NOTE: This was written prior to the release of Episode VII.
It’s almost time for Star Wars: The Force Awakens, so keep away from all spoiler-ific social media and sit back and enjoy my ranking of all six episodes of the franchise.
6. Episode II: Attack of the Clones
It was a mess. It felt so disconnected from a Star Wars film that I would forget it existed if it wasn’t so terrible. That’s the most memorable thing about it when I saw it at age 12 I thought, “What a bunch of garbage.” Padme and Anakin? BLECK! The Yoda versus Dooku was pretty awesome but it was far too late to save anything of the previous 130 minutes.
5. Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
I think I rate this film so poorly because it felt like such a chore to go back into the theater and watch it. It probably is the strongest of the prequels but from minute one it had to fight for my attention and appreciation and it never fully got there. It is the most interesting because watching Anakin fall to the dark side was a big deal and a few moments in the film connect with the actual franchise more than the previous two, but it’s not enough to rank any higher.
4. Episode I: The Phantom Menace
Controversial! Again, I tend to rank movies based on how I felt when I saw them. When Menace came out I was 10 years old. I had never seen Star Wars in a movie theater, but rather on an old TV in my living room while my dad napped and my mom barked that I wasn’t old enough. I was going to see it in a real theater! I was about the same age as little Anakin and watching him podrace was awesome. I knew that Jar Jar was annoying and that I was terrified of Darth Maul. Watching the film in later years I realize that it’s not as magical as it once was, but it’s still the best memory of the prequels that I have.
3. Episode VI: Return of the Jedi
Ewoks, you guys! Who knew such fuzzy little critters could be so polarizing? Anyways, Jedi is still a good movie. It’s an inoffensive conclusion to the series that neither retracted or furthered the depths of the Star Wars mythos. It’s there, and that’s fine.
2. Episode IV: A New Hope
Aw, the feels. The first film is a charming tale of adventure and lore and it sucks you in from the get-go. It’s the first time you met friends like Luke and Han and they were forever a part of your life. The movie changed the history of cinema and fans everywhere. It’s a deliciously feel-good movie where we root for the good guys but are still so fascinated by the bad. It’s simply a classic.
1. Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
It’s dark and gritty and reeks of perfection. Empire is so emotional. We’re happy, sad, confused and shocked and each emotion ebbs so effortlessly into the next. It’s not choppy or slow. It moves at the ideal pace from one memorable scene to the next. It’s like a highlight reel of Star Wars. Each character sealed their legendary status in the film and dialogue would be quoted, and misquoted, for decades to come.
Let me know how each film ranks for you!
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