5. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story – Rogue One undoubtedly has its flaws, but it makes the list primarily based on its acting and CGI work. Overall the acting in Rogue One is phenomenal (much better than the prequels ever dreamed of being). Felicity Jones shines as the strong woman, and Diego Luna, Donnie Yen, Forest Whitaker, Ben Mendelsohn, and others bring depth to their characters through their exceptional talent. Rogue One is also a beautiful looking film. The beach scene, as many others have noted, is fantastic and thrilling. Although the plot has its holes, and Darth Vader doesn’t appear as much as we would like, I still believe Rogue One is a fun film that captures the essence of Star Wars.
4. The Return of the Jedi – Episode VI wrapped up the infamous original Star Wars trilogy, and it did a pretty decent job. It’s definitely no Empire Strikes Back or A New Hope, but it did the trilogy justice. The thing I love about Return of the Jedi: the end sequence with Luke, Darth Vader, and Darth Sidius. Things I dislike about Return of the Jedi: pretty much the entire Jabba the Hutt sequence, and the Ewoks beating Storm Troopers with sticks. However, The Return of the Jedi concludes a most epic trilogy and gives us the ending we had hoped for.
3. The Force Awakens – With any Star Wars film there is hype and anticipation before its release and the Force Awakens was no different. I love A New Hope . . . I mean The Force Awakens for two main reasons: it brought diversity to the universe, and introduced us to characters who will be able to carry on this franchise. Although The Force Awakens does have an uncanny resemblance to A New Hope, it still holds its own as a worthy continuation in the Star Wars franchise.
2. A New Hope – The one that started it all. A New Hope introduced us to a new world with exciting characters and some pretty amazing special effects work that still hold up fairly well today. This original space opera was released in 1977 and grossed over 786 million dollars worldwide. George Lucas’s story took the world by storm and brought in a diverse audience due to its inspiring themes. The reason A New Hope doesn’t make number 1 on this list is because it does have slow moments where Lucas had to spend time immersing the audience in this universe and explaining it to us along the way. Although this is an amazing film, there is still one Star Wars film that improved on what A New Hope introduced.
1. The Empire Strikes Back – Episode V includes everything a fan loves about Star Wars: action, romance, drama, and Darth Vader. The Empire Strikes Back has a well fleshed out plot that excels above A New Hope because we already know the main characters and world. Episode V was able to focus on the plot and the relationship among Luke, Leia, and Han. The Empire Strikes Back is an amazing film that a Star Wars fan will love and that an outsider can still appreciate.