Ranking My Favorite Star Wars Movies (Skywalker Saga Edition)

These are stressful times, and one of my go-to comforts is rewatching the Star Wars movies. I have a deep and abiding love for the Star Wars universe, so doing a dive into the films is the mental equivalent of relaxing in a hot tub for me.

As such, I thought I would go over and rank my favorite movies.

However, when I first contemplated writing this post, I realized with a rise of horror that there is no way to subjectively rank these movies. (Yes, you heard me right, I said subjectively. I’m a Below Average reviewer, okay? Being objective about my geeky loves is nigh impossible.) I love each and every Star Wars movie, but I love them for very different reasons. My love for, let’s say, Attack of the Clones is far removed from my love for The Empire Strikes Back.

Therefore, I needed to come up with a way to rank my favorite Star Wars movies that wouldn’t make my heart explode with indecision.

And so I made brackets. That’s right. Brackets.

I’m going to bracket the nine films of the Skywalker Saga into the originals, the prequels, and the sequels, and rank them accordingly.

Side note: Just because I’m not talking about Solo or Rogue One does not mean I do not adore them. I frickin’ love those movies.

Let’s do this!

The Prequels

I think if I were to be objective, I could argue that the prequels are the worst of the Star Wars franchise. The acting and the dialogue felt stilted, the plot was terribly contrived, and who can forget Jar Jar Binks.

However, to this day, the prequels never fail to put a smile on my face with how ridiculous they were. No other Star Wars films lend themselves so well to making meme-worthy material. Plus, while the dialogue often sounds godawful, it is incredibly quotable. I might have hated Anakin Skywalker’s sand diatribe/pick-up lines with a passion, but I can remember them word for word. And the music for the prequels was fantastic. Perhaps the best scores of the entire franchise.

So, without further ado…

3. Revenge of the Sith

In last place comes Episode III. All of these rankings were tough choices to make, but I knew from the get-go that this would be my “least favorite” of the prequels. Before the movie came out, I read this novelization by Matthew Stover, and it was superb. If you’ve never read it before, I highly recommend it. It’s actually right up there with my favorite Star Wars novels.

The thing is, the novelization did such a great job telling the story of Revenge of the Sith, the film itself could not compare. I was let down by the movie, especially when it took such serious subject matters and made them seem laughable.

Still, this movie gave me my all-time favorite one-liners, including those brief quotes from Chancellor Palpatine. “Power! Unlimited power!

2. The Phantom Menace

I saw The Phantom Menace when I was really young, so a lot of the “politics” of certain situations went right over my head. I had no idea what was going on between the Trade Federation and Naboo, why people couldn’t stop the invasion, or what the heck was this Senate. As a result, I viewed Episode I as the “boring” Star Wars for the longest time.

However, it gave me podracing (which I thought was really cool) and the most epic lightsaber battle I had ever seen. When “Duel of the Fates” started to play and Darth Maul appeared, I forgave the movie for most of its sins. The only thing that ruins that fight for me is the knowledge that I’d never see/feel its like again.

And while the disparity between how ships and technology look like from the prequels to the originals is gargantuan, I have to admit, I fell for that sleek Nubian royal starship like you wouldn’t believe.

1. Attack of the Clones

The “romance” between Anakin and Padme is one of the cringiest things I’ve ever seen in a movie.

And I love it.

It is so incredibly awkward, unlifelike, and creepy that I love it. When considering this list, I initially thought to put Attack of the Clones at the rear of its bracket. But upon further reflection, I realized that nothing beats the sheer hilarity of Anakin’s stalker behavior and winning over of Senator Amidala.

I think Episode II is one of the most uncomfortable Star Wars movies to watch, which inadvertently makes it my most favored of the prequels.

Though, to be fair, it does have some fun action sequences.

The Sequels

I know there were many people who were disappointed by the sequel trilogy. It did not live up to the expectations of prequel lovers or original lovers. However, I found myself thoroughly enjoying most aspects of the sequel films.

For me, at the end of the day, my love of Star Wars is rooted in my love of the universe. Anything that gives me more time in the universe already has a leg up on my affections.

Besides, I can’t hate on anything that gave me Babu Frik. I couldn’t call myself a fan at that point.

3. The Last Jedi

The major thing that bothers me about The Last Jedi is the structure of the movie. Call me a basic bitch, but I like a simple three-act structure. Beginning sets up the characters and the plot, the middle is full of rising tension, there’s a climax, and then a resounding ending.

While deviations from this structure can be exciting, The Last Jedi did not do it for me. Is the climax when Rey fights with Kylo Ren against the Praetorian guard? Or is it when Rose saves Finn’s life by crashing her ski speeder into his? Or is it when Kylo Ren confronts ghostly Luke? The story drags a tad for me, and Canto Bight felt unnecessary.

Plus, the Admiral Holdo/Poe Dameron subplot irritated me. It was one of those simple moments where just reassuring people under her command with confirmation that she has a plan would have erased that whole conflict.

That said, I love Porgs. Those eyes ripped into my heart. And those strange moments between Kylo Ren and Rey felt charged as heck. I held my breath in theaters every time they talked through that connection because I was waiting for some other shoe to drop. And that lightsaber fight between them was kick-ass.

2. The Force Awakens

I was so pumped to see this movie. It marked the first time I could camp outside of a movie theater to see a Star Wars film. And while it did not meet every single one of my expectations, it did satisfy that need.

Its biggest flaw is how closely it adheres to the plot points set out by the original Star Wars. I was not so engrossed with giddiness while watching that I couldn’t notice that.

I mostly enjoy The Force Awakens for the little things. The fact that the previews and movie poster trick you into thinking Finn will be the “Jedi character,” but it ends up being Rey. The cool effect of Rey making her weird portion square turn into a piece of bread. The way that Han Solo says, “That’s not how the Force works!”

The Force Awakens gave me characters I knew I could fall in love with if I just spent more time with them.

1. The Rise of Skywalker

Feel free to call me crazy. Or stupid. Bear in mind that I’ve called my blog The Below Average Blog. I know what I’m like.

Nonetheless, The Rise of Skywalker is my favorite of the sequel trilogy.

Does it have its flaws?

Hell yes. Gaping flaws. It comes across as a rushed mess of a movie that reverses decisions made while making The Last Jedi while hastily covering up any discrepancies that caused haphazardly.

But I still love it.

This movie doubled down on lightsaber fights, introduced Babu Frik into my life, made C-3PO my all-time favorite Star Wars character, and ended with a nostalgic and resounding space-battle victory.

But perhaps the one thing it gave me that I had wanted since The Force Awakens was time between Poe, Finn, and Rey. If The Rise of Skywalker hadn’t delivered on that front, I might not have had as many positive feelings about it as I do. But seeing the three leads going on an adventure together was my bottom-line, I-demand-this desire for the sequels.

The Originals

Damn. This was tough. Tougher than tough. I rolled between the three original Star Wars films with more anxiety than an arachnophobic person walking through a spider exhibit.

But after much time and hair-pulling indecision, I finally ranked them.

It’s tough to decide which of three perfect films you like more.

3. Return of the Jedi

I love Return of the Jedi. It was the best way to end the original trilogy. Luke finally confronted his father, we got to meet the cuddly Ewoks, and Darth Vader saving the day made for a memorable conclusion.

However, this ranks at the bottom of my originals bracket (oof, it hurts to type that), simply because it feels a tad weird to have a second Death Star crop up like a reused tactic from the Empire.

But seriously, I’m not even that mad about it.

I just needed something to justify the ranking.

2. The Empire Strikes Back

The “darkest” Star Wars film was my number one movie for the longest time. I would watch it on repeat for hours just to see the big twist over and over again.

Episode V gave fans so much to love, from Yoda to AT-ATs to Lando Calrissian to the unforgettable revelation that Luke’s dad is Vader. It’s honestly probably the best of the original trilogy given how much it gave to us and how bold it was at the same time.

However, I’m going to place it in second simply because that cliffhanger ending is a killer.

1. A New Hope

I have a special place in my heart for beginnings. Origin stories are the best. This is the one that started them all. It created the universe without getting bogged down in exposition. It simply showed us a story. And in so doing, gave us one of the most memorable sci-fi franchises of all time.

George Lucas really followed the hero’s journey archetypes to a tee, but there ‘s a reason those archetypes became archetypes. For the most part, they work.

I will never forget what it was like to watch this movie for the first time. My Tia Kaki (my aunt) gathered my sister and me to watch it together when we were sleeping over at her house. She would whisper the lines to us right after they were spoken. (Like whenever ghost Obi-Wan would say, “Use the Force, Luke!”) The three of us together got swept up into that galaxy far, far away, and I don’t think I’ve ever fully come back.

16 thoughts on “Ranking My Favorite Star Wars Movies (Skywalker Saga Edition)”

  1. Any ranking of films is always very personal — and can change.

    For me, though, The Last Jedi may well be the best of the films (apart from Rogue One, of course — Rogue One was superb). And, of course, A New Hope, which I saw before it was called A New Hope and, when I saw it, I had never seen anything like it.

    I’m currently (very slowly) working through The Clone Wars cartoons which are remarkably good.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahaha if I had included Rogue One in the rankings, it would have been my number one of the new Star Wars films. It was such a love letter to the original trilogy.

      The Last Jedi gets better for me over time. Honestly, I adore every Star Wars film. So it’s just incredibly hard picking which one I like the most.

      Have you seen The Mandalorian?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’ve not seen The Mandalorian as yet — we don’t have Disney+

        That said, I’ve heard so many good things about it that I’m sure I will end up seeing it one way or another.

        Like

  2. However, Iā€™m going to place it in second simply because that cliffhanger ending is a killer.

    I was at an early showing of that film in London. A friend of mine who’d seen it the night before revealed that Vader was Luke’s father before I went, but at the time I wasn’t so invested in the story that the revelation spoiled anything for me. What I do recall, vividly, however, is that cliffhanger. Knowing I’d have to wait three years for the denouement was a killer.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve heard horror stories from friends of mine who saw it in theaters about that ending. It was never a big deal for me because I saw it on VHS when I was a kid and could easily move on to the next film. But I can only imagine what it must have been like for those who had to endure that nail-biting wait.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh my. Interesting picks. I’ve never known anyone to put Revenge of the Sith below Phantom Menace or Attack of the Clones, but I totally understand your justification. It’s all personal preference after all, and I think you’ve explained your position on each film well.

    I think A New Hope is about the only one we agree on, hah! It’s just masterpiece that never fails to make me smile.

    The Rise of Skywalker is easily my least favourite. Watching it was just painful for me. I hated the ridiculous bombast (i.e. JJ Abrams’s pathological need to cram a thousand things into every shot, and how he threw a million “Super” Star Destroyers into the final stand in a lame attempt to raise the stakes, but in effect just destroyed any sense of scale; [plus Starkiller Base is even lamer than a second Death Star]), the scattered focus (let’s spend 90% of the runtime racing between planets collecting McGuffins), the awkward retcons, the insane editing, the universe-breaking new Jedi abilities, the instantly reversed ‘deaths’, the frustrating and nonsensical inclusion of Palpatine (and the implications this has on the OT). It felt like a soulless, overly reactionary corporate movie. I didn’t really like Last Jedi much either, but at least I respect it for having a vision and the cajones to try some polarising things, unlike Rise.

    Attack of the Clones is also pretty low for me, but more in like a harmlessly dumb kind of way. I don’t bear it any ill will šŸ™‚ Plus the stuff with Jango Fett and the Clone Army is so cool it practically elevates the entire film.

    My uncommon hot takes are that I absolutely LOVE everything about Return of the Jedi (even the Endor stuff). Plus The Phantom Menace is my favourite Prequel movie by far. Even Jar Jar doesn’t bother me. I agree that Pod Racing is particularly awesome, and VERY quintessentially Star Wars.

    It’s awesome that this franchise still evokes so much passion after all this years. As a semi-related aside, did you see the trailer for EA’s new Star Wars game? It looks pretty cool!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, I realized when I wrote up this list that I was making some verrrrry unpopular choices. I second-guessed myself so many times. When I was first typing it, The Phantom Menace was at the top of the Prequels section because I honestly think it’s the best-crafted film. But then I realized I wanted the whole post to be more about personal preference than actual…well…reviewing. And that changed things šŸ˜‚

      Rise of Skywalker definitely was a cash-grab, rush-the-plot-along, rehashed-story of a movie. But for some reason, I just enjoyed the heck out of it. You can totally call me crazy because I’m aware of how bad it is.

      And YES, I’ve heard about Squadrons. I got super excited…but then I remembered…EA. So I’m remaining cautiously hopeful. Fingers crossed they give it the Fallen Order treatment and not the Battlefront II disaster.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yay! Another closet Phantom Menace fan! I have really fond memories of seeing it in the cinemas with my dad when it first came out. I just think it’s wholesome fun (other than the Trade Federation junk).

        Sorry that I always chime in with overlong and overly cynical opinions all the time. I realise how obnoxious that must come across. I’m just really passionate about games and movies and enjoy the discussion! I like how your takes are always fair and balanced, and never negative for the sake of it.

        Re: Squadrons, I’m not super into the space combat stuff, but it looks excellent. It’s a lower-priced game with no microtransactions, so I think it’s fair to say EA has learned their lesson from Battlefront 2. Fallen Order looks very good too. I can’t wait to get around to playing that eventually!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Are you kidding me? Your comments are one of my favorites to respond to! The enjoyment of discussing my favorite games and movies is what got me into blogging in the first place, and you’re exactly the kind of person I’m so happy I got to “meet” because of it.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I watched Rise of Skywalker recently and just enjoyed it for what it is. Same as The Last Jedi. Good fun popcorn entertainment. I don’t quite get the fans who dissect the films like they’re some great Solzhenitsyn epic or whatever.

    I should imagine Disney will find a new way to create more Star Wars films, so we’ve probably got another trilogy in a decade or so.

    OR! How about prequels to the prequels!? Yeah!?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t think I’ve cry-laughed so much as when I read your “Solzhenitsyn epic” comparison!

      You’re right. I feel like “fandoms” have gone out of their way to tear apart cheesy blockbusters far too often. Sometimes entertainment should just be…entertaining?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Sneeze-laughing is one of the oddest experience I had recently. You need to be brave to take on that challenge.

        And exactly! Just good old entertaining works fine by me. And Rise of Skywalker did just that.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I also saw Phantom Menace as a kid and consequently view it (and the whole of Star Wars) as boring for the longest time because of it, so it’s definitely one of the worst… fortunately I got over that šŸ˜‰ haha love your reasons for liking attack of the clones (got to admit those are all the reasons I never finished it). I agree that Last Jedi is a mess structurally. Definitely dragged for me as well. Force Awakens fulfilled my need for a Star Wars movie too šŸ˜€ I can actually understand liking Rise of the Skywalker- even though I never bothered to watch it (I was too put off by the Last Jedi to care where the characters ended up, so I just spoiled it for myself) it sounds like it delivered on the nostalgia and had a more positive vibe. I completely get your order for the originals as well (tbh any order works for me there) Awesome post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m so glad it wasn’t just me who thought The Phantom Menace was a tad on the boring side! I was such a little kid when I saw it, that the only time I really enjoyed it was during the podracing and the final lightsaber duel.

      Liked by 1 person

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