galaxy operated before the Empire. Also, Liam Neeson was great as Qui-Gon Jinn, the ending lightsaber battle was amazing, and Darth Maul was a really cool character despite his limited screen time. However, the best part of this movie is the “Duel of the Fates” musical masterpiece by John Williams. It’s definitely the best music piece in Star Wars history, and it’s a contender for the best of all time. Now to the negatives. Hearing Jar Jar Binks talk is like putting one ear into a blender and the other against the mouth of a crying toddler; he is still the worst Star Wars character. I also disliked Jake Lloyd’s performance as Anakin, and the dialogue, while not nearly as unbearable as the dialogue in “Attack of the Clones,” was still super unrealistic and often cringy.
6. Star Wars: The Force Awakens
As a film, this is pretty good, but as a Star Wars movie, it’s mediocre at best. It’s basically a remake of “A New Hope” with a different title, which is extremely detrimental to the original trilogy. The efforts of Luke & the rebels in the original trilogy were made meaningless because the Empire just came back again with a different name: the First Order. I also think this has the worst score in any of the core 9 movies; there were no music pieces that stood out to me. Besides those problems, it is still a really good movie. I love everything about the character of Kylo Ren and Adam Driver’s performance. Harrison Ford did not disappoint as Han Solo; he was as roguish as ever and it was clear the writers did their best with the character. The best part of this film is definitely its near flawless pacing. The special effects, dialogue, and action were all great as well.
5. Star Wars: Return of the Jedi
While the third entry in the original trilogy is the weakest, it still is a great film. Everything with Luke and Vader is really well done and seeing Vader sacrifice himself for his son was beautiful. The lightsaber battle between them & the Emperor’s introduction was great as well. The first act in Jabba’s Palace was a little cheesy and didn’t make much sense, but it was still really fun and a classic Star Wars adventure. Unlike many others, I don’t find the Ewoks annoying, and I think their lack of dialogue helped them be more tolerable. However, it made no sense how the Ewoks were able to defeat stormtroopers with just rocks and pellets at the end of the film. I also didn’t like Han as much because he lacked his bad temper and his suaveness; he was sidelined. But this is still a great movie and (was once) a perfect ending to the saga.
4. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
Unlike Solo, this movie was actually needed. Rogue One fixed the massive plot hole in Episode 4 of why there was a severe weak point built into the Death Star. What I love about it beyond that is the film didn’t play it safe, and it took risks without damaging the franchise. Spoilers, but all of the main characters die in the end trying to get the Death Star plans to the rebels. It was a bold move that truly left an impact since it was unexpected to many viewers. Some people argue the movie is bad because the characters aren’t well-developed, but it isn’t about the characters. The movie focuses on the decisions & sacrifices make during war and the morality behind them. I also love how in this film, war was gritty, brutal, and devastating, unlike the other movies where it was simply explosions and fun space battles. Additionally, the ending scene with Darth Vader is one of the greatest scenes in Star Wars history; it was satisfying to finally see Vader lash out and be that powerful monster. My problem with the movie is that it sometimes dragged during the second act, but it picked up during the final act.
3. Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith
If I only had one word to describe this film, it would be “epic,” since the story might be the best in the franchise. The infamous Order 66 scene where the Jedi are tragically exterminated is stunning and brilliantly executed. Ewan McGregor as Obi-Wan gave the best performance in Star Wars history in my opinion, and Ian McDiarmid gave the second best as Palpatine. While the dialogue in the first two prequels was abysmal, the dialogue in this film is exponentially better (but still a bit flawed). Obi-Wan’s extremely quotable “You were the chosen one!” monologue at the end of the movie in particular was well written and masterfully performed. The pain and misery McGregor displayed added so much to the movie. But all of Palpatine’s dialogue was fantastic, whether it was his Darth Plagueis monologue, or the “Do it!” line, or his speech when he became Emperor. I also love John Williams’ score, especially the “Battle of the Heroes” piece. My only legitimate critique is Hayden Christensen’s performance, once again. He wasn’t atrocious like he was in “Attack of the Clones,” but there were times where the viewer can’t help but cringe when he delivers a line or makes a facial expression. Nonetheless, I still adore this movie and think it’s extremely underrated.
2. Star Wars: A New Hope
This is the movie that made me love movies. The story behind the making of this film is truly inspiring. A young, bold writer/director scrambling to make a film with a budget that’s too low and a cast & crew that laughs at the film as they work. Rewrites & reshoots cursed the film’s production, but somehow George Lucas, John Williams, and the editing team saved this movie during post-production and turned it into one of the most fun and rewatchable films ever made. The beautiful score, exciting action, flawless special effects, compelling characters, and George Lucas’ incredible world-building makes this one of the greatest sci-fi and fantasy films of all time.
1. Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back
What can I say that already hasn’t been said? The lightsaber fight between Luke & Vader might be my favorite in all of Star Wars (it’s between that and Obi-Wan vs. Anakin in Revenge of the Sith). Irvin Kershner’s direction, the cinematography, and Lawrence Kasdan’s dialogue were the best in the saga. The old & new characters were well-fleshed out and the world-building was as impeccable as the film before it. This is a true classic with one of the greatest twists in cinema history, and it might just be the best sequel ever made.