This past weekend I finally got around to watching Solo: A Star Wars Story. I love Star Wars, but I skipped seeing Solo in theaters, partly in protest over The Last Jedi and partly because Disney never earned my ticket. I never asked for a Solo movie, and Disney never convinced me why I should’ve. But with the movie long out of theaters, my moral victory achieved, and some free time on my hands, I decided to give it a watch.
And I enjoyed it. Alden Ehrenreich did a good job as Han Solo, and I wished I could’ve seen more of Donald Glover’s Lando Calrissian. It was a fun addition to the Star Wars universe. That being said, there was a lot I didn’t care for. Some plot points were just stupid, like Han and Chewbacca meeting because Han tried to desert the Imperial infantry and Chewie was supposed to eat him. Was that really the best you could come up with? Some problems were plot related. Towards the film’s end, there are so many double crosses I lost track of who was with who. Also, Han is presented as this compassionate hero who just wants to get the girl and own his own ship, which begs the question of how he became the rogue who shot first from A New Hope. I could go on, but I’m not going to write a 600 word review on an unspectacular movie that’s seven months old. I’ll just say this- Solo was the opposite of The Last Jedi. Nothing about it was spectacular, but it’s flaws were small and unimportant enough I’m not going to get upset over them.
Now that I am once again caught up on the Star Wars universe, here are my official rankings, from best to worst, of the 10 Star Wars films:
- Star Wars: A New Hope- The one that started it all. Upon rewatch, this movie is extremely slow at the start. However, once Luke, Han, and company get onto the Death Star, it’s clever, touching, and thoroughly satisfying. The impact of this movie is almost unparalleled. Every sci-fi movie wants to be Star Wars. Every villain wants to be Darth Vader. Every rogue wants to be Han Solo. Every superweapon wants to be as imposing as the Death Star. This movie is the definition of a classic, and still sets the standard for the Star Wars universe.
- Star Wars: Return of the Jedi- Return of the Jedi was once my favorite Star Wars movie, and is still right up there with A New Hope. It’s not flawless, but when this movie succeeds, it’s soars. The scene at the end of the movie with Darth Vader, Luke, and the Emperor is the best scene in the entire saga. It’s a masterpiece, and good enough for me to forgive a couple of the dumber segments of this movie.
- Rogue One: A Star Wars Story- Rogue One is really two movies, one mediocre and the other excellent. The first half of this movie is choppy, and revolves mostly around Jyn, who’s the blandest character in the film. But when the rebels finally get to Scarif, it might be the best hour of Star Wars out there. When a character dies, you feel it, and its climax is everything a climax should be. Also, the hallway scene is awesome. You know what I’m talking about.
- Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back- Empire is widely considered the best Star Wars movie, and I can see why. It takes everything about the first movie, and ups the game. In a lot of ways, it’s the perfect sequel. But to me, there’s just something about Empire that always bored me a little, and the plot twists, character building, and mystery that endeared this movie to its first viewers just isn’t there for me. It’s still very good, but not great.
The Good Bad
- Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith- Revenge of the Sith is not that bad of a movie. Sure, it still has a lot of the problems endemic to the prequels, but it’s helped by a more exciting story and much better acting. The primary plot point- Anakin’s descent into the dark side, is much better done than it’s given credit for, and smarter than I think George Lucas realized. It also has the benefit of being the most quotable movie of all time.
- Solo: A Star Wars Story: As previously mentioned, Solo is fine. Nothing special, had a few problems, but nothing I’m going to get upset about. I didn’t love it, I didn’t agree with it, but I accepted it.
The Bad Good
- Star Wars: The Force Awakens- Force Awakens is not a bad movie, and a lot of the hate is unfair. It still holds the record for the film I’ve seen most in theaters, and I enjoyed it all three times I saw it. But so much of Force Awakens is questions The Last Jedi chose not to answer, which reflects poorly on Force Awakens. If Last Jedi had a more complex Rey, or fleshed out the First Order, this movie would be up there with Empire. But as it is, its sins remain unforgiven, and its highs remain underappreciated.
- Star Wars: The Last Jedi- There is not a movie I hate more than The Last Jedi. There’s certainly good in this movie- it looks gorgeous (the shot of Luke and Yoda in front of the burning tree is the second best shot in the saga) and Kylo Ren is one of the best characters in the entire universe (including legends). But as previously mentioned, Force Awakens deliberately raises questions Last Jedi refuses to answer, which tells me as the viewer not to care. I could write thousands of words on why this movie is awful. Don’t get me started on Riso Tico and Canto Bight. To borrow a quote from Supreme Leader Snoke, this could’ve been “something truly special. The potential of the saga. A new Star Wars…I thought you could’ve been the one to revitalize the franchise. Alas.”
- Star Wars: Phantom Menace- Not only is this movie bad, it’s also really boring. We spend much of this movie stuck, on Tatooine, with Jake Lloyd’s eight year old Anakin Skywalker and his bowl cut, watching space Nascar. I don’t even like regular Nascar, why would I enjoy space Nascar? Darth Maul, Qui-Gon Jinn, and Obi-Wan Kenobi are three of the coolest characters in the saga. Surely George Lucas could’ve made something more entertaining than this.
- Star Wars: Attack of the Clones- I don’t like sand. It’s rough, it’s course, it’s irritating, and it gets everywhere. You know what else is irritating? This movie. It’s so bad. It’s paced horribly, we don’t get to the main plot until an hour into the movie, and it revolves around the romance between Padme and Anakin, a relationship with cringe-worthy dialogue and lifeless acting. Nowhere does Star Wars stray further from the light than in this episode.
Two final things- first, despite my scorn for the sequels, I’m still very excited for Episode 9, and I will be seeing it opening night. I think it has the possibility to be right up there with the originals. Second, the best Star Wars story of all time is still not from a movie, it’s the Knights of the Old Republic 2 video game. That game is a masterpiece, and its story is far richer than anything I’ve yet to see in a Star Wars movie.
Agree with the list? Let me know where I have fallen to the dark side, and which Star Wars movies are your favorite. Also, be sure to hit that button in the bottom right to follow, you’re not going to want to miss the Christmas items coming out soon.
Blog Note: We are fast approaching the Christmas season, and as such, I’m going to take a step back from the political commentary to discuss things far more important than a migrant caravan or Bob Mueller. The first of these will be “Life is Pretty Good”, dropping on Friday. See you then.