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Rank the Star Wars Movies (so far).

Hutch

Strata Poster
with the Disney acquisition, Star Wars Rebels, The Clone Wars (movie), The Clone Wars (TV), and Star Wars Resistance are officially canon and "in" the universe.
Weren't those always canon? Specifically in the case of the Clone Wars?

It's also worth mentioning the 2003 2D miniseries Star Wars: Clone Wars. That was originally canon however Disney dismissed it from canon after the acquisition. Shame it's not official as it had some cool stuff, especially that sweet introduction of General Grevious.
 

Pokemaniac

Mountain monkey
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Oh wow, I haven't been in here in a while, have I?

Anyway, the Rise of Skywalker. I saw it, and I liked it. Then I thought about it for some time, and the cracks started showing. And, well, the cracks are actually rather gaping in hindsight.

It was a spectacular movie. That it, it involved a lot of spectacle. It went from one action-filled scene to the next, never really taking the time to breathe or reflect on stuff, and I suspect that those reflections would have revealed how poorly the plot was strung together. It feels like it tried instead to be so flashy and noisy that people didn't notice the discrepancies while they were watching it, and banked on them not thinking it through afterwards.

So while I was watching Episode 9, I didn't think too much about it. But in hindsight, it's not a movie I'm in a hurry to see again. It's not a Trilogy I'm in a hurry to see again. Because, well, the whole thing kinda fell flat. Disney barged into the new trilogy without any sort of plan (beyond "let's make craploads of money!!!") and oh, it shows. It was a tug-of-war between two directors. The first film sets up a bunch of questions the second explicitly tells us aren't important, then the third film has to invent a new plot so it can end on a high note. Neither the good guys nor the bad guys are built up very well (with the exception of the lead goodie and the lead baddie). Who the heck are the First Order? I think Snoke will be remembered purely because he was so poorly pulled off:
Ep. 7: "Who's this mysterious, powerful Sith lord?"
Ep. 8: "Some dude in a bathrobe. And now he's dead."
Ep. 9: "Actually, he was just a random pawn for the big baddie, who has returned from the Original Trilogy without any explanation or foreshadowing whatsoever!"

Relying so heavily on Original Trilogy iconography robbed the Sequel Trilogy of an identity as well. Say whatever you want about the Prequels, but at least they had their own distinct visuals. Battle droids are instantly recognizable, the Clone Troopers clearly are a distant precursor to Stormtroopers, Darth Maul was the coolest bad guy ever (and killed off early enough not to receive any corny dialogue - let's face it, the way those movies were written, more screen time would not have done him a favour), Coruscant was an instantly recognizable and iconic location, and there wasn't a planet-killing superweapon in sight. But the Sequel Trilogy had the First Order command legions of Stormtroopers and TIE fighters operating from Star Destroyers, while rebel X-wings and the Millennium Falcon were battling them. Ground battles involve AT-AT variants. We saw all that in the original movies, what's new here? Apart from the slightly new paint job on the new iterations of the spaceships so they can be sold as separate toys? Something similar can be said about many of the characters: Luke, Leia, Han, Lando, Chewbacca, and suddenly the Emperor. Characters that received little build-up in the new movies because all that defined them had been said and done already. They came, said their lines, and then we learned their depressing fates. Well, most of them, at least. They probably reserved the rest for tie-in books, comics and video games. But if you want movies where these characters have arcs, well, watch the originals. The sequels don't add anything essential to any of their characters. Well, maybe except C-3PO. He finally got to see some action and play a role. That bit was well pulled off, at least.

But yeah, I don't see the sequel trilogy lasting very long in the public consciousness. It tried too hard to ride the iconography of the original movies, banking too heavily on nostalgia. The new and original things it did weren't very well pulled off. Rian Johnson tried to do something original, which might have been a good idea in principle but it was horribly timed. A lot of stuff was already set up and had to be discarded, and setting up new stuff in the middle of the trilogy gave no time for it to develop before the resolution. It would have been hard to pull off even if Johnson had directed Ep. 9 as well. You can't create a new beginning in the middle act of a three-act setup without having to rush to the end. And then Abrams wanted something different again, meaning that he had to squeeze three acts of an overarching story into one movie. Cue Palpatine Ex Machina, while other characters from the trilogy (most notably: Rose and Captain Phasma) were just tossed aside to make room for this plot. The untimely death of Carrie Fisher made the chaos complete, but the situation was pretty difficult after Episode 8 already.

Overall, the lack of planning is what defines this trilogy for me. Episode 7 was a little too focused on "Being Star Wars", as in, following the format of Episode IV, to set up a wider conflict. Episode 8 took things in a too radical direction by discarding most of what little setup there was. Episode 9 tried to undo all of that while wrapping up the trilogy, except there wasn't much to wrap up in the first place and so it had to pull something out of nowhere and then hurry to conclude it. Heck, the First Order was defeated in a montage, because the focus suddenly shifted to killing the Emperor, a character that had been well and truly dead until this very movie.

I made a post in the topic for the Rise of the Resistance ride about this too, because the lack of planning is evident. The ride presents General Hux and Kylo Ren as the big bad guys. By the time the ride could open, the last movie was out (and seen by everyone who would have an interest in the ride) and it portrayed Kylo Ren as ultimately a good guy, while Hux died betraying the First Order. The actual bad guys of the trilogy are nowhere to be seen on the ride, because they weren't even conceptualized when the ride was designed. And now Disney is stuck with a ride that somewhat poorly represents a trilogy without much staying power, and it's an attraction they've spent hundreds of millions of dollars on.

So to conclude: The whole trilogy was poorly planned and lacked overall direction. Episode 7 played it too safe, Episode 8 departed from the setup when it really shouldn't have, and Episode 9 had to struggle to make something coherent out of it all - and in my opinion, it failed. It was an impossible task. The previous two movies had made a gap that couldn't be bridged smoothly by a single movie. After Episode 8 they should have re-evaluated the idea of a trilogy. The biggest flaw of Episode 9 was being a single movie that had to wrap up a trilogy. It was a fundamental flaw whose result was, really, inevitable.


But hey, at least it seems like they have exhausted the material from the Original Trilogy by now. The next movies ought to be more original than this trilogy was, simply because they don't have many options left. It'll be interesting to see what happens. At any rate, I don't think Disney will be content with letting Episode 9 be the final word. Star Peace wouldn't sell merchandise.
 

Hyde

I Lied About My Age!
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Weren't those always canon? Specifically in the case of the Clone Wars?

It's also worth mentioning the 2003 2D miniseries Star Wars: Clone Wars. That was originally canon however Disney dismissed it from canon after the acquisition. Shame it's not official as it had some cool stuff, especially that sweet introduction of General Grevious.
Sorry for the 1 year delay in responding :p

The short answer is yes. The long answer is when they were coming out, many movie purists resisted wanting the animated runs to be considered an integral part of the story. But as Disney has tightened their grasp on the franchise, and is now directly integrating Clone Wars, Rebels, and soon-to-come Bad Bunch into the Star Wars story fabric; they are borderline required reads now if you want the full story of the live action series.

Here's my rankings from ~1 year ago after Mandalorian Season 1:

1. Empire Strikes Back - Yes, it is the best Star Wars movie for advancing plot and providing good depth to the 4-6 story arc.
2. Last Jedi - While Force Awakens carried an aura of rediscovering the franchise, Last Jedi provided further build-in of the third story arc and let us get to know the new cast even more. Really enjoyed the weaving of stories and reverse of archetype from jedi-trainings and rebels-outrunning-empire of old - cinematography of Rian Johnson was also top notch. I hope others will appreciate the movie more once Star Wars 9 is released, as this really moved the story from the Force Awakens reboot. If this were a simple regurgitation of Empire Strikes Back (As Force Awakens was for A New Hope) - I feel the fan hate would be very real.
3. A New Hope - Bumping this up, now thinking more through the general story of Star Wars. I mean, how can you not like A New Hope?
4. Rogue One - So I've bumped this up: this is a damn good Star Wars movie, especially for showing more of the war element for the Rebel Alliance. I also loved how they lean into the lack of Jedis as an important story arc, while also creating my new favorite Star Wars character, Chirrut Imwe.
5. Force Awakens - This movie carried even more pressure than Episode 1 for delivering a good story and set pace for the 7-9 story arc. Yes, it's a straight archetype rip of A New Hope... but it also did not disappoint for visual and story work.
6. The Mandalorian - Overall, this was a very well written, clever TV series that kept me on the edge of my seat, both through Jon Favreau's great story telling ability and wanting to learn more about bounty hunters and the origins of Baby Yoda. Spoiler It's clear Disney has a multi-season plan for the series, with ALL the questions raised in Season 1 that were very unanswered. So while I really enjoyed the style of show Mando was, I can't definitively call it brilliant knowing there's a lot more story to come. So, overall enjoyed the series, and stick an asterisks in this as we have far more story to come
7. Return of the Jedi - I just really love the Battle of the Second Death Star.
8. Rise of Skywalker - Oh JJ, you have never been known as a strong closer. I believe the movie did justice to the saga. I believe it helped wrap up the Skywalker story pretty well. I enjoyed a number of moments, found myself on the edge of my seat, yada yada (or is it Yoda Yoda?). BUT, I also recognize this was not as strong a close as we've seen in Return of the Jedi and Revenge of the Sith. Abrams' directing style often involves glossing over details, throwing the viewer into the action (think Star Trek reboot, Super 8, Lost) and focusing more on key drivers of characters vs. painting the entire scene. The movie would have been better if it zoomed out a bit more, go in deeper dialogue with other characters, elongate the dogfight/action sequences. At the end, this entire new trilogy really did revolve around Kylo and Rey; I would have liked to get to know more nuanced details of the Star Wars universe along the way however. It was very good, however.
9. Revenge of the Sith - My favorite of the prequels... but that isn't saying a lot.
10. Solo Movie - Gah, I wanted to love this one so much. There was a lot going for it: good acting, intriguing background plot, old Star Wars era stormtroopers and regalia. The plot just felt bogged down however. You mean to tell me that is how Solo and Chewie met!? The plot twist also felt a bit of a stretch for who the true master villain was... and I do not want to go down the rabbit hole of Star Wars animated series to find out more. Would gladly watch again, and still ahead of the prequels - just a bit haggard of a story.
11. Phantom Menace - Redeemed for having Qui-gon Jinn.
12. Attack of the Clones - Crap acting, horrible love story, and Hayden Christensen can suck it.

I still roughly stand by this ranking - there are a few like Rogue One/A New Hope that can easily flip thanks to strengths of the movies. I write this on the eve of the final Mandalorian Season 2 episode, but expect Mando to hold it's solid position; the storytelling is just soooo good, and I love the way they've really expanded the periphery of the galaxy.

I have also begun the endeavor of watching the Clone Wars TV Series, with Mandalorian watching guide to cut the fat and focus on the most critical story-plots that cross over to Mandalorian, Solo, etc. Because damn, there are some bad episodes. I'll report back with more thoughts once I'm further in - I expect it to be a low ranker, as I'm really just here for general background on characters/stuff from Mandalorian.
 

davidm

Strata Poster
^ I'm working my way thru all of the Clone Wars (lockdown boredom) am between S4 and S5 just now - and my view so far is that any episode with Anakin in it is a bad episode.
 

Pokemaniac

Mountain monkey
Staff member
Administrator
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Looks like I haven't updated the list I wrote on page 2, which is more than four years (and three Star Wars movies) ago. Might as well try to update it with my new impressions:

  1. The Empire Strikes Back. A great sequel to build on the first movie, showing how there's still a war left to fight after winning the battle of Yavin. The characters develop in various new directions too. Luke receives his training, Han Solo meets an unfortunate fate, Vader has his father-son talk, and the Millennium Falcon has to escape the Imperial Fleet. Among other things. Solid movie. Bonus points for having its opening scenes filmed in Norway.
  2. A New Hope. The original that kicked it all off. A very good movie, although slightly outclassed by its first sequel. More than forty years later, it still remains THE pop culture example of a "hero's journey", showing how well it was put together.
  3. Rogue One. The original odd one out, but not a bad movie at all. A worthy addition to the Star Wars saga, which strengthens A New Hope in several aspects. Seeing the Death Star and the power of Rebel weaponry in a full-blown special effects bonanza leagues beyond what was possible in the seventies is a major highlight, but it's a very solid movie otherwise as well. I can't rate it above the original two, though.
  4. The Mandalorian. Star Wars from a ground level perspective. The Mandalorian plays on a smaller scale than the movies do, and it's actually kind of refreshing to see a Star Wars story that doesn't let the fate of the galaxy hinge on the main hero. The galaxy ambles on, while the Mandalorian does his things far from the important battles and political decisions. The attention to detail is top notch too.
  5. Return of the Jedi. Still a very good Star Wars movie, although some points are detracted for doing the whole Death Star plot again. I guess this was where one of the main problems of Star Wars became apparent: the tendency for the story to fall into the same rut with an Imperial superweapon the underdog heroes have to destroy. It has been the core plot point of four movies to date, not counting Rogue One. Still in the better half of the list, though.
  6. The Phantom Menace. Moving this one up a bit. I think it's a bit of a guilty pleasure to me, as it was the first Star Wars film I watched. In retrospect, I recognise its bad acting, bad pacing, lack of coherent story and some rather questionable character/directing choices, but it is too imbued with nostalgia to place further down the list. Besides, I think the next movies are worse. Also, it has a pretty epic lightsaber duel, and one of the series' most memorable bad guys in Darth Maul (whom I used to think was killed off to early, but I now recognize he was around for just long enough to leave his impression and not ruin it by corny dialogue).
  7. Solo. Oh, yes, this was a thing. What kind of thing? Not sure if I remember, certainly sure I don't care. It has a bad case of the "prequel problem": you know from the onset that the characters you already know are going to make it, and the ones you don't know won't leave a lasting impact. It's a well-made movie when seen in isolation, but it does not leave an impact at all. It's not good enough to be good, not bad enough to be bad, it's just a thing that happened.
  8. The Force Awakens. It's moved down one spot since the last list, relative to the other movies I listed then, but that movement is also across the line between "good Star Wars" and "bad Star Wars", so my impression has worsened more significantly than it may appear. Per se it's not a bad movie, but it plays too much like a repeat of A New Hope (sometimes being very explicit about it, too), and it did far too little to set up the sequel trilogy. The lack of an overarching plot is much more glaring in hindsight. It never bothers to tell where The First Order came from or what they are about, nor how the heroes plan to face them.
  9. Revenge of the Sith. Poorly acted, directed and written. I wonder if the actors ever saw sunlight during its filming, there are too many greenscreen scenes to count. Effects fly everywhere, filling every frame. And our main character is completely unlikeable. All around an unpleasant movie.
  10. The Last Jedi. A movie with interesting ideas but horrible timing. It did not follow up The Force Awakens very well, and it ruined any setup for Rise of Skywalker. Sure, taking Star Wars in a new direction might have been a good idea in principle, but this really was not the right time to do so.
  11. Attack of the Clones. Revenge of the Sith may be off the rails, but this was where the derailing really happened. Unconvincing acting, greenscreen effects making constant visual noise in the background, main characters making stupid choices, and another introduce-then-kill villain. And what is its story, again?
  12. Rise of Skywalker. What a mess. "Psych! It was Palpatine all along!" Yeah, that was clearly not planned in advance. Introducing the main villain off-screen might not have been the brightest of ideas either. But what could it do, with the trilogy nearing its end without having had a proper beginning or middle? For a start, have a more intriguing plot than a treasure hunt. Use the villains it already had, instead of making new ones (or, well, cloning old ones). Finish the character arcs of its heroes. Have its "impactful scenes" have actual impact. The movie was already horridly set up, but it somehow decided to ignore what little set-up there was, and instead try to set up and wrap up a lot of important story elements within the span of one movie. It's just a mess, and I decide it's bad enough to consider it the worst of the Star Wars movies. At least Attack of the Clones had some distinct visuals to illustrate its otherwise horrid plot.
 

jj23w

Hyper Poster
Ok here’s my updated one.
1. Empire Strikes Back
2. Return Of The Jedi
3. A New Hope
4. Rogue One
5. Last Jedi
6. Solo
7. Force Awakens
8. Revenge Of The Sith
9. Rise Of Skywalker
10. Phantom Menace
11. Attack Of The Clones
12. Clone Wars

Of course I can’t forget Mandalorian which to me is top tier Star Wars stuff maybe top 3 I love everything about it.
 

JamesMiller31

Roller Poster
1. Star Wars
2. Return of the Jedi
3. Empire Strikes Back
4. Star Wars (New Hope)
5. Solo
6. Rise of the Skywalker
7. Revenge of the Sith
8. The Phantom Menace
9. Attack of the Clones
 
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