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.

The Skywalker Experience: A Sort of Review for the Latest Movie

When Joker came out, I actually bailed on writing a review of it. I had the most tumultuous time after watching that movie and trying to suss out how I felt about it. I didn’t want to touch a review of it with a ten-foot pole.

The Rise of Skywalker came out last week, and it felt almost as divisive as Joker, which kinda freaked me out a bit about reviewing it.

But this is Star Wars we’re talking about here. I love Star Wars.

No way am I not going to talk about how I felt about the supposed end of the Skywalker saga.

Besides, the name of my blog should serve as a disclaimer that I have no idea what I’m talking about and will hopefully deter anybody from getting pissy about what I say. It’s a below average review, people.


So, basically, The Rise of Skywalker ties up the story we started in The Force Awakens. Rey’s journey with her friends is concluded, Kylo Ren’s “villain” arc is resolved, and Palpatine is introduced as the big bad. (Or has he been the big bad from the very beginning?)

With that said as a general overview, it’s time for my thoughts on it, right?

I loved it!

Yup, I’m solidly in the camp of people who enjoyed The Rise of Skywalker. I had so much fun while watching the movie. I’ve seen it in theaters three times, and I probably wouldn’t mind watching it again. For me, it was a blast from start to finish. I was constantly entertained, and, at the end of the day, that’s what I want from my sci-fi-space-wizard films.

If The Last Jedi or The Force Awakens bored you a tad, The Rise of Skywalker won’t. There are these sweeping fights and escapes that seem to happen every ten minutes in the story, and who doesn’t like a good lightsaber fight, am I right? Plus, the callbacks to the original films, the prequel films, and even the prior sequel films, all hit the nail on the head. This movie made me look back fondly on everything that has happened in the Star Wars universe.

That’s not to say that it’s a perfect movie.

The Rise of Skywalker is rushed as fuck. The action is nonstop, so it doesn’t let quiet moments in the story breathe properly. (Tip of the hat to Danny, who worded this perfectly.)

Critics of the movie also appear to dislike it for two major reasons:

  1. It erases the tonal shift and overall plot changes of The Last Jedi.
  2. It makes Force usage and power levels ubiquitous.

To the first critique, yeah, I can see why that’s a complaint. If you adored The Last Jedi, The Rise of Skywalker might tick you off with how casually it dismantles the foundation its predecessor lay. Though to be fair, The Last Jedi itself deconstructed what The Force Awakens set up, so it’s a total case of what goes around comes around.

To the second critique…


It’s space magic. This isn’t some Christopher-Nolan-intellectual-head-scratcher or Martin-Scorsese-realistic-crime-thriller type of movie. If a director wants to introduce crazy-extreme Force powers in a Star Wars movie just for the heck of it, I’m more than willing to accept these surface-level changes.

And to those of you saying that it forever ruins the original trilogy…no. No, it does not. Those originals still exist. You can watch them, and they’re the same. If you so choose, you can ignore the sequels for the rest of your life. Don’t waste your time hating on these new movies and crying that they’re ruining your childhood when your childhood is over and done with, and it is essentially pristine thanks to the unalterable effect of having happened years in the past.

Anyways, let’s get into the nitty-gritty.

The big reveal of The Rise of Skywalker is that Rey is a Palpatine. Apparently, someone was willing to bone the Emperor, and he had a son. Presumably, this son grew up, got married, and had Rey, and he decided that he didn’t want her to be influenced by Palpatine in any way. That’s why Rey was abandoned on Jakku.

This revelation wasn’t given much breathing time, so aside from shocked expressions, we don’t see Rey processing it as much as I would have liked. However, it does explain why Rey is so OP. She’s got that Palpatine blood coursing through her.

As you might have guessed, this is what makes The Rise of Skywalker such a middle finger to those who loved The Last Jedi. The Last Jedi was all about deconstructing the importance of bloodlines when it came to the Force. It proudly stated that Rey was a nobody, and there was no rhyme or reason as to why she was strong in the Force.

I’ll be honest with you, I wasn’t a big fan of The Last Jedi. The structure of the story felt a little off to me, and certain plot holes kind of grated on me more than usual. But for me, Star Wars is Star Wars, and I like seeing people try new things with it. So I was not upset about Rey’s lack of notable parentage. Its sudden reversal in The Rise of Skywalker also did not annoy me simply because I kind of expected the last film in the trilogy to shake things up once more.

And even though The Rise of Skywalker dismantled what The Last Jedi built, it funnily enough made me appreciate the black sheep of the sequel family. By far, The Rise of Skywalker is my favorite movie of the sequel trilogy, but I can now look back at The Last Jedi with more fondness than I did before.

The Rise of Skywalker also introduces new characters to the franchise, like Zorii, Babu Frik, D-O, Jannah, and the Knights of Ren. For the most part, these new characters are handled well, and their introductions, while rushed, are entertaining.

Well, all except for the Knights of Ren. When you first see them walking around, you’re all, “Ohhh, so cool. Hashtag squad goals.”

But then you realize they essentially do and say nothing important in the movie, and you feel a disappointment you haven’t felt since Boba Fett’s fall into the Sarlacc Pit.

But alas, that’s the way things go sometimes.

Fans of deep Star Wars lore also have a lot to dissect in The Rise of Skywalker. It introduces something called a Force dyad, and even I have no clue what that means yet. It does give me a hankering to buy Star Wars books as soon as possible, which might be what they intended to happen all along.

Which brings me to that whole Reylo thing.

Look, I’m not a Reylo fan, but I’m not not a Reylo fan.

The Last Jedi featured some definite chemistry between Rey and Kylo Ren during those moments when they were bonded in the Force. The Rise of Skywalker ups the ante for that in a major way. I was definitely shocked that they went as far as they did in establishing and solidifying Reylo as a thing, but it actually seemed kind of…logical? It seemed like a natural progression, in a weird way.

Still, there is a part of me that kind of wishes they had left it more understated than they did. I don’t need much romance in my Star Wars movies, and after Anakin and his I-hate-sand flirtations, I kind of reached my limit.

Side note: At no point does The Rise of Skywalker reach the cringe-levels that the prequels did. The prequels still hold first place when it comes to cringey, yet awesomely quotable, dialogue.

So yes, long story short, I enjoyed the heck out of this movie. I don’t need my Star Wars movies to be a top-notch critical experience. The Rise of Skywalker swept me up in a thrilling adventure and made me forget about my life for a good two and a half hours. And that’s exactly what the first Star Wars film did for me too, all those years ago.

Writing for TheGamer

I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again: I love lists! (Case in point here.)

They cater to the organizational part of my soul, and they also appeal to my predilection for nonessential items that contribute diddly-squat to actual effort but can appear to be a productive part of the planning process.

Side note: Daaaaaamn! Did you guys see the alliteration at the end of that sentence?

Anywaysies, I love lists!

I’ve already published a few list-related posts on this here bloggy thing, but I’ve completely forgotten to give a shout-out to the website I work for, a website that lets me write lists for work. (Awesome, right?)

TheGamer is an entertaining site that I contribute to. It has a bunch of features and listicles about gaming and pop culture, and it’s updated every day, so there is always new content.

Side note: I only recently found out that the word “listicle” is an actual word used to describe list-based articles. So all those BuzzFeed lists you read are technically called listicles.

My adoration for lists and video games has definitely come in handy over the course of writing for TheGamer, and despite the supposed superficiality of writing lists about fictional sources, this job has really fulfilled me in a way I’m only just beginning to appreciate.

I could not consider my life my own unless I was spending it writing. No matter how trivial my lists might seem, TheGamer is allowing me to share my writing with a wider audience. And it is totally awesome when my words connect with another person.

A while back, I wrote up a list about Darth Vader. For one of the items on the list, I talked about the Rogue One Darth Vader scene, the one where he absolutely murdalizes those Rebels. I praised that scene heartily as I wrote about it. I have friends who are only casually into Star Wars, and before Rogue One came out, they kind of thought Darth Vader was a joke. I can’t say I blame them. In the first movie, Darth Vader kind of just ambles around, looking threatening but not actually doing anything scary. So no matter how much I tried to convince my buddies how terrifying Darth Vader could be, they didn’t really believe it or understand what it felt like for me when I was a kid and Darth Vader swept into a room with a long dark cloak and a helmet from hell.

Darth Vader hallway scene
via: geektyrant.com

But that hallway scene from Rogue One showed all of my friends the might of Darth Vader that they hadn’t seen before. It showed them the Darth Vader I had always known was there.

I have to admit, I got very nostalgic as I was writing this list.

After that list was published, a man reached out to me on Twitter. He went out of his way to tell me that he appreciated my words regarding that moment, saying he felt the exact same way.

That was it. That trivial, clickbaity list did not win me any accolades, but it did reach one person, and that’s all I can ask for when it comes to my writing. I just want it to reach one person. And that’s it.

(I mean, if it reaches more than one, that’s great, but let’s not split hairs here.)

And TheGamer, May the Force Be with Them, gave me the opportunity to do that.

Here’s a link to their website. Give it a look-see, if you want. You may be surprised at the passion that these list-writers bring to their lists.

I should know. I’m one of them.

Top Ten Most Usable Movie Quotes of My Life

Time for another top ten list!

This time I decided to make a list about the movie quotes I use most often during my day-to-day life. So while a lot of these quotes are missing the unique factor of some popular movie quotes, I’m listing them based on how often I say them, not popularity.

Because seriously, I’m never going to get the opportunity to say “I’ll make him an offer he can’t refuse” or “I love the smell of napalm in the morning.”

Anyways, here we go.

10. “They’re moving in herds. They do move in herds.”

WHERE IT’S FROM: Jurassic Park. When Alan Grant first encounters dinosaurs at the park, he sees them clustered together by a lakeside. He gazes at them in awe and slowly breathes out, “They’re moving in herds. They do move in herds.”

HOW I USE IT: Whenever I see a collection of people or animals roaming together, I just have to let loose with this line. The most perfect instance of this happening was when I was in a car with my friend Bubba. A group of bicyclists passed us on the street, and I softly murmured, “They’re moving in herds.” Bubba responded with a perfectly timed, “They do move in herds.”

9. “Good. Our first catch of the day.”

WHERE IT’S FROM: Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back. When the Rebels are fleeing from the planet Hoth, one of their ships passes close to where an Imperial Star Destroyer is lying in wait. Within the Destroyer, a junior officer approaches his superior and informs him of the encroaching Rebel ship. The superior then responds in the most robotic voice possible, “Good. Our first catch of the day.”

HOW I USE IT: This quote is definitely not the most memorable quote from Star Wars, but it sticks in my mind because it made my sister and me giggle so much when we heard it. The tone of that Imperial officer was priceless. So now, whenever anyone lets out with a terse, “Good,” I have to stoically, and nonsensically, reply, “Our first catch of the day.”

8. “My god, it’s full of stars.”

WHERE IT’S FROM: 2010: The Year We Make Contact. Contrary to what most people believe, this quote is not from the film 2001: A Space Odyssey, but rather from it’s sequel, 2010. These words are the final recorded words of astronaut Dave Bowman before he entered the strange portal in the first film.

HOW I USE IT: When I’m shocked at something and the words, “My god,” escape my lips, I feel compelled to follow them with “it’s full of stars.” Several times I have uttered this parting phrase to an acquaintance’s confusion since there were no stars visible in the area we were currently occupying.

7. “Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.”

WHERE IT’S FROM: The Princess Bride. This is the refrain the skilled swordsman Inigo Montoya rehearses to say to his father’s killer.

HOW I USE IT: This is perhaps the most famous of all the quotes on this list. I can’t help saying the whole thing every time I hear a simple “hello.” I have to admit, I restrain myself from saying this far too often. I should probably just let loose with this, but I have a healthy dose of self-consciousness streaming through my body.

6. “It should have ended that day, but evil was allowed to endure.”

WHERE IT’S FROM: The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. Elrond speaks this line to Gandalf the Grey when he laments the fact that Isildur did not destroy the Ring at Mount Doom when he had the chance.

HOW I USE IT: Okay, I need no impetus to say this line. Mia, my friend and fellow LOTR enthusiast, and I just quote The Lord of the Rings all day long. We even use a deep, imposing voice when we have to.

5. “‘Tis but a scratch.”

WHERE IT’S FROM: Monty Python and the Holy Grail. King Arthur comes across the Black Knight. The Black Knight refuses to let Arthur pass a certain bridge. They engage in a fight, and the Black Knight gets his arm chopped off. To Arthur’s surprise, the Black Knight treats this grievous wound as if it’s just a scratch.

HOW I USE IT: If you haven’t seen Monty Python and the Holy Grail, you are missing out on some high-quality laughs. I let out a haughty “‘Tis but a scratch!” any time I get wounded. Oftentimes, my wound is indeed just a scratch.

4. “I know, I know!”

WHERE IT’S FROM: Cloud Atlas. When Timothy Cavendish finds himself held prisoner in a nursing home against his will, he bands together with some other retirees in order to escape. One of these gentlemen is the affable Mr. Meeks. Mr. Meeks does not say much. In fact, all he seems capable of saying is an endearing “I know, I know!”

HOW I USE IT: Well, I have to say something whenever someone tells me something I already know. So instead of being a dick about it, I adopt Mr. Meeks’ agreeable tone and words.

3. “You have done that yourself.”

WHERE IT’S FROM: Star Wars Episode III: The Revenge of the Sith. Anakin Skywalker turns to the Dark Side, and when he force-chokes his wife in anger, he insists on blaming his old mentor, Obi-Wan Kenobi, for his matrimonial troubles. He claims that Obi-Wan turned his wife against him. Obi-Wan rejects this statement with a dignified, “You have done that yourself.”

HOW I USE IT: Anytime someone places blame on me for anything (even if it really is my fault), I’ll tell them that they have done that themselves. For those of my friends who have seen Revenge of the Sith, this usually earns me a chuckle. It doesn’t go over too well with strangers though.

2. “Marines! We are leaving!”

WHERE IT’S FROM: Aliens. The space marines have bit off more than they can chew when they enter an Alien nest on the planet LV-426. Once he realizes that his group can’t handle that much Alien menace, Corporal Hicks yells out hoarsely for his marines to get the hell out of dodge.

HOW I USE IT: I know that the actual line is “Drake! We are leaving!” I know that. (Drake is one of the marines in the nest alongside Hicks.) But the line has definitely been popularized as “Marines! We are leaving!” Besides, I only ever use this quote in my D&D group. We’re not the smartest group of tabletop adventurers out there, and often we find ourselves out-leveled by the monsters we face. At which point, one of us will scream, “MARINES! WE ARE LEAVING!”

1. “He left us. He left us.”

WHERE IT’S FROM: Jurassic Park. When the T. Rex makes his epic escape from his enclosure, visiting lawyer Donald Gennaro decides he’s had enough of this Park. He gets out of a tour van and stumbles to the bathroom to hide, leaving two children in the van with no adult to help them out. As he leaves, one of them whispers in a panic, “He left us. He left us.”

HOW I USE IT: I know, I know, another Jurassic Park quote. I say this anytime a male person leaves my presence. My sister also uses this quote a lot too. But unfortunately, it kinda makes us seem like needy people who can’t be left to ourselves, when the exact opposite is true.

So, do you use any of these quotes? Do you like any of these quotes? Are there any movie quotes aside from these that you use yourself? I’m curious to see what you guys say! Until next time!

Comic Con Friday: Guilty Pleasures

I have a potentially embarrassing confession to make.

While pet-sitting for my sister with my friend Mia, we decided to binge-watch all the episodes of a show that had caught both of our eyes on Netflix. The show is computer animated, and I’m kind of self-conscious about the fact that I like it. It’s called Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug and Cat Noir, and it’s about these two super heroes who pal around the city of Paris. It’s cute, absolutely corny, and both Mia and I couldn’t help liking it. (Who wouldn’t like a show with a melodramatic villain who constantly fails and says NEXT TIME I’LL DEFEAT YOU FOR SURE, LADYBUG AND CAT NOIR at the end of every episode?)

When I found out that Miraculous was going to have a panel at Comic Con on Friday, I thought to myself, ‘Hey! That’s great! This will be a nice little panel that Danny and I can attend while everyone else goes to the more popular ones.’

I deeply underestimated how popular this “little” panel was going to be.

Danny and I entered the room without too much of a hassle. We had shown up pretty early, so early, in fact, that we got to sit in on the panel prior to Miraculous’. 

It was a My Little Pony panel.

Surprisingly enough, that was a fun panel to attend. The voice actresses for the show are all hilarious, and since the room was basically filled with little kids and bronies, the audience was suitably enthusiastic. And when the line-up for audience questions began, a bunch of four- and five-year olds got to go first. Their questions were superb forms of entertainment.

After that, the Miraculous panel started, and holy shit, there are a ton of fans of the show. I seriously did not see that coming. Apparently, the Miraculous fandom is so huge, they even have a name for themselves: Miraculers. (If you felt yourself want to gag or roll your eyes, you’re not alone.)

Despite my utter shock at its popularity, the panel was great. I know I’ve been ragging on the show, but if you like campy good fun, Miraculous is a pretty nifty kids show to watch.

Both Danny and I were hungry after that panel, so he dragged me to this nearby barbecue restaurant/bar that is famous for being the location where that bar scene in Top Gun was filmed. I had a chili dog, and Danny had ribs. I’d give the food a fairly-adequate-for-lunchtime rating, but the atmosphere was top-notch.

Top Gun poster

After our hunger was sated, we returned to the Convention Center to catch a panel about Mexican dubbing voice actors. We got to meet the voices for Marcus Fenix, Spider-Man, and Zelda. The neat thing about this panel is that the panelists (aka the voice actors) seemed genuinely grateful to see us. Often, panelists at Comic Con throw out their gratitude from their stage on high and then rush off once the panel is over. (Understandably so, since some very eager fans try to bum-rush the stage.) But these voice actors just seemed so happy to be there, it’s like they wanted to linger. They asked if they could take a group picture with us (the audience).

Danny and I capped our Friday with Star Wars. We went into a panel specifically for the 501st Legion, which is a group of uber-dedicated fans who make realistic Stormtrooper armor and wear it to special events as a group. After that, a special panel about vacation tours you can take to famous Star Wars-related locations made for the perfect end to our evening.

Stay tuned for my last day at San Diego Comic Con in the next post! (I did not stay for Sunday! Had to vamoose!)

Solo and the Star Wars Fandom

Saying that you were a fan of Star Wars used to mean that you were part of an exclusive club that everyone was in. (That kind of makes no sense, but if you think about it, it kind of does too.) I feel like Star Wars was the beginning of nerd culture becoming popular with the mainstream. It was a cultural phenomenon that eventually spread beyond the niche it catered to.

But lately, is it just me, or is admitting you are a Star Wars fan starting to have negative connotations? Being a part of the fandom is beginning to mean you are one of the most difficult persons to please when it comes to your entertainment.

Personally, I thought The Last Jedi was a…flawed movie. But that doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate the friendly discussions I can now have about its merits and detriments. I loved the fight with Kylo Ren and Rey versus the Praetorian Guards. I wasn’t too keen on the Canto Bight escapades. I’m willing to have hour-long conversations devoted to these things. I feel the exact same enthusiasm for the prequels and the originals as well.

I suppose people are entitled to their own opinion, but since when did our sci-fi/fantasy movies have to be perfect cinema?

Take Solo, for instance. Aside from the fact that Disney is clearly trying to milk Star Wars for all it’s worth, Solo was not a bad movie. It was fun! (Am I going to get ridiculed for thinking so?) It was a lighthearted romp through space, which is what I want my Star Wars to be.

If you were feeling hesitant about watching it because people have been bombing it down from the get-go, don’t let that stop you. Han Solo, Lando Calrissian, and Chewbacca are back, and we get to see some new characters as well. There might be things you hate about the movie. But there also might be things you like about it. Don’t let supposed “hard-core” Star Wars fans stop you from enjoying a movie.

Don’t get me started on the people who spend exorbitant amounts of time attacking Star Wars actors either.

People (these anonymous people who we never meet face-to-face) have been hurling insults at the people who make the Star Wars movie in a completely disagreeable fashion. These insults aren’t critiques. They are cruel words that serve no purpose except to be hurtful.

Because of the actions of these haters (and there really is no other word for such volatile and spite-filled people), the Star Wars fandom is now being called toxic.

Like it or lump it, I’m a part of this fandom, this toxic fandom, and, in a way, that makes me culpable for the actions of the others in this group. (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, anyone?)

As such, I want to do my part in making the fandom a better place for us to disagree with each other. Disagreeing, by itself, is not a bad thing. If respectfully done, it’s a wonderful thing. Disagree away! I want to call out the people who are just blindly shouting abuse. I want to invite anyone and everyone to share their opinions about the movies.

Hell, I’ll even let people make cases for how Jar Jar Binks is the best character in the Star Wars universe.

Ushi and Me as an X-Wing Pilot


Good Book, Bad Video Game: Inferno Squad Book Review

Inferno Squad book cover

Last summer, I went to San Diego Comic Con, and while I was roaming the huge convention center, I noticed there was a booth close to the Star Wars section that was offering books. Ever the avid book reader and always the largest Star Wars fan, I went to investigate what they were selling.

Displayed on the table were copies of Battlefront II: Inferno Squad. Since I follow gaming news, I had of course heard of the latest Battlefront game EA was dumping on our doorsteps. The first Battlefront game they had churned out was a total disaster. I did not have high hopes for Battlefront II, even though they were actually including a story campaign for the game this time around.

Still, it wouldn’t be fair to this book, a prequel to Battlefront II, to extend my doubts about the game onto it. After a small moment staring at the cover, I purchased Inferno Squad and took it home.

Since I have a humongous reading list (books awaiting my perusal), I have not gotten around to finishing up Inferno Squad until now. So here is my review for the book. I will not bring up the events that happened in the video game (even though it was a sucky game) in my critique of the book.

It should be noted that a lot of what goes on in my review and in the book itself involves Star Wars stuff. If you don’t know Star Wars, you may feel a tad out of the loop.


Inferno Squad was…interesting?

The book tells of the events that occur immediately after the destruction of the first Death Star. Whereas most Star Wars stories revolve around the heroes of the Jedi, Rebellion, or Resistance, Inferno Squad is centered on an elite team of Imperials who are tasked with undermining the Rebellion.

If that initial premise does not pique your interest, you, sir, are no Star Wars fan.

The main character is the leader of Inferno Squad, this team of bad-asses from the Empire. She’s called Iden Versio, and she’s the daughter of one of the head honchos of the Empire. Even though she totally believes in everything the Empire stands for, author Christie Golden makes her very likable. She’s driven by a desire to prove herself, to the world and to her father. She’s working for the bad guys, but she comes across as noble.

She and her squad are given an undercover assignment. They are sent to infiltrate a radical group of rebels known as the Dreamers. Once secure in their positions, they are to dismantle the Dreamers from the inside out. The real struggle occurs when Iden and her team start feeling sympathetic toward the people they are trying to destroy.

Iden’s squad all sound like diverse people, but they feel like cookie-cutter characters. Once you know their motivations, that’s kind of…it. There’s this one guy who’s the “nice guy” of the Squad. He has a knack for dealing with machinery. He’s the one who feels the most pity for the Dreamers, but nothing ever occurs that would put him on the spot in that regard. He never has to make a tough decision about his chosen morals. His character ends up feeling like a bit of a cop out.

Each chapter of Inferno Squad is engaging, even for a non-Star Wars fan. You know that feeling you can get when you’re reading, the feeling that a chapter is just dragging on? (Hey now, I’m a book lover too, but I can experience boredom and disinterest when reading a book just like anyone.) That never happened to me while I was reading Inferno Squad. Each page I turned actively led me on to the next one. I wanted to know what happened next, and Golden’s writing style helped me want to want to know what happened next.

Unfortunately, while each chapter separately holds up, the entire story ends up feeling a bit weak. Huge changes happen in Iden’s life when she agrees to infiltrate the Dreamers. The experience should change her. But since every chapter gears you to read on ahead, there’s never really a moment where you’re allowed to let events sink in. Neither Iden nor the reader are given the space to process the changes that have occurred.

However, despite the complaints I have made, Inferno Squad still makes for a good read.

I rate Battlefront II: Inferno Squad a Borrow-Once-From-A-Friend-And-Actually-Read-All-The-Way-Through-Before-Giving-It-Back.