Reader Request Week 2022 #4: Rogue One

David asks:

Ranked from worst to best, the Star Wars movies, and why is Rogue One the best?

Rogue One isn’t the best — that’s still, and is likely to remain, The Empire Strikes Back — but at this point I would rank it a solid #3.

Before I get into why, here’s that ranking of the Star Wars movies (best to worst):

  1. The Empire Strikes Back
  2. Star Wars (aka A New Hope)
  3. Rogue One
  4. The Force Awakens
  5. The Last Jedi
  6. Solo
  7. Return of the Jedi
  8. Revenge of the Sith
  9. The Rise of Skywalker
  10. Attack of the Clones
  11. The Phantom Menace

Not ranked here: The various live-action and animated Star Wars properties, because I was asked about the movies, not the series, and anyway I haven’t watched all the animated stuff. I will say if I were ranking the two live-action series (so far), The Mandalorian would slot in after The Last Jedi and The Book of Boba Fett after Sith. I’ll also say that Sith and Skywalker swap around in the ranking depending on my mood for the day; I think Skywalker is more competent overall (notwithstanding the absolute loss of nerve by Disney in its story construction), but Sith has more operatic scope. Both are flawed and it’s a matter of which flaws annoy me the most at any particular moment.

Additionally, I’ll note that while I rank Star Wars/New Hope at #2, it’s not actually all that well-scripted or directed or acted, it’s “merely” epochal and a sea change in how films were made, released, distributed and marketed, and can’t be ranked any lower than #2 thereby. As a film, Star Wars is far more important than it is good, and George Lucas is an absolutely brilliant filmmaker as long as he’s not writing words for humans to speak, or directing them in how to speak them. Yes, there is irony in the fact that his Oscar nominations are for screen writing and directing. I said what I said. I have spoken.

Coming back round to Rogue One, I wrote a review of it when it came out, and by and large I stand by what I wrote there, with the acknowledgment that my opinion regarding the Disneyfication of the Star Wars universe has changed a bit since I wrote the review. Indeed, in the further consideration of time, Rogue One stands out as the true outlier in the entire canon of Star Wars films — the one fully adult Star Wars film, which is to say, the one that engages with the idea that not everything is “light side” and “dark side,” and that even the good guys do not great things, and that sometimes your heroes do not get a happy ending. There is irony in the idea that of all Star Wars films, this is the one that best lives up to the morally ambiguous storytelling ethos of the class of 70s auteurs that George Lucas was himself spawned out of; Rogue One is closer to The Conversation or The French Connection (or, shit, THX 1138) than any Star Wars film Lucas himself ever made.

(Not that much closer, let’s not overegg the pudding. But still.)

What Rogue One has over any other Star Wars film is that is it almost certainly the best acted film in that canon, thanks to a very fine cast which has a script that gives them more than merely declamatory things to say about a story with at least moderate complexity, and direction that allows them a full(er) range of human emotions on screen. If I were ranking Star Wars films in terms of proficiency of acting, it would be Rogue, then Empire and then Force, with each offering some interesting things to discuss (with Empire, it would be how the workmanlike competence of Irwin Kershner got so much better performances out of the cast than Lucas’ disinterested auteurism; with Force, it would be how JJ Abrams’ facility with pastiche made the Star Wars franchise feel fresh again… but only once). But Rogue has consistently better acting than either of those two films.

The one disadvantage that Rogue One has over the other top-rankers (Empire, Star Wars, Force) is that it is both interstitial and dependent; it’s an aside to the main thrust of the film canon, and it’s so contingent on the viewers’ knowledge of films that came 40 years before it that really can’t be understood on its own terms. The conflict of the film falls flat if you don’t come in with an innate understanding of what’s at stake with the Death Star plans, and the moment that Darth Vader shows up to try to grab those plans from the rebels doesn’t have the same sort of visceral chill if you haven’t already gotten the scope of his evil. To be fair to Rogue, the number of people on the planet who have no clue regarding the Death Star or Darth Vader is miniscule at this point, and the number of people who went to Rogue One without that information is even smaller. But that doesn’t change the fact.

A final thing I will say in praise of Rogue One is that is the one Star Wars film that makes almost no missteps in telling its story; there is almost nothing that is put on the mantlepiece in act one that is not used in act three, there is very little unnecessary faffing about in the name of fan service, there is nothing to my memory presented in the story that becomes another director’s or screenwriter’s problem in a future film. Rogue One understood its assignment, as the kids say, and executed it nearly flawlessly. Nearly — hello, dodgy CGI and a pointless brain-scrambling slime monster in a dungeon — but in Star Wars, like in horseshoes and hand grenades, “nearly” counts.

If you like Rogue One, I would suggest enjoying it for what it is and as a true one-off, because it seems unlikely to me the film segment of the Star Wars universe will come ’round to its more adult-leaning pleasures any time soon. Solo’s box office made Disney rethink some of its film plans, and Disney+ has convinced the company that television is the way to backfill the Star Wars universe mythos; as far as I can see all the Star Wars series take place before the sequel trilogy, with nothing after it. This is what it is, but it also means that Rogue One seems likely to remain its own thing (and before you say it, yes, I know about the scheduled “Andor” series, and it proves my point: it’s on TV, and in the “past” of the Star Wars universe; it’s even in the past of Rogue One, come to think of it).

But cry not that there will (probably) be no more Star Wars films like Rogue One, smile that it happened. It’s a really good Star Wars film. Let’s hope there are more that are almost as good. It could happen, if Disney ever finds its nerve again with the films. We’ll see.

— JS

(It’s not too late to get a question in for this week’s Reader Request Week! Go here to find out how to do so.)

50 Comments on “Reader Request Week 2022 #4: Rogue One”

  1. Rogue One is also the most beautifully filmed piece of the (movie) franchise, with some of Johnson’s work on Last Jedi coming in at second place.

  2. New Hope and Empire are all-time classics, and Force Awakens and Last Jedi are terrific films in their own ways, but Rogue One is the only Star Wars film that has ever brought tears to my eyes in the theater.

  3. I would also offer in praise of A New Hope the fact that, as the opening act (as presented) of the whole franchise, and as the initial introduction to the Star Wars Universe, it does not have to suffer under the ever increasing weight of what has gone before. In my opinion, one of the great faults of all the movies post original trilogy is that our view of this universe, so wide and open when we were first introduced to it, becomes more and more constrained and limited by the need to conform with what has gone before.

  4. You’re kidding – I’m the first one to comment? Wow, the Sequel Trilogy really did end badly for that to be true!

    I’d like to give some love for The Last Jedi, which gets very little from the fanbase. Yes, it’s not with problems (to quote Literature Ph.D. and ex-BBC film critic Mark Kermode) and Rian Johnson could’ve come up with a way that didn’t insult Luke Skywalker to have his nephew turn to The Dark Side, but he was also setting up the series to get away from all that “Skywalker Blood” BS and make The Force more like a martial art than something you either have or don’t. He also strongly implied that these incessant Star Wars were largely between followers of Leia opposing wealthy families who did well under Palpatine, and that most of the rest of the Galaxy could give a crap one way or the other who won….

  5. You hit one particular nail on the head: The Phantom Menace is all putting stuff on the mantelpiece, and nothing gets used, even in the subsequent films. And I’m not just talking about the conspiracy theory that Lucas lost his nerve regarding the idea of Darth Jar Jar. So many phantoms, hidden faces, and cool characters that are just throwaways.

  6. Love it! It continues to amaze me that a franchise like Star Wars could be so beloved and so awful in so many ways at the same time (and, of course, that Lucas’ repeated efforts to “fix” things in new versions almost inevitably made them worse). I might quibble with your rankings in a few places, but it seems that the whole franchise is in some way beyond my likes and dislikes–something unabashedly fun, for the most part, but which really just doesn’t hold up well under any kind of scrutiny regarding plot, dialogue, etc. because in the end none of that really matters.

  7. I might be confused…The question was: rank the movies from worst to best, but you have ranked them Best to Worst? is that correct?

  8. (Well, that last comment aged like milk!)

    I thought Rogue One, while very good, felt disjointed in spots – like where did the scene where Felicity Jones’s Jyn Erso went from reluctant participant in the Rebel Alliance’s scheme to fully-committed leader ready to lay down her life go? Yes, her father died in her arms, but given up until then that she gave every sign of just rabbiting out of there the first chance she got, the change still felt jarring to me.

    Am I the only one who noticed that?

  9. … George Lucas is an absolutely brilliant filmmaker as long as he’s not writing words for humans to speak…

    The dialogue in the original film may not qualify as naturalistic, but what struck me the last time I watched was how much it accomplishes. It seems like almost every line has a character development and a world-building function, beyond its surface meaning.

    The most striking was when Princess Leia meets Darth Vader. At this point, we don’t yet know who he is, beyond a villain in black. Many films would make the mystery of his identity and motivation a central part of their plot.

    Yet her first line to him is: ‘Darth Vader! Only you could be so bold.’ Not only does she know who he is, but she knows him – and he’s behaving exactly the way she would expect!

  10. I’d have put Solo at 3, but otherwise can’t really argue. Rogue One is really well done. That’s what happens when you put good actors with someone who can direct.

    The last three were just a hot mess, plot wise (whole casino planet thing) – it felt like they were making it up as they went along. The prequel trilogy were just plain bad – someone persuaded me to watch Revenge of the Sith, saying it’s not as bad as the other two – well, yes, but its still very bad.

    just how bad a director do you have to be to get career low performances from Natalie Portman, for goodness sake?

    I think the Mandalorian captured the essence of the universe better than anything since the first three. Fight me. Though I got bored by Boba Fett after 4 episodes, not sure I can be bothered to finish it.

  11. I could never hold The Force Awakens that high – it’s a mediocre copy of the original/A New Hope

  12. Looking back at all of them, I’d say Rogue One is the best Star Wars movie.

    Ep 4 gives you the idea that anybody, even a farmboy on some deadend planet, could become a hero. But by ep 9, that idea is turned into a farce: Only the blood of skywalker or the blood of palpatine matters. vader, luke, leia, kylo ren in one bloodline, and emporer palpatine and Rey in the other bloodline.

    The thing about Rogue One is that it really is about anybody can be a hero. Even bad guys. Even guys who worked for the Empire at one point. Even thieves. Even rebels who are ordered to kill Jyn Erso’s father but then decide to find another way. Even empirial fricken droids get to be a hero in Rogue.

    And people say they like ep5 for being dark, yet everything dark in ep5 is undone by ep6. Han Solo is unfrozen. Luke gets a cyberhand. Calrissian redeems himself. Luke “saves” his father. It’s like a comic book where a dozen bad things happen, and then its all undone in the next comic.

    Rogue One is actually dark. Everyone dies and stays dead. The costs are real and stay real. It’s not like superman is dead and they just keep reviving his corpse and death becomes meaningless

    Rogue One is the Magnificent Seven in space.

  13. Interesting. For me, i found Rogue One to be one of the more formulaic of the Star Wars saga. I could predict what would happen next well before it happened over and over and over. Even the JJ ones weren’t as predictable.

    It was dark and that was nice. It assumed adults were watching which was unique to the franchise. It had a lot going for it with actors and directors.
    But it also had some really dumb scripting, especially near the end. It was almost as if they moved away from the original film and forced an ending to it. From the point they arrived at the base onward, it was another hollywood ended film.. everything felt like it was checking a box and hitting the standard tropes.
    They even blew their Vader scenes – wanting a lightsaber fight when, in movie-franchise terms, hours later he is using the force to win what he lost with a lightsaber.

    As a whole, i felt others were stronger to the end. But i can understand the love for it as, again, it was the first – and probably only, made-for-adults Star Wars Franchise movie.

    And i think people don’t give SOLO enough credit. Not the best overall storyline but probably the most fun movie they made… outside of the original 1977 Star Wars. It showed that you didn’t need to be dark and brooding to still be SW. It didn’t start that way and it should be required.

  14. I grew up on the sci-fi of the 60’s and although it improved over the early 70’s, there was and is still nothing like the feeling that I got when I watched Star Wars for the first time. Now that’s not saying there wasn’t some really good SciFi before it, but nothing had ever come close to what I had imagined in my mind, when I read SciFi. It did! I remember my college friends rolling their eyes, when I came out of the theater totally gushing and going on and on about it. They didn’t get it. Most still don’t. Lol.

  15. At the end of Rogue One, my hubby and I left the cinema crying, which is a first for him. We both were 7-8 years old when A New Hope was released. So we grew up with Star Wars. Until Rogue, Empire has been our favorite, by far! After seeing Rogue, I read a review about how this movie was in no way a “watch over again and again movie”. And thus, not in the same conversation as the original trilogy. I immediately disagreed. It has a character story line and emotional plot that thrusts you into the how A New Hope came to be. Yes, you have to have the first trilogy context but DAMN! Seeing Vadar try to obtain the Death Star plans and fail!!

  16. I could nitpick about some of your order, but can’t fault you for the top three. I do think Empire is the best made of the series, but ANH the most IMPORTANT one. And I have great love for Rogue one. I will say I totally despised Last Jedi. Hamil was right when he said he fundamentally disagreed with everything decision about Luke that Johnson made. It wasn’t Luke, not the Luke from the previous trilogy. Though I do give Johnson full credit for how he used him at the end and his death. Well done. Solo I may rank as my least favorite. I felt the actor wasn’t believable as a young version of Ford’s Solo, and found the movie very disappointing. I just have to judge if that’s enough to make it worse than Jar Jar in Phantom, or young Anni. Phantom could have been a really interesting film, but instead it emphasizes all of Lucas’ weakness as a writer and director.

  17. i KNEW there had to be someone out there who, like me, thoroughly enjoyed the Solo movie. I feel so vindicated.

  18. Basically concur with the list, though the gulf between Empire Strikes Back (which I honestly think has a plausible claim to best space opera film ever made) and Rogue One is gigantic. I’d also rank Last Jedi higher – I think it’s the “best” film aside from Empire, though I agree it’s hard to weight that against New Hope’s revolutionary craft. IMO the only other two that are even particularly good are Rogue One and Force Awakens; everything else is mediocre-to-awful.

    I would probably put Attack of the Clones under Phantom Menace, but they are both so terrible that I’d rather just call them “unranked.” They don’t deserve to be on a list at all. (The Rise of Skywalker, also fucking terrible, almost shares in that fate but I’ll allow it to take last place.)

  19. My opinion of episodes II and III has gone up since I tried watching the first two trilogies in Machete Order (episodes IV, V, II, III, and VI in that order, leaving out I all together). I found myself agreeing with Rod Hilton that this order makes for a tighter, more unified story line that preserves the original twists – two episodes of Luke’s story, followed by two episodes of flashback with Anakin’s story, answering the implicit question posed at the end of Empire, followed by an emotionally satisfying conclusion that wraps up both story lines in a way that heightens the dramatic tension by showing the parallels between the two.

    In retrospect, I realize that part of what I disliked about episode II was me trying to fit it into the same story as episode I. Without that burden, I would push up episodes II, III, and VI a slot or two from your ranking, and probably downgrade The Force Awakens, which didn’t really satisfy me as a logical outcome of the story wrapped up in episode VI.

  20. I would personally rank Return of the Jedi a lot higher. As a kid, into my early teens, ROTJ was my favourite Star Wars film (and it had nothing to do with Ewoks). As an adult my opinion has changed a bit (I would probably put it in third place) but I still really enjoy it. Leia is absolutely at her best and has the most to do. For all that people criticise her being dressed up in a slave outfit, for me the key factor was always that she used the chain against Jabba and freed herself. Luke has matured (even as a kid I found him a bit irritating in the first movie). I love the way Vader/Anakin returns from the dark side to help his son. And the ending is ultimately satisfying – the only one of the three trilogies I can honestly say that for.

  21. Saw the first one in theatre when I was 13, been a big nerd ever since. Proud of it. No matter the order, Han shot first.

  22. Solo is on my forever s#*%tlist for the sole reason that some yahoo thought that was a clever way to give him his name.

  23. Star Wars–yeah it was Star Wars then, I don’t think A New Hope was even in the fine print–was the movie that divided the entire history of film-making into “before Star Wars” and “after Star Wars”. Also and not coincidentally it introduced “the ILM credits” which, to be clear, could be applied to movies with not a single mention of ILM in the credits.

  24. “Phantom Menace” should not be last. It’s the only one of the prequels that introduced Star Wars iconic imagery: Pod Racers are now inarguably part of the Star Wars iconography. So is Darth Maul with his dual sided light sabre. As is the scene of the armies and battle machines slow rolling across the green, green grass of Naboo.

    That movie is the only one of the 3 prequels to actually contribute that kind of lasting iconography, rather than just forgettable locales and characters.

    “Phantom Menace” is also boring and flat and overly expository, but watchable (jar jar aside). It also brought in Ewan McGregor, a good casting choice and pretty much the only good casting choice in all the prequels. So… it’s by far the best in the 3, though admittedly that’s a low threshold. But… in short, it doesn’t hurt to watch, and has some great imagery and moments.

    The other two are terrible in every since of the word. “Revenge of the Sith” is incredibly overrated in its reputation as the one of the three approaching “good”. It’s not, with interminably tedious fighting scenes and horribly realized important, climactic scenes that fail to deliver at all emotionally, instead inspiring cringes or laughter.

    But “Attack of the Clones”! OMG. That one should occupy a slot a few slots below the bottom.

  25. This is a solid ranking.

    I put The Last Jedi above Force Awakens. I absolutely LOVE The Last Jedi and I’m sad we never got an actual sequel to it.

    As for The Rise of Skywalker. That one broke me as a Star Wars fan. Just horrible. The prequels put a dent in my Star Wars fandom but The Rise of Skywalker finished the job. And I’ve been there since 1977, and remember that time in the late 80s and early 90s when it was not cool at all for us kids to still be into Star Wars.

  26. I’m going to buck the trend, here: I found Rogue One to be…fine, I guess. I agree with TimELeibe that I also noticed the the protagonist had no emotional arc that led her to suddenly being so deeply invested in the mission. I also thought the movie introduced some great characters and then threw them in a hole; yes, I get it, they sacrificed themselves (although, where were the Bothans, anyways?). The Seven Samurai didn’t all die, nor did the Magnificent Seven, so Rogue One’s ‘everybody dies’ ending felt…manipulative, to me.

    And honestly, I don’t rate the movie solely on the question of cinematic craft; the original Star Wars was immersive in a way few films before or since are. When the movie ended, I was sad I wasn’t in that world any longer. The first three films all offer me that. The prequel trilogy feels a little TOO aware of that detail and a little too wink-nudgy about it (Sleazbagano, really?).

    But I also think that, at least initially, Star Wars was about being an homage/pastiche to movie serials and samurai movies and in that, they succeeded splendidly. Subsequent films tried to be ‘star wars movies’ and have a different approach, be they revolutionary or slavish.

  27. Tim:”I could predict what would happen [in Rogue One] next well before it happened over and over and over.”

    Apollo13 was a pretty good movie. Knew how it would end.

    I think some folks heard “no, i am your father” and thought good storytelling needs m night shamalama bing bang twists every movie.

    I think its obvious luke would blow up the death star in ep4. Leia said she didnt trust lando enough times that it was pretty clear he was going to betray them in ep5. Luke was whining over and over about there still being good in his father that you knew he would heel-turn his genocidal dad.

    P Nolan: “Han shot first”

    I never understood this. Do people want their favorite character to be a little more murderous? Toxic masculinity?

    I think this points to why folks like ep4-6 but not Rogue One. The characters get to weild power on others, but suffer few direct, personal consequences. It is wish fullfillment power fantasy.

    Rogue One, the characters are usually outgunned by the bad guys, and in the end they all die. No wish fullfillment power fantasy there.

    Rewriting ep4 so greedo shot first makes Han more clearly moral, but takes away a situation of him weilding power unilaterally and with no consequences.

    Lobbying for “han shot first” seems to be lobbying to put the wish fullfillment power fantasy back in.

  28. Rogue One is the first and only Star Wars movie I saw multiple times in the theater since…oh, around 1983. I’m not sure where that puts it in relation to the original trilogy, but it does make it far and away the best Star Wars movie of the past 30 years, IMO.

  29. Lobbying for “han shot first” seems to be lobbying to put the wish fullfillment power fantasy back in.

    The point is that at this stage in the film, Han isn’t the hero. He’s the dangerous criminal that Luke and Obi-Wan have no choice but to trust.

    One of the film’s major plot questions is whether he can be more than that, and the resolution (when he comes back to help, despite having been paid off) means a lot less if he was a good guy from the beginning.

  30. “Solo’s box office made Disney rethink some of its film plans”

    Thats dumb. The problem with Solo isnt that it was for mature audiences. The problem was the stakes were miniscule.

    It was a heist movie, robbing a train. It was only at the very end that the heist turned into sonething bigger when it tied into the rebellion.

    Star Wars starts out saving the galaxy in 4, then saving it again in 6. Solo was a train robbery. They needed to find a way to tie it to something bigger.

    A problem they have in telling Solo’s story is that in 4-9, Han is a lovable, redeemed pirate. What happens after the “Solo” movie and before 4 is Han starts smuggling highly addictive drugs for a mob boss, doing that for ~10 years, and that is not going to show Han in a good light.

    Captain Jack Sparrow is a lovabke pirate franchise because none of the pirates act like actual pirates. They’re too busy lifting curses and such to be murdering everyone on a ship and taking their possessions, as pirates do.

  31. Do people want their favorite character to be a little more murderous? Toxic masculinity?

    Han Shot First sets his character at rock bottom, though not as “rock bottom” as you seem to think given Greedo admitted he was going to kill him anyway. A major theme of the original trilogy was Han Solo’s Redemption Arc from self-involved mercenary killer to Rebel Leader worthy of being Leia’s…Leman? Main Squeeze? Baby Daddy?

    I found Rogue One to be…fine, I guess. I agree with TimELeibe that I also noticed the the protagonist had no emotional arc that led her to suddenly being so deeply invested in the mission. I also thought the movie introduced some great characters and then threw them in a hole;

    Thanks! That twist’s stuck in my craw like a tiny fish bone.

    You’re right, having them all die felt excessive – and was, at least according to JoBlo’s “WTF Happened to this Movie?” episode, the result of reshoots done by writer Tony Gilroy with original director Gareth Edwards working alongside him. The original ending had Jyn and Cassian, I think, surviving to fight another day as the rest sacrificed themselves to get the plans into Leia’s hands – much closer to Seven Samurai than the movie ended up being! (I did really love “Darth Vader – Dark Lord, Sayer of Dad Jokes”, though, and thought this was the only time we’d seen just how powerful he really is.)

    The other thing that bothered me was the “Raising the Dead via Motion Capture!” Less Peter Cushing who, thanks largely to almost always being in shadow, at least usually looked enough like him for me to more-or-less go along with it than with that horrifying brief shot of glacéed Young Princess Leia! LucasFilm must have more than enough footage of Carrie Fisher from the Original Trilogy to make digital de-aging look better than that….

    The ethical issues of using motion-capture as reanimation don’t bother me as much, provided the actor or her/his estate gets well-compensated for it.

    …and that’s a lot longer than my original post was!

  32. “Lobbying for “han shot first” seems to be lobbying to put the wish fullfillment power fantasy back in.”

    …sorry, I don’t see that at all.

    I think you’re absolutely right about a group of Star Wars fans being about power fantasies; I think that’s the reason Last Jedi upset so many applecarts, because it was taking direct shots at those fantasies. But that’s not where Han Shot First comes from.

    Han’s story – in the first movie in particular – is a redemption arc. Han’s an amoral smuggler always looking out for number one when we meet him. He takes Luke and Obi-Wan to Aldaraan for the money. He’s lured into rescuing Leia by the reward. After a direct appeal to stay and defend the rebel base, he apparently takes his reward and leaves. But he’s softening, seeing Luke off with a reluctant but sincere ‘May the Force be with you.’ And in the end, he returns at the last minute to save Luke.

    Han shooting first was supposed to establish his amoral ruthlessness at the start, but I don’t think it was honestly that big of a deal.

    What made it a big deal is Lucas’ retcon – even if you agreed with the motivation, the execution was both blatant and extremely clumsy. It was ridiculous. It was heavy-handed. It demanded to be mocked. That made it a perfect symbol for the people unhappy with the changes in the Special Editions.

  33. Star Wars starts out saving the galaxy in 4, then saving it again in 6. Solo was a train robbery.

    Wasn’t that the plot of the original Pilot to Joss Whedon’s FIREFLY?

    I half expected Nathan Fillion’s Malcolm Reynolds to pop up telling Ansel Elgort Taron Egerton Alden Ehrenreich “Beat it, Kid – this is my train robbery!”

  34. David:”whether he can be more than that,”

    Han never chooses to do anything that personally costs him anything. He RISKS, sure, he GAMBLES, absolutely, but it always works out for him.

    Thats why its wish fullfillment. Thats why its peter pan wishing tinkerbell alive kind of kids movie.

    When faced with the sacrifices that would be required to be a good husband and father, he bailed. The one and ONLY time that Han Solo chose to do something that cost him in the end was when he died trying to bring his son back home.

    There is a point in Rogue One where Jin and her gang decide to try stealing the plans and everyone is clear it could be a suicide mission. They chose to do it anyway. And they die doing it.

    Han was always a gambler and a pirate. He was never anything more than that until he chose to sacrifice everything to try to save his son.

  35. I grew up on Star Wars but have some issues with it.

    The gigantic animals on the desert planets where nothing grows. What do they eat?

    Why do banthas have long shaggy fur like they come from a cold climate. Also, what do they eat?

    Most of the alien costumes just look silly.

    Wookies look like a dude in a polyester bargain basement fake fur suit sewn together by his grandmother.

    I’m sorry I had to purge these unkind thoughts all over you.

  36. Rogue One seemed to be the unneeded filler between ep.3 and ep4. Clearly better acted but totally unnecessary in the cannon. Proof? They kill off everyone… and it doesn’t make any difference to the next movie.

    With the exception of the last ten minutes of Darth Vader kicking ass (which also explains why everyone in ep.4 was so afraid of him), the whole movie can never be watched again with nothing lost in the cannon.

    Don’t get me started on Solo. Again a backstory and filler that’s just not needed and provides fleshing out of information that’s was already established in the “original” movies.

  37. I think the diverse opinions show that even as the world has gotten smaller since the release of SW:ANH, tastes have grown and evolved a lot. I just wish people could say “meh, wasn’t for me” instead of “no, it was awful and if you liked it it says awful things about you and your tastes.”

    I, personally, agree with Paul Liadis above me.

  38. TimELiebe: “Wasn’t that the plot of the original Pilot to Joss Whedon’s FIREFLY?”

    Yes. But the series found a way to expand the stakes with River Tam. Mal and his crew save the solar system by the movie.

    SciFi:” ten minutes of Darth Vader kicking ass”

    Darth Vader is evil. He murdered thousands of people with his own hands. He helped murder billions.

    Now imagine anyone talking about seeing Hitler or Putin “kicking ass”.

    The morality of the Star Wars universe is fucked. Everyone describes it as “black and white” and “good vs evil” but in a weirdly perverse way, it puts the most evil man framed with the soft focus lens of the old Star Trek series. People still talk about eps 4-6 as the “redemption” of Anakin Skywalker. The man killed billions and he was “redeemed” for saving Luke? Certain things cannot be redeemed.

    Vader did not “kick ass”. He committed mass murder.

  39. I agree with Daniel B about The Phantom Menace. It’s flawed and some of it can get a bit boring but I would not put it anywhere close to last on the list. It does have iconic visuals (which is surprisingly important to me in a Star Wars movie) and also has in my opinion the best character created for the prequels in Qui-Gon Jinn.

  40. While I would say that ranking any of the prequel and sequel trilogy movies could be adaptive depending on the day and my feelings, I would not put a single one of them above ROTJ or Solo, most especially not TLJ(which will almost always go near the bottom if not the very bottom of my rankings). I just do not understand the love for that one. The script is just awful.

  41. TimELiebe: “Wasn’t that the plot of the original Pilot to Joss Whedon’s FIREFLY?”

    Yes. But the series found a way to expand the stakes with River Tam. Mal and his crew save the solar system by the movie.

    Yes, Iamtheforceandtheforceiswithme – which was kind of my point about Solo, that the movie was a rehash of the Pilot of FIREFLY. I realize Joss Whedon’s not at the top of anybody’s Hit Parade these days, but he did do it first (hence my crack about Nathan Fillion’s Mal popping up out of nowhere to tell Baby Han to beat it, kid!).

    APROPOS OF NOTHING IN THIS THREAD: I hate that WordPress doesn’t give us an Edit button so we can undo mistakes like the HTML one I did in my earlier comment, which turned a wisecrack about how generic Alden Ehrenreich’s Han Solo came off as into a lot of strikethrough….

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