FilmExodus Ranks the ‘Star Wars’ Films

In a couple days, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, the second film in the sequel trilogy, soars into theaters. The FilmExodus Community decided to go back through the Star Wars archives and rank the seven episodes and Rogue One. In case you missed it, we previously ranked the Spider-Man films before Homecoming hit theaters last July.

Which film ended up where and why? Let’s find out, shall we?


8. Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones (2002) 30.5 points

  • Attack of the Clones to me is as good as Empire, but I rank it slightly higher because of the sheer number of decapitations Lucas got away with in a PG movie. – Jack Slater IV
  • When I think of my favourite scenes in the prequels, I think of this movie. I think of Kenobi and Fett on Kamino, I think of everything on Tatooine, I think of ‘Across the Stars’ and the secret wedding, I think of Yoda with a lightsaber. Best thing in the movie: Natalie Portman. – dnwilliams
  • It’s full of trade-mark Lucas clunkyness, but it has a lot of genuine fun and excitement: Obi Wan and Anakin bantering, Obi Wan doing detective work and hand to hand combat, the whole sequence in the arena… Plus, the “Anakin’s mother dying” plot was quite impactful and well-handled, and it started to effectively paint Anakin as the tragic character he is. Absolutely every scene focusing on the Anakin/Padme love story is the worst though, and personally I just skip them. – Galaxion
  • Ham handed attempts at drama, an aimless plot and CG overkill. At least Christopher Lee is there to keep the proceedings better than it probably deserves. – The Dead Fellow
  • Half of this movie follows Obi-Wan Kenobi through a bumbling, incoherent noirish mystery (the plot doesn’t even make sense without supplemental information supplied in The Clone Wars) and the other half is Anakin’s awkward romance. With lame dialogue that would make James Cameron blush and ugly digital sets that destroy the immersion that makes Star Wars so great, this is a clear last place. – Resonance Cascade
  • Recently saw this one again on TNT or TBS, and man the acting is atrocious. It’s got some great parts but it isn’t enough to save it. Overall, I wish you could take the best parts of Phantom and Clones to make one good movie. Then edit down Sith a bit and you’d have a great pair of movies. And of course update the CGI. There’s parts in the arena battle in Clones that everything looks fake and floaty. – King Alvarez
  • We are at the last George Lucas prequel and this is the best out of the 3 which isn’t saying much. This introduced Mace Freaking Windu to the universe and the clone wars have begun and instead of being practical there is fake CGI all over the place that looks so bad I felt like I was looking at a green screen the whole time. This is also the same movie where we figure out that Anakin hates sand as it’s rough and coarse and gets everywhere. I was hoping he would drown and die from sand overload! What a sandy death! More unnecessary Padame and Anakin romance that no star wars fan cares for and I hoped they would break up. Also emo dark Anakin is even worse than Emo dark Peter and he is so unbelievable as a bad guy. Anakin is such a whiny brat that I wanted to shut him up in any way possible and heate still sucks at acting. General Palpentine was actually pretty good in this film and had some great acting scene but Yoda of course stole the show because he always does. Overall the best of the Lucas prequels which isn’t saying that much. It only got to this spot because of that epic Mace Windu VS all the clones and that is probably one of my favorite scenes in the prequels. Anakin brings the prequels down and without him these movies would be a lot better. Overall these prequels are pretty forgetable and Lucas should of never made them and scrapped them. – J-Mart
  • This is just a terrible film in my opinion, although I will admit that there are some good parts.I actually like Obi-Wan’s diner chef buddy, Dex, who I think is very entertaining and charismatic for a CGI character.  He definitely could have been utilized more, but he’s not the only one. The phenomenal Christopher Lee is completely wasted in the role of Count Dooku/Darth Tyranus again, which is a huge shame as he could have been a great character.  Not to mention, the waste of Natalie Portman, who was a highlight of the first prequel.  Anakin’s lines of “I don’t like sand. It’s coarse and rough and irritating and it gets everywhere. Not like here. Here everything is soft and smooth.” sounds like something out of a trashy romance novel or a bad Hallmark movie.  That is not the only one of the worst parts of Hayden Christensen’s portrayal of Anakin, but it is a stand-out.  Even worse, they even managed to make a giant lightsaber battle boring, which is pretty hard to do.  There is no emotional stakes with the (I’ll be generous) side-characters and it really does not matter in the end.  I still love me some Kit FIsto though.  Yoda’s flipping would have probably been better left to the imagination as it is really silly in the execution with the fight with Dooku.  The backstory for Boba Fett through Jango Fett and the clones see pointless because they serve no real purpose aside from being a nameless army.  I will concede that the Obi-Wan vs. Jango fight is pretty cool though.  I know some people like this one, but it is undoubtedly my least favorite of the franchise. – Joe Newman
  • I just want to take the opportunity to say that I detest that droid factory scene.  That has to be one of the stupidest things Lucas has put on film.  And that’s saying something. The death of Jango Fett was anti-climactic. – Dry But Soupy

7. Star Wars: Episode I  The Phantom Menace (1999) — 31.5 points

  • The movie that really opened up the mythology and the best looking of all the Blu-rays. – Jack Slater IV
  • Killing off Darth Maul might be the single biggest mistake in the Star Wars series. Instantly iconic. I’m a huge fan of the pod race too, if Disney ever wanted to do movies in the prequel era, a pod racer movie could be cool. Best thing in the movie: Liam Neeson. – dnwilliams
  • This… is just boring and dumb. I couldn’t care less for kid Anakin or Jar Jar and the plight of his people. The only good things to come out of this (besides the stage-setting/world-building) are Qui Gon, Darth Maul and that incredibly amazing John Williams score. – Galaxion
  • Goofy, sloppy, cheesy – yet I’d be lying if I said I was bored by this. Plus it sports some of the finest work soundtrack wise John Williams will ever produce. – The Dead Fellow
  • Jar Jar Binks says some stupid shit, but, seriously, he is barely in this movie or the sequels. Lil’ Anakin is a kid, how did you expect him to act? Liam Neeson is a pure badass and I’d rather see him get a spinoff than Obi-Wan. Also, props to Star Wars for being the only franchise yet to use Keira Knightley as a double for Natalie Portman. I mean, c’mon Hollywood how have you not got these two together for a drama film about two sisters? – M. Karlston
  • I used to think this was the worst one, but Clones takes that place. Minus Jar Jar, its a pretty good movie. – King Alvarez
  • This film is actually pretty underrated.  Yes, it’s not perfect and has the most Jar-Jar Binks appearances, and Lucas introduces the ridiculous concept of midichlorians, but overall it is a pretty solid movie.  The opening of the film is absolutely stellar as we watch young Obi-Wan and his master, Qui-Gon, do some serious Jedi shit.  It was something that we had imagined, but had never seen before.  In fact, I would say that the Vader scene in Rogue One probably would have never happened without the Jedi and Sith action scenes used in this film. Darth Maul works great and not bring him back in the live-action films was a huge mistake.  I mean, what was George Lucas thinking?  “Oh they really like this character and hate Jar-Jar, so just less Jar-Jar in the next ones.”  I’ll even admit that I like Watto, as he is an interesting character who just feels like he belongs in the Star Wars universe.  “You think you’re some kind of Jedi, waving your hand around like that? I’m a Toydarian. Mind tricks don’t work on me. Only money.” is probably one of the best lines in the entire film. Either way, this is a well-crafted film that receives unnecessary and undeserved hate from the majority of the fan-base.  No, it does not hold up to the original trilogy, but it does stand on its own as a pretty well-crafted film. – Joe Newman

6. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016) — 44 points

  • Seeing the Star Wars aesthetic so faithfully recreated with modern effects would be worth the price of admission alone, but throw in a bunch of cool, distinctive characters, an ending that pulls no punches, and the Vader we’ve waited our whole lives to see, and you’ve got a movie that could leapfrog RotJ for me given time. Best thing in the movie: Donnie Yen. – dnwilliams
  • One of the most pointless movies I ever saw. Seriously, why the hell should I care about the backstory of some little piece of information that’s in the Star Wars opening crawl? It’s just an excuse to yet again give us the original Rebels vs Empire status quo and time period, and to shove nostalgia down our throats. The story is meandering and mostly consists of getting stuff to do other stuff. All the characters aren’t fleshed out enough because they have to (almost comically) die one after the other at the end, so we wouldn’t want the audience to get too attached right? The acting is also just bad for the most part, especially from Felicity Jones, and she’s the freaking lead! The only characters I cared about and liked were Chirrut and K2-SO… (Disney yet again completely wasted the amazing Mikkelsen, such a shame). It did have some awesome locations and action set-pieces, and I really enjoyed how it was filmed more like a war-movie: from a cinematography stand-point it was top-notch. – Galaxion
  • It’s a shame we don’t spend more time with its motley crew of newcomers, who are largely squandered to make room for all the plot lifting it has to do to get us to Episode IV’s doorstep. Too thrilling to be forgettable but not grand enough to be unforgettable, Rogue One is probably doomed to fall mid-pack on these lists for eternity. That said, even with its flaws, I’d watch ten more Star Wars movies this good. – Resonance Cascade
  • Great prequel that isn’t part of the Skywalker Saga. Does a fine job expanding the universe but keeping us a part of the one we know and love. – King Alvarez
  • Yes I figured out how to spell this movie finally! Felicity Jones nails the role of Jyn as a powerful female character who is a badass and no Mary Sue. The CGI is beautiful, but the General Palpentine and Leia CGI is just okay. There are some emotional moments that brought tears to my eyes like Cassian almost shooting Jyn’s father and he dies and Jyn watched him die. But this film shines in the third act as the fight on the beach is epic and everyone dies in a heroic way so the mission can continue. The best Star Wars prequel by far. – J-Mart
  • Although it is pretty good, this film is extremely lacking in the character development department.  K-2SO and Chirrut are the only really compelling characters and are far superior to the main leads that are Jyn and Cassian.  Although, it is cool to see the Rebellion actually steal the plans for Death Star, it is hard to care about most of these characters.  Look, we all know that the best part is seeing Darth Vader being more Darth Vader than he ever has before at the end.  I personally did not mind the CGI Tarkin or Leia, but I do know that is a point of contention with fans. It really does not take me out of the movie at all and I think people just want to nitpick it because it is weird to have created dead or aged actors.  I also think it was uncharacteristically brazen to kill off all your main characters, even though it was hard to feel for these underdeveloped people.  This will be the shortest entry for me as I do not have any good or bad strong feelings about the film.  I enjoy it, but I do not love it.  I mentioned that K-2S0 was cool, right?  Alan Tudyk is a national treasure. – Joe Newman

5. Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith (2005) 51.5 points

  • Revenge of the Sith is my favorite because it’s dark as fuck and Obi-Wan schooled Vader. – Jack Slater IV
  • I wish the whole prequel trilogy was just this film in three parts. Best thing in the movie: Ian McDiarmid. – dnwilliams
  • Probably quite alone with this opinion, but I think it’s truly great. It’s full of powerful and memorable moments, and I’d argue that some of the clunky/campy/cheesy Lucas dialogue strangely enough makes some scenes even more special and doesn’t undercut their impact: “Poweeeeeer. Unlimited Poweeeeeer!” for example. The film is full of important and impactful moments like Order 66, the Anakin/Obi Wan confrontation, and basically everything from Darth Sidious (Ian McDiarmid is the MVP of the prequels). I really love the way the whole story ends, it feels very much like a Greek tragedy, Anakin is just a helpless pawn to the will of the universe and higher powers, and his and the Jedi’s downfall was inevitable. Other than that, the film had fantastic action, visuals, music, and even some great acting (even from Christensen!). The one Padme/Anakin “love” discussion on the balcony is still the absolute worst though. – Galaxion
  • Have you ever heard the tragedy of Darth Vader the naive? This is still a part of the prequel trilogy so there are still some goofy-ass moments in it, but they’re just odd punctuation in the satisfying story of cinema’s greatest villain being born. The original trilogy hinted that Darth Vader was merely seduced by greed and power, but in developing the idea, Lucas turned it into more of a Shakespearean tragedy of manipulation and loss. It’s all the better for it. – Resonance Cascade
  • The Star Wars prequels are not bad. There I said it. I watched these films with an extremely low bar after years of hearing how terrible they were and that they ruined Star Wars. Yet, they’re good. They aren’t perfect, but they’re still enjoyable. Episode III is easily the best of the bunch. The evolution of Anakin’s character comes full tilt, and it’s believable that he might turn to the dark side. Now, where do I begin the Justice for Jar Jar sign up sheet? – M. Karlston
  • The best of the prequels and even then it has some rough parts. Vader’s Noooooooooo! is one of them – King Alvarez
  • This is where it starts getting harder to separate the pack.  I’m putting “Revenge” here simply on the strength of the opening space battle.  When I first heard “Clone Wars” uttered decades ago by Alec Guinness, the opening scene is the kind of epic space battle I envisioned.  I also really dig the design of Obi-Wan and Anakin’s fighters in that scene. – Dry But Soupy

Head to the next page to see the top 4.