Phil’s Best To Worst: Star Wars Movies! (Updated with The Rise Of Skywalker)
Listed from best to Attack Of The Clones, Phil, of Phil’s Quick Capsule Review, breaks down a film related subject in order of his own personal enjoyment. This time out: Star Wars Films!
The Rules: So I’ve excluded the throwaway 80’s Ewok kids films here as well as the Christmas special as it’s far from cannon. So just the main 12 Star Wars films and the feature length Clone Wars movie.
BEST: Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back
Empire Strikes Back is a franchise high point for many reasons but MOSTLY as it’s the Star Wars film Lucas had least to do with, instead putting the film into the hands of Kasdan. It shows – more mature, darker and edgier it still boasts one of cinemas best twist endings and adds depth to the cut out characters from Star Wars. Essential.
2. Star Wars: A New Hope
Groundbreaking, epic and genre defining space sagas don’t get much better than this. A lean plot, some edge of your seat action sequences and THAT ending make Star Wars a simply outstanding film.
3. Star Wars: The Return Of The Jedi
I love Return of The Jedi. Growing up it’s the Star Wars film I watched the most (it certainly has the best action of any Star Wars films). Years on the excitement still holds but there are shadows of the failings of the prequels here also (Ewok’s for some but mostly the convoluted plotting, the fact everyone knows or is related to the Skywalkers and the weak dialogue). Still the final space battle and the lightsabre duel stand out as the franchises two best moments
4. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
Yup that hit the spot. Rogue One, a war story, a story of hope and overcoming overwhelming odds. And thats just the making of it. Yet it works. It works SO well in fact that it’s jumped to No4 on this list.
5. Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Delivering a new style of Star Wars film, The Last Jedi makes some bold choices (and some silly ones) to take Star Wars in a fresh new direction that will finally allow it to move past it’s Skywalker focus story and firmly land the legacy on the shoulders of some new characters. It doesn’t all work but when it does it’s some of them most spectacular Star Wars yet!
6. Star Wars: The Force Awakens
After the much maligned prequels, the first Star Wars film to be Lucas free felt very much like a homage as it retooled A New Hope’s story and gave us a “Best of” compilation. That said it was well done, set up an array of exciting new characters and gave us well hell of a twist when you know what happens to you know who. Not as good as we wanted it to be but a massive step up from the prequels.
7. Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker
Look The Rise Of Skywalker is a mess for sure, the whole trilogy lacking a cohesive drawn out narrative from the start and this for sure plays out as a massive negative here as JJ struggles to pull it all together. It also is hampered by Carrie Fisher’s death, something that causes narrative issues. BUT these points aside it’s a good film – spectacular action sequences, solid twists and turns and some great character work by the core cast.
8. Solo : A Star Wars Story
Solo is good. It’s just a victim of the production issues that plagued it from the start. The cast are mostly superb (Clarke isn’t sadly) but the film runs out of steam as it tries to hit every Solo touch point referenced in previous Star Wars films. Good but could have been better
9. Star Wars: The Revenge Of The Sith
The best of a very bad bunch, Sith at least had a darkness to it that the franchise had avoided previously. It’s still shouldered with terrible acting, a plot that steps on the original trilogy more than it ever needed to and some terrible FX work BUT it’s not Attack of The Clones.
10. Star Wars: The Clone Wars (2005)
From little acorns big Oak Trees grow and that’s very much the case here. See the Star Wars: the Clone Wars animated film has nuggets of promise that would later be fulfilled by the excellent TV show but the feature length pilot instead gets itself weighed down in trying to please too many people and ends up being a bit of a mess.
11. Star Wars: The Phantom Menace
Deeply flawed, badly plotted and criminally dull at times this film is saved by some excellent visuals (although dated FX), the pod race and the final duel between Jedi & Sith. It overplays it’s hand throughout however and the Jedi prove to be rather dull as leading characters. Less said about Jake Lloyd the better.
WORST: Star Wars: Attack of The Clones
A real low for the series and one of the worst sequels ever made, Attack of The Clones gets almost nothing right. If A terrible story that makes no sense, a boring end battle where CGI things shoot CGI things and the blowing of one of Star Wars most talked about moments (The Clone Wars!!!) weren’t enough you also have one of the most wooden central performances ever (helped by some of the worst dialogue ever). It’s a bad film. And one to be avoided.
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Phil Hobden is the former Film Editor & Writer for renowned martial arts focused COMBAT MAGAZINE in the UK. He is also a filmmaker in his own right, having produced two cult Independent action films in LEFT FOR DEAD and TEN DEAD MEN. He was the host for the award nominated Filmsploitation podcast for 4 years, currently co-hosts Ross And Phil Talk Movies and is a writer/editor for his own blog Phil’s Quick Capsule Review…