It's May the 4th, which means that it's (national? international?) Star Wars Day. Pretty much a hype tool for the movie/TV show/book franchise, Star Wars Day is nevertheless an awesome 24 hours of remembrance because, hey, it's Star Wars. I thought it would be a good time to do a ranking of the best of Star Wars, so, here again is another List of Truth, courtesy of yours truly.
Let's start-off with where it all began -- the films...
1. Return of the Jedi (1983)
My personal favorite. I saw it at just the right age, when the Ewoks would be most appealing, and it wrapped-up the original trilogy quite nicely. I love Darth Vader's redemptive arc. Ian McDiarmid as Palpatine is one of the best things about the film.
2. The Force Awakens (2015)
What a wonderful way to return to the Skywalker saga! Yes, it's a bit of a retread of A New Hope, but I'm ok with that. The new characters are great, the old characters (well, Han, anyway) are back in good form, and the look and feel of the film are definitely Star Wars.
3. Rogue One (2016)
A somewhat different sort of Star Wars movie, but it works. And it works quite well. Within the span of two hours, we are made to care about a group of characters we've never seen before. The direction is taut, the (non-John Williams) score is striking, and Darth Vader's scene at the end is everything. I've watched and re-watched this movie several times.
4. A New Hope (1977)
I've grown to appreciate this movie over the years. My first viewing of it, as a very young lad, was not the best, and I'll admit that its pacing could use some ooomph. But who can deny that it's a classic? Everything Star Wars flows from this film.
5. The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
I'ma be real with you: There's the awesomeness of the Hoth battle, and then the movie kind of slowly peters-off. Objectively, it serves as a good bridge movie, but overall I find it lacking. Minority opinion, I know.
6. Attack of the Clones (2002)
If numbers 1 through 5 on this list were the equivalent of Los Angeles to Las Vegas, the space between number 5 and this entry would be Vegas to Chicago. Maybe even Cambridge, Massachusetts. The prequels are simply bad cinema. Of the three, Clones works the best, I guess. I enjoyed the slight mystery element to it, along with Williams' score.
7. Revenge of the Sith (2005)
This movie is ok, not because it's truly an ok movie, but because of the fact that it is part 3 of a trilogy, therefore climaxes occur. The acting, special effect, etc. are still just as bad as the first two parts, but at least we see Palpatine unveiled, Anakin turned to the Dark Side, a brief (though cringe-inducing) glimpse of Darth Vader, and the Jedi wiped-out. The necessary plot points save it.
8. The Phantom Menace (1999)
I cannot tell you how disappointing the experience of watching this movie for the first time was. From Return of the Jedi to this? Oi.
Next up: Heroes
1. Han Solo
2. Luke Skywalker
3. Leia Organa
4. Jyn Erso
6. Chirrut Imwe
8. Bail Organa
9. Cassian Andor
10. Lando Calrissian
And, finally, the Villains
1. Darth Vader
4. Darth Maul
5. Jabba the Hutt
8. Boba Fett
9. General Grievous
10. Count Dooku
And, there you have it. If I have any particular takeaway from this post, it's that the bench for Star Wars' villains is far less deep than for its heroes. And now, on to The Last Jedi!