With Rogue One: A Star Wars Story opening this weekend, we thought it would be a good idea to rank the films we know and love (and hate) from worst to best. And while some of our picks may be a little contentious, there are a few that have definitive spots on this list.
7. Episode II: Attack of the Clones
It’s a well-known fact that Attack of the Clones is the absolute worst. Some say this movie is better than The Phantom Menace because of its focus on action sequences, but there’s a lot going wrong in it for one film (Episode 2.5 Hack of the Clunes?). Between the awkward romance between Anakin and Padme, and Anakin’s terrible hairstyle choices, there are few redeeming qualities—all of which are awarded to Obi-Wan. The takeaway from this movie? Anakin really hates sand.
6. Episode I: The Phantom Menace
The Phantom Menace is not much better than Attack of the Clones, but we do get the pod racers and one of the best lightsaber battles of the entire series, so here we are in second-to-last place. Otherwise, all the viewer gets out of this movie is Politics: in Space and the mess that is known as Jar-Jar Binks. There’s not much more to say about this film aside from, “it could have been better.”
5. Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
While Revenge of the Sith is universally recognized as the best of the prequels, it still manages to come in fifth overall. It may seem harsh that all three of the prequels are at the bottom of the totem pole; but that’s exactly where they belong. This film inspired several amazing comic books, but was not great itself. So at least it served a purpose.
4. Episode V: Empire Strikes Back
Like every second movie, it is difficult to be better than the first. Empire Strikes Back has several iconic moments to reflect upon, but because of its place in the trilogy, there was a lot of work to be done. Second movies are notorious for tying up the loose ends of the first movie while also setting up the climax for the next film, meaning most of the film is stuck in setup mode. Lucas let up on the reigns in this film and allowed collaborators to punch up the script which truly grounded the characters, meaning they can only get better from here.
3. Episode IV: A New Hope
It would be impossible to rank the Star Wars films and not have A New Hope be in the top three. You get it all with this movie: the call to action, the buddy bonding, and a giant exploding Death Star at the end to tie it up. The only drawbacks are in the small details that give away that Lucas hadn’t pinned down the character’s personalities before film started rolling.
2. Episode VI: Return of the Jedi
Probably a controversial place for episode VI due to the overwhelming use of Ewoks. Otherwise, this movie is near perfection. It has a compelling story, great dialogue, and the payoff from the previous films. On top of that, the showdown between Luke and Darth Vader had a satisfying ending, something viewers get less and less in modern cinema.
1. Episode VII: The Force Awakens
To anyone who is a long-time fan of the space opera, it may seem strange that the newest segment of the saga holds first place. To be fair, this is a ranking by the On-Site team, and the entire company watched this film together on opening night. Critics may say it’s a rehash of the original movie, but we think it’s a fresh start for the franchise and the catharsis the world needed to move on from the prequels. The Force Awakens is a promising beginning for the next chapter in Star Wars history.