Ranking the Star Wars franchise

The Star Wars franchise is a wonderful, wonderful thing as you know and it has its legendary, masterpiece esque heights and bottom of the barrel lows but on the whole it’s a solid set of films with an expansive, imaginative and fascinating universe. A universe that has entertained millions of people for decades and now with the Force Awakens out, here’s my ranking of the now 7, soon to be 8 films released.

Star Wars: A New Hope – 10/10

A timeless classic and the film started it all, A New Hope is just about as close you can really get to a perfect sci-fi film and a perfect film in my opinion, from the fantastic, iconic and meaningful visuals and use of aesthetics in scenes to tell rather than show the audience, great pacing and a brilliant mix of humour, drama and emotion, we go on a great adventure with Luke and see him grow and develop as our hero and it’s wonderful to watch. And with some great, classic villains and a set of vibrant and fun main characters, it’s a fun ride that you don’t really want to get off of, setting up an entire universe of films, TV shows and more to come.

Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back – 9/10

Probably one of if not the best sequels of all time, The Empire Strikes Back really resonates with a lot of Star Wars fans and understandably so, being the more darker, grittier follow up and bringing that emotional punch with the Vader – Luke twist, as well as some awesome set pieces and scenes including the Vader – Luke duel on Bespin, Landos betrayal and the battle of Hoth. Empire Strikes Back manages to keep things thoroughly exciting, never dragging for a minute as it goes from strength to strength, pitting Vader in more of a focal point as the moral opposite to Luke, a fascinating dichotomy between the father and son which epitomised the themes of good vs evil. A continuation of the story and an excellent outing in the Star Wars universe that expanded on the ideas of A New Hope and brought some darker, heavy elements to the plate.

Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi – 9/10

Return, I feel, strangely gets a bit of a bad wrap despite it not being anywhere near bad, a lot of people seem to view it as the weakest prequel maybe due to the Ewoks (though that’s not enough of a reason for the film to be bad, obviously), make no mistake the film is great with having a lot to fulfill and live up to in concluding the original trilogy. The stakes are high as ever as there’s a new Death Star and Vader, Palpatine and the Empire have to be confronted for a last time. The humour and great action from the previous two OT films returns along with some well done emotional moments – Luke and Vader in the Death Star with Palpatine is a fantastic sequence and the set pieces are also great with a familiar feeling but satisfying conclusion (another Death Star!) that wraps things up nicely.

Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens – 8.5/10

It’s only the highest grossing Star Wars film of all time and one of the highest grossing films of all time. The Force Awakens is a massive box office and critical hit and deservedly so, having to live up to quite frankly, ridiculous amounts of hype, it sort of did and while it does narratively borrow from A New Hope, it’s still very well structured, entertaining and it does a great job of blending the old and the new, not getting bogged down in the 30 year gap between the film and the end of the original trilogy. And a lot of why the films works is down to the films stellar visuals, great characterization with nuanced, complex villains and heroes that straddle the lines between light and the dark. And that great cast, John Boyega and Daisy Ridley have great chemistry and flourish in their roles, as does Oscar Isaac, bringing an equally energetic and memorable performance, as does Adam Driver as Kylo Ren, new ideas are also present here and make for some interesting additions to the Star Wars lore, leaving a lot of room for fans to speculate.

Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of The Sith – 7.5/10

Easily the best prequel, Revenge of The Sith brings on a decidedly darker tone to the prequels as we follow Anakins’ tragic and inevitable march to the dark side and his famous ‘evil’ alter ego, though he’s been getting there over the course of 3 films, his change in the film could be said to be a bit sudden.That aside, the visuals are great as are the action scenes on the whole, coupled with a few pretty great set pieces and as far as the prequels go, the acting is a fair bit better than in Episodes I and II.

Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace – 7/10

Contrary to many Star Wars fans, I really don’t think The Phantom Menace is anywhere near that bad even with Jar Jar, it has its lows of course but it’s probably the prequel I enjoy watching the most, Darth Maul was a great villain, although underused and some of the action sequences were well done, the acting was noticeably wooden in parts of course and the Gungans brought a distinctly childish tone to proceedings but it had its enjoyable moments as a whole.

Star Wars: Episode II Attack of The Clones – 6/10

Easily the worst prequel, Attack of The Clones did have some fun fight scenes to be fair but it was just a bit too much style over substance and with some terrible lines of dialogue and even worse delivery, parts of the film have become a bit of a punchline to underline how bad the prequels got. Yes this was a misstep but how cool are the clones….right? Ah who am I kidding, it’s a bad film.

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6 thoughts on “Ranking the Star Wars franchise

    • Great minds Matt! Haha, that’s interesting, I remember seeing a few people online say the same in the weeks after it came out and I think TFA and ROTJ are pretty close.

      TFA doesn’t quite beat out the originals for me but it’s still a lot of fun.

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      • It’s hard to compare I guess. I think there’s a strong argument to be made for TFA being the best of the bunch but part of it is because it benefits from all the weight of 40 years of Star Wars mythology that it can’t honestly take credit for. It also boasts much better (and more consistent) performances than any other Star Wars film so far.

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      • Yeah I don’t like comparing any new Star Wars films to the OT but TFA is still a fantastic watch, it had so much riding on it to be successful but it did a great job.

        And yeah, the criticism that it’s a bit derivative is a fair one – it’s A New hope 2.0 more or less but hey, that’s the best Star Wars film after all! But like you said, it has great performances, interesting characters and great set pieces so it’s fair game.

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  1. Great post! I like what you said about A New Hope and how it set up the universe. Everything from the force, light saber duels, heroes and villains … it’s all there. What I really like about The Force Awakens is that I care about the new characters that’ll carry the story in the next movies.

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    • Thanks! Yeah it’s a great starting point and one of the best first entries to any franchise, things are set up so simply but it’s great that there’s so much lore and depth to follow in the sequels.

      Same, TFA is great because it carried on the legacy of the OT and did a good job with old characters and the new, great at engaging you in the story.

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