Friday, May 25, 2018

The Best and Worst Star Wars Movies: My (Totally Subjective) Ranking

I've been thinking about Star Wars a lot. More that usual, actually, which is really saying something. Maybe it's because the Han Solo movie is coming out today. Maybe it's because I just recently recorded a PFW podcast about writing lessons learned from Star Wars. Or maybe it's because I'm writing a prequel series and Star Wars is known for terrible prequels and I'd like to avoid being known for that same thing.

Regardless, Star Wars is on my mind so I thought, "Hey. It's been a while since you've written anything controversial. How about you publish a post about your favorite and least favorite Star Wars movies." Because that's a good way to make people angry and lose followers.

Because yeah, that's how my post-final-exam brain is operating.

Alright. Are you ready to see my list? Okay. Punch it, Chewy!
The Best and Worst Star Wars Movies: My (Totally Subjective) Ranking
1. The Empire Strikes Back

Yeah, this one is my favorite. It's got everything: Classic Han and Leia, an epic film score, less-whiny Luke, the "I am your Father" reveal. It even has that weird scene where Luke goes into a creepy cave and kills Darth-Vader-Luke, a scene that has spawned one of my favorite Star Wars theories (it's called "Bigger Luke." Look it up. It's super dumb and amazing). I love the classic feel of the movie, but also appreciate the character development that A New Hope lacks.

Bonus: Han risking everything to go out and save his buddy Luke on Hoth. Love it.

Double bonus: Lando being an idiot in general, then a slimy idiot, then a slightly nicer idiot. Awesome.

2. Rogue One

It's dark. It's gritty. And it's Star Wars. Literally all the things that I love. I know a lot of people didn't like this movie, but I love this film for the brave ending, the new take on the Star Wars universe, and the flawed characters. Except I can't watch it very often because it makes me sad....I just wanted Jyn and Cassian to be happy. And poor Bodhi. He deserved better.

Bonus: The sheer pettiness of the fact that Star Wars made an entire movie to explain the massive plot hole in A New Hope (the huge design flaw in the Death Star)? Amazing. If you're gonna fixed a plot hole, you better go all out.

Double bonus: Darth Vader in that end scene.

AMAZING. I would watch an entire movie of Vader just lightsabering people down in one incredibly long hallway. Yes, I realize that's bad. No, I don't care.

3. The Last Jedi

Back off, haters. This movie was great. Full of issues, but great. I'm a huge fan of Rey (shhhh. She's not a Mary Sue. Stop it), so I liked her character development. I also really enjoy Kyle Ren as an antagonist (shhhhh. He's not a Darth Vader knock-off. He's his own thing and he's great) and thought he acted as a great foil to Rey in this film. AND I liked that Luke remained the same annoying, slightly whiny character that he is in the classics because, let's be honest: He's exactly the kind of dude who would spend decades meditating on an island and still remain vaguely idiotic....Only to turn things around at the last minute.

Bonus: PORGS. Need I say more?

4. A New Hope

Ah. Where it all began. The first time we get to see Vader choke out some random dude simply because he could. The first time we see the Falcon jump to lightspeed. The first time we get to see the beloved Obi-Wan. While the characters are a bit flat at time, it's a fun start.

Bonus: Obi-Wan completely sugar coating the story of Luke's dad. Bro. C'mon. At least prepare the poor guy. Still love you, though.

5. The Force Awakens

A great introduction to a new Star Wars era. Total fan-service-y (shush. It's a word. Stop judging me) at points, but also pretty darn cool. Great new characters: Rey, Poe Dameron (gotta love the reckless pilot thing....Han Solo would've liked the dude), Kylo Ren, Finn. I loved how this movie tied in with the originals and was accessible to both old fans and new. That's hard to do.

Bonus: Getting to see the Millennium Falcon again. And also hearing Rey call it garbage. Know your spaceships, Rey. Gees.

6. Revenge of the Sith

What? It's not that bad. Sure, the acting is kinda terrible at points. But the filmscore? And Anakin's character arc (bar some of the whining...he is a male Skywalker, so whining is in his blood)? And the depth of the world-building as far as showing the Jedi as less-than-perfect? It's brilliant.

Bonus: Obi-Wan's sass. And classiness. And literally everything about this character because he is the best and why doesn't he have a movie yet that's so unfair. Ahem.

7. Return of the Jedi

Why is this so low on my list? So many reasons: 1. Slave bikini Leia. Seriously. WHY? Way take an awesome character and degrade her, George? 2. Boba Fett's death. Dude. No way would such a talented, badass bounty hunter die that way. Bad writing, bro. Bad writing. 3. Jabba's Palace. What was with the pacing there? That whole scene was way too long. We get it. Jabba is creepy. Move on. But sure, it had some really good stuff (Anakin's redemption, Luke's growing power, the Battle of Endor).

Bonus: Ewoks. Fluffy creatures that seem adorable but also probably eat Storm Troopers for breakfast. Doesn't get much better than that.

8. Attack of the Clones

Look. I don't actually hate this film. I love Obi Wan's part in it. I like the whole clone concept. And I like a lot of the flying scenes and the gladiator fights. BUT. WHY? WHY was Padme magically the same age as she was in Phantom Menace? Was it to make her and Anakin's relationship less creepy? Because it didn't work. Anakin's a total creeper. Their romance is more clunky and cheesy than the dialogue, and that's saying something. And there was just too much going on: Way too many plot lines that detracted from what should have been the main point of the film: Anakin's downfall.

Bonus: Mace Windu is pretty cool.

9. The Phantom Menace

Pod racing. That's literally all I think about when I think of this movie. Specifically little Anakin yelling, "It's working!" over and over. That's about it. If I have to think of it more closely, I just get creeped out by the whole Padme and Anakin age difference. And then my brain freaks out and tries to think of something - anything - except their relationship. Which is when I remember Jar Jar Binks and am caught between the urge to yell angrily and curl up into a ball and cry.

Bonus: Qui-Gon Jinn. He rocks. The one Jedi who seems to know that the Jedi council is really just a bunch of idiots sitting in a circle.

Double bonus: Darth Maul. One of the coolest Sith's in the galaxy. He had great moves, great music, great horns. Can't believe they killed him off.

And there you have it. What are your favorite and least favorite Star Wars movies and why? I'd love to hear from you!

Have writing, reading, or writer's life questions? Use the hashtag #ChatWithHannah below or on social media to have them answered on my Youtube channel!

Related article:
PFW Podcast Ep 5: Writing Lessons Learned from Star Wars
8 Ways To Use Movie Watching To Improve Your Writing
Why Writers Should Strive to be More Like Batman
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  1. Whaaaat?? I've never heard of Bigger Luke- I've been missing so much in life!
    Return of the Jedi is probably my favorite- Vader's redemption makes up for Jabba imo. And then I'd switch Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones- Qui Gon redeems PM, and I can't STAND the dialogue with Ani/Padme in AotC. Also, I love how high up Last Jedi is- I really like the contrast/complementing between Rey and Kylo.
    Congratulations on surviving finals!

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. Edited:This pretty much sums up my rankings on Star Wars, too, though with a few switches here and there. I'd probably have to re-watch them all again to be sure, but at least that should be fun...though that also includes the prequels?! (Help)
      (runs away in fear screaming madly.)

  3. Ok, that was awesome I completely agree with everything, except all the prequels are at the bottom of my list and Return of the Jedi is at the top.

    I especially agree with your opinion of the Last Jedi, that's exactly my opinion of it.

    Also, slave Leia: YES, I completely agree! That (I feel) is the lowest point of Star Wars. Even worse than the prequels. It was completely unnecessary. Also, in those scenes it bothered my how un-healthily skinny she was.

  4. I need a Star Wars movie marathon, like, now! I'm so glad you mentioned the Padme/Anakin age difference. That has always creeped me out too. It's like someone growing up and hooking up with the girl that used to babysit them. It's not like he was a teenager and she was in her twenties, and then he was in his twenties and she was in her late twenties. He was, what? Eight and she was in her late teens, early twenties. So, ew.

  5. Here's a quote from Space Mom herself about the bikini that made me love her even more:

    Fisher: The father who flipped out about it, 'What am I going to tell my kid about why she's in that outfit?' Tell them that a giant slug captured me and forced me to wear that stupid outfit, and then I killed him because I didn't like it. And then I took it off. Backstage."


    Because that's actually, in terms of the story, what happened. Simplified version. I don't like that they felt it necessary to put it in there, but there's a thing since they did.

    I think Rogue One might be one of my favorites. I like them all though. Prequels are at the bottom of the list, but the Originals and then these new reboots--I don't know what's my favorite. Except for Rogue One. It's so incredibly GOOD to have a movie where the ending isn't a happily-ever-after, off into the sunset type, but still a good, strong, positive, and hopeful ending. It makes me cry, but it doesn't make me depressed. They did what they were trying to do, they accomplished their goal. And it's amazing.

  6. Our opinions don't differ quite as widely as they do with Disney, haha!

    My rankings:

    9) Attack of the Clones. (The romance is so, so cringeworthy. Cool action sequences are the only thing this movie has going for it.)
    8) Phantom Menace (Quigon Jin is awesome. The rest? Meh.)
    7) Rogue One (Brilliant concept, beautiful ending, lackluster characters that I had literally less than zero attachment to)
    6) New Hope (I don't know why the original Star Wars just doesn't intrigue me as much as most of the others
    5) Force Awakens (Basically the same story as A New Hope, but I somehow enjoy it a lot more)
    4) Return of the Jedi (I just wish I understood what was going on in Vader's mind when he killed the Emporer. I don't understand his redemptive story arc. The rest, I find awesome!)
    3) Revenge of the Sith (Sorry, world, but I love this one. The dark undertones are a lot of fun. Endlessly rewatchable. Full of problems, sure, but I don't care!)
    2) Last Jedi (If only they hadn't introduced Rose the stupid love triangle, it would be number one hands down. Love the character development and the twists! I lost my mind in the theater when Kylo killed the Emporer!)
    1) Empire Strikes Back (Need I explain?)

  7. So I think I agree with most of your ranking on this list! Loved Last Jedi, despite the haters out there (sorry, I love Rose!).

  8. (Firstly, I'm sorry for any grammatical mistakes as English is not my native language and I'm quite young. Secondly, I really like your blog and find it very helpful. And thirdly, God bless you sister!)

    Hey Hannah! I saw your post about Asajj Ventress and first thought you had watched The Clone Wars, which as you may know is an animated series taking place in between Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith. From what I could make out of your description of Dark Disciple it probably takes place after her last appearance in the show - but I'm not sure.

    Anyway - Clone Wars is one of my all time favorite series. It adds so much more depth to characters we already know - such as Obi-Wan (my all-time favorite Star Wars-character) and Anakin. Believe it or not, after watching the Clone Wars you're going to actually like Anakin. I know it seems impossible. But it's true, and boy does Revenge of the Sith get much more emotional after you've watched The Clone Wars.
    It also gives so much more depth and personality to the clones. For example we see clones who betrays the Jedi, goes to live their own lives or clones who suffers from the loss of a brother.
    And it also introduces new wonderful characters - such as Ahsoka Tano (Anakin's padawan) who you're always worrying about because she isn't in Revenge of the Sith.

    Asajj Ventress also plays a major role in some episodes, from first being Dooku's loyal apprentice to an anti-hero who actually goes to help both Obi-Wan and Ahsoka. Oh, and a fan-favorite character believed to be dead comes back, and he's really angry at Obi-Wan. Hmmm, I wonder who that could be.

    I will say though, that the first season is a bit slow. For me, it's the Mandalorian arc (during the second season) that really gets it started. The animation also greatly improves as the series progresses. During the later seasons it's absolutely stunning. Also, after being cancelled by Disney half through season six they are finally making a season seven, and I am SO excited. But I do really recommend it. You know how Revenge of the Sith showed us the Jedi Order was really messed up - well, Clone Wars shows us how both the Jedi and Sith are flawed, and that the war isn't always that black and white. The Jedi Order being messed up dosen't go unnoticed by Anakin either.


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