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Every Star Wars Movie Ranked, According to Critics

The Star Wars saga is arguably one of the most iconic film franchises of all time.Spanning generations, with its prequels and sequels, the movies have remained a prominent part of the Zeitgeist since the 70s.Although the films unite audiences in a shared love for the franchise and its beloved characters, they can also be divisive,…

The Star Wars saga is arguably one of the most iconic film franchises of all time.

Spanning generations, with its prequels and sequels, the movies have remained a prominent part of the Zeitgeist since the 70s.

Although the films unite audiences in a shared love for the franchise and its beloved characters, they can also be divisive, with loyal fans fiercely protective over the faraway galaxy created by George Lucas.

Is your favorite the classic Episode IV – A New Hope? Or are you an outsider who loves the prequels? Not a fan of Rogue One?

Well, here Newsweek has let the critics do the work in deciding the definitive ranking of all Star Wars movies from worst to best.

For this list, Newsweek looked to review aggregator Metacritic, which ranks movies by their composite critical reception, and checked out the critics’ consensus on Rotten Tomatoes.

Here is every Star Wars movie ranked, according to critics.

Episode I – The Phantom Menace

Metascore: 51

The first in the sequel trilogy from 1999 has long been considered a disappointment by fans after being so highly anticipated—and audiences really couldn’t stand the character of Jar Jar Binks.

Rotten Tomatoes Critics Consensus: “Burdened by exposition and populated with stock characters, The Phantom Menace gets the Star Wars prequels off to a bumpy—albeit visually dazzling—start.”

Star Wars: Episode I – Phantom Menace
Star Wars: Episode I – Phantom Menace proved popular—despite a confusing plot
Lucasfilm Ltd.

Episode II – Attack of the Clones

Metascore: 51

Some critics hailed the second prequel installment as an improvement over its predecessor but others considered it the worst movie of the franchise at the time. The film was still a box office smash with audiences unable to resist the allure of another Star Wars movie.

Rotten Tomatoes Critics Consensus: “Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones benefits from an increased emphasis on thrilling action, although they’re once again undercut by ponderous plot points and underdeveloped characters.”

Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker

Metascore: 53

The most recent installment in the epic franchise, The Rise of Skywalker‘s reviews suffered due to many feeling that the plot departed too much from its predecessor, The Last Jedi.

Rotten Tomatoes Critics Consensus: “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker suffers from a frustrating lack of imagination, but concludes this beloved saga with fan-focused devotion.”

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
“Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” poster.
Lucasfilm/Disney

Episode VI – Return of the Jedi

Metascore: 58

Return of the Jedi just couldn’t live up to the glory of previous installments, but it still managed to gross $374 million during its initial theatrical run in 1983.

Rotten Tomatoes Critics Consensus: “Though failing to reach the cinematic heights of its predecessors, Return of the Jedi remains an entertaining sci-fi adventure and a fitting end to the classic trilogy.”

Solo: A Star Wars Story

Metascore: 62

Solo: A Star Wars Story is the first Star Wars film to be considered something of a box office flop. Its cast, score and action sequences were a hit but the plot failed to strike a chord with critics.

Rotten Tomatoes Critics Consensus: “A flawed yet fun and fast-paced space adventure, Solo: A Star Wars Story should satisfy newcomers to the saga as well as longtime fans who check their expectations at the theater door.”

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Metascore: 65

Rogue One had generally favorable reviews but fans were not too crazy about the digital recreations of Peter Cushing and Carrie Fisher.

Rotten Tomatoes Critics Consensus: Rogue One draws deep on Star Wars mythology while breaking new narrative and aesthetic ground—and suggesting a bright blockbuster future for the franchise.”

10 AR-161219642
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016). Score: 140. Rotten Tomatoes rating: 75. Metacritic rating: 65. In a time of conflict, a group of unlikely heroes band together on a mission to steal the plans to the Death Star, the Empire’s ultimate weapon of destruction.
Walt Disney Pictures

Episode III – Revenge of the Sith

Metascore: 68

Generally considered an improvement over the first two prequel films, Revenge of the Sith benefitted from its darker themes and more mature plotline for an aging fanbase.

Rotten Tomatoes Critics Consensus: “With Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, George Lucas brings his second Star Wars trilogy to a suitably thrilling and often poignant – if still a bit uneven – conclusion.”

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Metascore: 80

Although considered by some to be too similar to A New Hope, The Force Awakens resurrected the feelings that made many fall in love with Star Wars from the start.

Rotten Tomatoes Critics Consensus: “Packed with action and populated by both familiar faces and fresh blood, The Force Awakens successfully recalls the series’ former glory while injecting it with renewed energy.”

Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back

Metascore: 82

The Empire Strikes Back joins a rare handful of films in which the sequel transcends the original for many.

Rotten Tomatoes Critics Consensus: “Dark, sinister, but ultimately even more involving than A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back defies viewer expectations and takes the series to heightened emotional levels.”

37 - Empire strikes back (Lucas Films)
13. Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back (1980). Original gross: $290,475,067. Inflated gross: $901,298,200.
20th Century Fox

Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Metascore: 84

Loved by many for its ensemble cast, action sequences and emotional weight, The Last Jedi relives the glory of the original trilogy.

Rotten Tomatoes Critics Consensus: “Star Wars: The Last Jedi honors the saga’s rich legacy while adding some surprising twists—and delivering all the emotion-rich action fans could hope for.”

Episode IV – A New Hope

Metascore: 90

The original and the best. Episode IV – A New Hope blasted into our collective consciousness in 1977 and has never left.

Rotten Tomatoes Critics Consensus: “A legendarily expansive and ambitious start to the sci-fi saga, George Lucas opened our eyes to the possibilities of blockbuster filmmaking and things have never been the same.”

A New Hope Star Wars
Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford on the set of “Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope” written, directed and produced by Georges Lucas.
Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images

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