What is the best Star Wars movie?

Somehow another Star Wars movie is coming out this year, and despite the fact they’ve been coming out every year for three years now, I’m still beyond excited for this event. Because that’s what it is, a real cultural event. Those don’t seem to come along as much in the entertainment sphere as much anymore. Whenever another (snore) Marvel movie comes out, those fans freak out. But Star Wars captures a larger audience that can spark a conversation with just about everyone.

Since that wonderful time of the year is coming up, I’ve been thinking a decent amount about what the best Star Wars movie really is. Each generation of Star Wars fan probably has a different opinion on what the best movie actually is, so without further ado, my Star Wars rankings.

The Star Wars Groupings

The weird Uncle: The Star Wars movies that are accepted only because they’re Star Wars movies. You only see them when another Star Wars movie is coming out, and other than that you prefer to avoid them.

Lukewarm Pizza: They’re not hot or cold, but they’re still Star Wars movies. Really solid movies and you’ll enjoy giving them a watch, just never going to become the best of the best.

First Teamers: The group that has the potential to be the best Star Wars movie of all time, if a movie is in this group its rewatchable at any time and deserves to be cherished by Star Wars fans alike.

The weird Uncles.

10. The Phantom Menace

I genuinely know people that like this movie. Personally, I think this movie is truly utter garbage. There’s far too much half thought CGI, the story is incoherent in parts, and the acting is horrible. Taking a shot at Anakin Skywalker’s story was really smart, and just horribly executed.

This movie could have been something, and really should have been at least decent. This was a waste of a good story. Young Anakin could have been dope, but instead we got a waste of a movie.

Darth Maul was the best takeaway from this movie, and he didn’t last long enough to make a solid impact.

9. Attack of the Clones

Interested in some sad Hayden Christensen looks? If so, I have a movie for you. This movie had some grandiose aspects to it, but the love story they try to pull off with Christensen and Natalie Portman just feels out of place. I feel like they’re trying to capture the same magic that Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher had in the original trilogy, but it just doesn’t happen.

The most memorable thing about this movie to me is the battles with the droids. For some reason, I always liked the droids.

Plus the

The Battle of Geonosis is pretty dope. That map was always super fun to play in the original Battlefront II, and it shines in this fight scene. Slicing apart droids will always be pretty fun to watch. A plethora of puns and one-liners are always available, but besides that, this movie is largely forgettable.

8. Solo: A Star Wars Story

If I’m being honest with myself I enjoyed this movie, but it was completely unneeded and isn’t aging well in my head. There were certainly entertaining spots but beforehand it felt strange to make this movie and afterwards just as strange.

The acting wasn’t horrible and the story was good. In a vacuum when I think about this movie I enjoyed it. However, when put into the context of how I think about Star Wars this movie fails to impress.

7. Revenge of the Sith

I almost put this movie in Lukewarm Pizza. There are some seriously dope aspects to this movie, but the last climactic fight scene between Anakin and Obi-Wan is just way too long. Seriously, go back and watch it again, that thing is so long!

Getting to witness Anakin going to the dark side was fascinating to watch. I enjoy watching it happen but I can’t help but wonder if it could have been done better. Like is this movie decent just because the material is so astounding? I can’t really tell, but either way, this movie is the best of the poor Star Wars movies.

Lukewarm Pizza.

6. The Return of the Jedi

I flip flop on this movie a decent amount. There are times when I watch it and am enthralled with it, then there are other times where it seems average and partially a waste. The remastered version of this movie also doesn’t help, seeing Hayden Christensen at the end is such a buzzkill.

I’ve also changed my mind on what I think about Darth going “good” at the end. As a kid I loved it, and as I’ve continued to watch this movie repeatedly, I’ve disliked it more and more. That aspect of the movie is really what keeps it out of the top tier for me. Darth turning good somewhat ruins his legacy in my mind and I choose to not bring it up when discussing Darth in the best villains of all time.

There is a way that this movie ends in my mind that makes it the greatest Star Wars movie. I think the peak conclusion to this movie would have had Vader dying, but remaining evil. Take whatever route to get there, but the message that good will win but evil is always lurking is a good one. I don’t think that message is achieved with Vader returning to the good guys.

5. The Force Awakens

This movie is a strange movie that did a ton of things well. In fact, I really don’t think I would change much about this movie. It was an excellent bridge between the old guard of Star Wars and the new generation of characters. I think this movie’s biggest flaw is that it had so much to do in terms of bridging the old and new, that it keeps it from being a fantastic standalone movie.

I think in order for a Star Wars movie to hit in the top tier, it has to be a great movie in relation to the entire series arc, but also be able to survive as a standalone film. While someone could handle this movie had they not seen a single moment of Star Wars, there’s a decent amount that would be awkward and not fit into the story well. But again, this is a fantastic bridge between the old and the new.

The First Teamers

4. A New Hope

This movie is almost perfect. The only significant flaw that I pick up on throughout this movie is that there are occasionally some incredibly slow parts. R2-D2 and C3PO in the desert is a brutally slow watch when you’ve seen it multiple times.

3. Rogue One

I may lose some people with this one. But after waiting a year, and watching this movie multiple times I’ve come to find real love and enjoyment of this movie. There are flaws with it that could have been easily avoided. The family problems weren’t needed in a movie like this, and the opening half-hour is kind of odd.

But the rest of this movie is fantastic. The final 45 minutes are jaw-dropping. A pure joy ride of thrill and excitement that make it one of the most enjoyable and the most rewatchable Star Wars movie.

I also want to take a moment to talk about the last Darth Vader scene we’ll ever get. Until Disney gets desperate and needs to make another origin story for him. But HOPEFULLY, the last Darth Vader appearance we’ll get in a Star Wars movie was so worthy of his character. I’m so glad the lasting image in my head of him will be his dominance in the Rebel ship as opposed to him turning good at the end of the Last Jedi. An image that is so much more appropriate for one of the greatest villains of all time.

What makes this movie somewhat frustrating to me is that it could easily be number one for me. When the teaser dropped (see below) I was thrilled, then Disney threw some more cooks in the kitchen and we had family issues all of a sudden and needed to pretend to care about the father. When really, this movie of this type and stakes shouldn't care about that sort of relationship.

If they had ended up finishing the movie the above trailer was indicative of, this would have probably been my favorite Star Wars movie ever. However, even with its slight flaws, this movie is one of my favorites.

As I get farther away from this movie, the more I love it. I rewatched it recently and it holds up so well. The capsulated effort of this group to obtain Death Star plans remains an amazing isolated watch.

2. The Last Jedi

This movie is a Star Wars masterpiece. At first, I wasn’t sure how to feel about it, but after letting it sit and seeing it more than once it really does have a legitimate claim to fame in the Star Wars universe. How it develops the plot and weaves the different story threads throughout it is incredibly relaxing and smart.

What’s nice about this movie as well is how slim it feels for its overall length. Despite being somewhat long, the movie runs fast and I would only nitpick the Fin and Rose trip as being the somewhat unnecessary plot point. But even that plot thread is somewhat entertaining.

How the film deals with Luke and Leia is something I keep flip-flopping on. Most days I really liked it, other, more cynical days, it bothers me. This aspect of the movie is likely to sway over the years as this movie ages.

1. Empire Strikes Back

The opening of this movie is majestic. Like you could take the opening scene, till the end of the Hoth battle when Luke, Han Solo, and Leia leave and that would be my favorite Star Wars movie.

Cloud City with Lando Calrissian is fantastic, and of course, the greatest movie reveal of all time is awesome. I’ll never forget showing this movie to my wife for the first time and telling her to pay attention when the scene was coming up where Darth would tell Luke that he was his father.

She turns to me and says: “Oh is this where Luke finds out Darth Vader is his father?”. I’m of course appalled that she already knows and ask where she knew that from since this was her first time watching Empire.

Turns out, this is where she knew it from.


Thanks a bunch, Toy Story.

This movie is a thrill ride that perfectly set up the presumed conclusion of Star Wars in Return of the Jedi. Which Jedi did a decent job at fulfilling. But Empire Strikes back encapsulates everything I love about the Star Wars franchise. It’s a fantastic movie and deserving of the number one spot, in my opinion, it’ll be tough for any movie to unseat it.