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A New Hope - The film that changed cinema forever. It holds up well but some of the additions/changes in recent versions didn't fit as well as George Lucas intended. The duel between Vader and Obi-Wan is a tad stiff. I forgot about the jarring fade-to-black transitions.
The Empire Strikes Back - A sequel that improved in every way with charming additional characters (namely Lando and Yoda) and a twist that everybody knows: Darth Vader being Luke's father. The fight between Luke and Vader does a fantastic job in pacing and tension.
Return of the Jedi - The dialogue feels spotty at times, but it's a nice conclusion to the original trilogy. The last bit of Luke and Vader's duel is brutal, Leia being Luke's sister makes instances of her kissing him awkward in hindsight, and the ewoks are cute.
Solo - An enjoyable, if predictable/by-the-books spin-off entry. Not as bad as my brother and I thought. The Kessel Run sequence is awesome and I do find the references to the other movies neat. Shame about L3.
The Phantom Menace - It has issues. Jar Jar's obnoxious, the acting's dry but most of the cast, especially Liam Neeson, are great. Some of the aliens seem racist. Saying the Force has midichlorians is a bad idea. The podrace, the action, and the duel with Maul are fun.
Attack of the Clones - Not much better, sadly. Some of the dialogue doesn't work and the acting's still dry, Hayden Christensen especially, but the rest did their best. Action's fine but not the best and the effects haven't aged well. Yoda is something else, though.
Revenge of the Sith - Best of the prequels. It's engaging and tragic, even though we know how it ends. The dialogue issues do show up on occasion and it has its dumb moments. Hayden's acting has improved. The duels are great, but some of them are too choreographed.
Rogue One - An excellent spinoff that shows the Rebel Alliance's ruthless side and how they got the Death Star plans. The main characters' deaths and the hallway scene are memorable. The CGI recreation of Tarkin and Leia look off and its lack of opening crawl caught me off guard.
The Force Awakens - One hell of a reintroduction to Star Wars. It's compelling and the lightsaber duel is vicious. The plot can feel a bit like a remix of previous movies but the new characters (Finn, Rey, Poe, BB-8, and Kylo) more than make up for it. I'll miss Han.
The Last Jedi - A more cerebral entry in the franchise that talks about learning from failure. It has some spectacular moments, beautiful shots, and more humor than I remember, but it works. I love that it shows a more human side of Luke. And PORGS! I'll miss Luke.
The Rise of Skywalker - It is one intense Star Wars movie. With the action and the pacing, it'll make you feel like you're on a roller coaster. We still have the characters we all love and the way it ends is satisfying. I'll miss Leia. And I'm gonna miss Carrie Fisher.
Oh and midichlorians are cool. Beat that for controversy. By the time I was old enough to think the Star Wars movies were more than just slow, the prequels were beginning to come out. I had no preconceived notions. The real problem between Lucas and his fans, is the between his films, the fans had built up an idea in their head of what his universe looked like before it was finished. Star Wars fans are basically Harmonians * controversy!
I don't know if there is a solution for them. To embrace Star Wars fully, they would need to lose what they have and that's precious and personal. It might not be worth it. But if you are new to the series, and aren't fixed that Hans Solo has to be morally grey and Darth Vader was eternally badass then I implore you to put aside your prejudices because Star Wars should be experienced to the full.
Star Wars is a whole other universe and every corner of it is intriguing. Every alien has a backstory, every force has a theme. The possibilities in every shot pull you in and create a backdrop which gives the stories purpose. Even the force, is at the same time an unstoppable unknowable universe wide power with the same ideological weight a the ideas in The Matrix or The Truman Show but is at the same time related to the small insignificant symbiotic parasites. Life surprising in all forms, both mysterious and with tangible implication (sadly the films don't mention this)
Star Trek might be more entertaining, but has less scope. There isn't the same urge to spend hours on Wookipedia learning about every single alien in the cantina. Trek is story a day and focused on the crew whereas Star Wars feels part of a wider whole. Even Middle Earth feels focused around the events of certain important people, but in Star Wars every person seems to have an arc and a place in the greater whole.
The prequels show what a wide bright and vibrant universe it is and then the sequels hone in and show how the small acts of single people have meaning and conclusion. As a whole they show the arc of a human, being born, growing, failing and eventually being redeemed. Where it fails, it's always in the telling and never in the vision. It may not be the most entertaining but nothing else can come close to it's potential.
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