Star Wars Retrospective

The purpose of this retrospective is to provide my experience in the Star Wars franchise. I will cover the movies I have seen and briefly mention some of their shows covering what I liked and didn't enjoy in each one and there's a lot to choose from considering its history. This will be going in order of the entries released instead of chronological order.

  1. Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope - The first movie of this franchise created a standard for science fictions films to try and match up to. In a universe where the evil galactic Empire battles with an overwhelming advantage over the Rebellion, plans for their Death Star have been stolen by the rebels and two droids are sent out with the plans. From there they meet soon to be iconic heroes such as Luke Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Han Solo as the adventure takes them to rescue Princess Leia while on the delivery quest. During this, the ruthless nature of the Empire shows as well as the mysterious iconic villain Darth Vader makes his presence known. I love this movie for what it did and, despite the special edition changes ruining a lot of things, appreciate it for influencing the genre. ⭑⭑⭑⭑1/2
    1. Pros: A great introduction to the Force. "I find your lack of faith disturbing." The strength of the Force being able to sense the decimation of lives on Alderaan. Ground breaking effects for the time. John Williams score. Great introduction for the characters. The opening shot of the rebel ship trying to escape from the Star Destroyer and the rebels trying to fight off the stormtroopers leading to Darth Vader's entrance.
    2. Cons: While the confrontation between Obi-Wan Kenobi and Darth Vader is the first time a lightsaber fight was shown, all the fight is just two old geezers poking and tapping sticks at each other. The special edition version messes up with too much CGI creatures at Mos Eisly spaceport, especially when Obi-Wan and Luke are driving down and a large creature is blocking the screen when they are about to be stopped by stormtroopers. It also spawned the debate about Han Solo shooting first in the original version with so many edits in the later versions to show otherwise.  
  2. Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back - The second entry expanded the story and characters presented from the first episode that's widely regarded as the best, which I whole heartedly agree with (unless one of the upcoming entries somehow surpasses it). Separating from each other after being found and defeated on the ice planet Hoth, our heroes embark on separate journeys. Luke goes to Dagobah to train and learn about the Force while Han, Leia, and Chewbacca are being chased relentlessly by the Empire as part of Darth Vader's plan. ⭑⭑⭑⭑⭑
    1. Pros: The iconic Darth Vader twist reveal. The entire Hoth battle sequence (also known as a pretty good level to play on the playstation Battlefront games). Luke and Darth Vader's first duel. Han and Leia's chemistry and romance. The philosophy of the Force and Luke's training with Yoda on Dagobah. Puppet Yoda! Boba Fett's threatening presence with very few lines of dialog. The overall dark tone and power of the Empire! The number of times people tell C3PO to shut up. How much of a wreck the Millennium Falcon is every time they need to make the jump to light speed.
    2. Cons: Luke and Leia kiss, which Han kind of foreshadowed when they were arguing in the beginning of the movie ("You could use a good kiss!"). But they kissed later on as well so maybe two kisses foreshadowed in one statement?
  3. Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi - The third and final entry in the original trilogy had the task to conclude the conflict of the original trilogy in that would satisfy the fans it has built in the last two films. After the Empire struck back the Rebels really hard, our heroes manage to regroup but not after a daring and convoluted rescue of one of their own. Luke's fully complete Jedi training sends him to confront the emperor as well as his daddy issues while Han, Leia, Chewbacca, and Lando embark on the mission of battle against the Empire's Death Star in progress from two different angles. I like it for the most part, despite how cartoony and dumb it gets throughout the movie. ⭑⭑⭑⭑
    1. Pros: The Ewoks (especially Wicket)!! One could argue that chronologically Jar Jar was the reason enough cuteness was needed to over look some of the dumb parts.cIan McDiarmid as the Emperor. The emotional confrontation between Luke and Darth Vader. Stormtrooper incompetence. The Battle of Endor! The fun dumb spirit throughout the battles (except for the seriousness of Luke vs Vader). A satisfying conclusion to the original trilogy.
    2. Cons: The manner of Boba Fett's defeat undermining his hardcore reputation among bounty hunters. Luke's plan to save Han could have just been him doing it instead of making things complicated by sending everyone else in before himself. Lando being pretty useless in the rescue plan. All of the situations that could have been easily solved if Luke used his Force abilities (like the mind trick or force choke/push) or his lightsaber!!! The song "Jedi Rocks". Han telling Luke he owes hims one now when really Luke still owes Han one since he helped him in the death star battle and rescued him in Hoth. The unintended inconsistencies between Leia's story about her mother and the actual truth of her birth from Episode III. "It's against my programming to impersonate a deity. The Empire's lack of originality with planet destroying weapons.
  4. Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace - The fourth film and first entry of the prequel trilogy had an enormous impact on the fanbase but not in a positive way. With George Lucas directing and writing these set of movies with the vision he had in mind, a lot of his choices didn't work well for not only this entry but the rest of the prequels. It follows a good vs evil plot that's convoluted that both old and new fans of the franchise lose interest immediately. In a more simplified form, Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi journey to protect a senator, meet Anakin Skywalker, and battle enemies sent against them. I hate almost everything about this entry, except for two things worth watching. ⭑⭑
    1. Pros: Darth Maul fight (Duel of the Fates!) The pod race.
    2. Cons: Jar Jar Binks. Jake Lloyd. Bland political talks in what's supposed to be enjoyed by . Wasted actors in giving bland performances for bland characters that aren't properly developed. Gungans. Boring droids. A story with convoluted boring details.
  5. Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones - The fifth film and second entry of the prequel trilogy was given the challenge of getting back into the graces of the fanbase after The Phantom Menace. Unfortunately the only thing it did was prove that the last movie wasn't an accident. Ten years after the last entry, Obi-Wan Kenobi and arrogant Anakin Skywalker go on separate missions that eventually meet up after an assassination attempt on Padme Amidala. While Jar Jar has been significantly trimmed in this movie, it's actually the worst episode in Star Wars for squandering the potential it had to make George Lucas's ideas somehow work and make the franchise meet the great again. ⭑⭑
    1. Pros: Christopher Lee as Count Dooku. The death sticks dealer scene. Yoda vs Dooku. Anakin's rage over his mother's death (only in that one moment when he's not being annoying). Clones vs Droids army action. Ewan McGregor as Obi-Wan.
    2. Cons: Actors wasted in giving bland performances for bland characters due to bad direction. Bland romance between Anakin and Padme. "I don't like sand. It's rough coarse irritating and it gets everywhere." Jar Jar using emergency powers to give Palpatine control of the Clone Army leading to the rest of the events of the Star Wars series.
  6. Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith - The sixth films and final entry of the prequel trilogy is actually known good one out of the three...by default. Years later into the Clone War, after rescuing Palpatine from General Grievous, Obi-Wan and Anakin split up yet again for separate missions that eventually leads them onto a collision course as the transformation of Darth Vader as well as the Empire's rise from Darth Sidious's manipulation. It's close to being a good Star Wars films despite it's faults. ⭑⭑⭑
    1. Pros: The emperor and his seduction techniques. "POWER! UNLIMITED POWER!" Yoda vs Darth Sidious (The best use of the political auditorium) Anakin vs Obi-Wan (Battle of the Heroes!.. Obi-Wan vs General Grievous. The opening space battle. Ian McDiarmid as the Emperor. Order 66 sequence. Ewan McGregor as Obi-Wan. The number of limbs being sliced off throughout the movie. Samuel Jackson using a lightsaber for a couple minutes. The opera scene with Anakin and Palpatine.
    2. Cons: "It's over Anakin! I have the high ground!" Bland romance. Backstory neuters Darth Vader. The tragic misuse of Natalie Portman. The rush of Anakin's transformation in Darth Vader. "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!" Natalie Portman being used as a bland plot point. 
  7. Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens - The seventh film and first entry of the new trilogy, this film marked the beginning of Disney using the property they had bought from George Lucas to craft new stories and expand the universe. The new story follows 70 years after the events of Episode VI as new heroes and enemies arise from the ashes of the older generation battling in the same kind of conflict from episode IV but with new twists and circumstances around. It not only destroyed the box office but also renewed hope for the franchise in fans both old and new, including myself. ⭑⭑⭑1/2
    1. Pros: Using the concept of A New Hope to prove that the franchise is in good hands for future installments. The performances of Daisy Ridley and John Boyega. actors portraying the new characters and the depth they are given. The easiest money Mark Hamill has ever made. "Traiter!" Kylo Ren using the Force to stop the blaster bolt. Mix of practical effects and CGI. "So who talks first? You talk first? I talk first?" BB-8! Rey and Finn vs Kylo Ren. The infamous death scene. "You will remove these restraints and leave with the door open." The interrogation scene with Kylo Ren and Rey. Everytime Kylo Ren gets angry and destroys the nearest object with his lightsaber. The method in which Starkiller base charges up for a powerful attack. The bond between Rey and Finn as well as that of Finn and Po (even though the latter has little screen time). Funny moments of comedy.
    2. Cons: Great actors wasted on roles with limited screen time and very few lines. Leia hugging Rey instead of Chewbacca. Rey accused of being a typical Mary Sue which isn't fair since we've only seen her in one episode and need more episodes to expose some of her vulnerability. Lack of screen time for Poe Dameron, Supreme Lord Snoke, and Captain Phasma. The JJ Abrams comedy. Yet another Death Star. Harrison Ford's performance. The predictable nature of Han Solo's death.
  8. Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi: The eighth main story film and second entry of the Disney trilogy, the new story follows Rey as she goes to Luke Skywalker for Force training while Poe, Finn, and Leia must contend with the weight of the First Orders forces gaining momentum on them. This is the most polarizing Star Wars movie that has divided the fanbase and is something I didn't like at all, which made me like the franchise less under the choices made by the committee led by Kathleen Kennedy and LucasFilm. ⭑⭑1/2
    1. Pros: The story arc and dynamic involving Rey, Kylo, and Luke. The fourth act involving Luke. The Resistance cruiser crashing into Snokes ship at light speed. The decent opening space fight scene
    2. Cons: The runtime. The story arcs and dynamics with Po, Finn, and Rose. Admiral Ackbar death. The lack of stakes. Boring comedy. Too many subplots. Leia using the Force. Too many CGI animals. The casino scene. Rian Johnson's terrible writing. Wasted villains. The death of Phasma. Luke drinking the blue milk scene. Holdo not telling Poe the whole plan and not teaching him leadership
As of 12/15/2017, here's my ranking of the episodes from best to worst:
  1. Empire Strikes Back
  2. A New Hope
  3. Return of the Jedi
  4. The Force Awakens 
  5. The Last Jedi
  6. Revenge of the Sith
  7. The Phantom Menace
  8. Attack of the Clones
  • Anthology Films
    • Rogue One: A Star Wars Story - The first of the anthology films follows a group of misfits who end up working together to retrieve the Death Star plans for the Rebels, in addition to fixing a plot hole from A New Hope. Easily one of my favorites, Rogue One impresses with a grounded story that's bolstered by gritty action, the performances of the cast, and humanizing the harsh conflict. ⭑⭑⭑⭑1/2 🍿
      • Pros: Felicity Jones' performance. K-2SO, Chirrut (the blind guy), and defector pilot. Everything that's involved with the third act. Best space battle ever! Darth Vader end scene. "I'm one with the Force. The Force is with me" "Are you kidding me? I'm blind!" Director Krennic.
      • Cons: The tentacle creature that didn't really seem to do anything to the defector pilot guy. Saw Gerrerra's weird accent. The intro being too long with jumping from planet to planet. Jyn Erso and Cassian Andor could have been developed more. Gareth Edwards directing affecting the personality Jyn and Cassian's. Most of the scenes cut due to the reshoots. 
    • Solo: A Star Wars Story: 
      • Pros:
      • Cons:
As of 12/20/17, here's my ranking of the live action movies from best to worst:
  1. Empire Strikes Back
  2. A New Hope
  3. Rogue One
  4. Return of the Jedi
  5. The Force Awakens 
  6. Revenge of the Sith
  7. The Last Jedi
  8. The Phantom Menace
  9. Attack of the Clones
As of 5/27/18, here's my ranking of the live action movies from best to worst:
  1. Empire Strikes Back
  2. A New Hope
  3. Rogue One
  4. Return of the Jedi
  5. The Force Awakens 
  6. Revenge of the Sith
  7. Solo: A Star Wars Story
  8. The Last Jedi
  9. The Phantom Menace
  10. Attack of the Clones
  • TV Shows
    • Star Wars: Clone Wars - In 2003, Cartoon Network aired a 2D animated microseries showcasing characters during the prequel trilogy battle in the Clone Wars taking place between episodes II and III. It feature Jedi Knights, clone troopers, droids, and Sith Lords engaging in the campaigns for territories across the galaxy. It helps build up characters better than in the movies, such as Anakin's transition to the dark side and other Jedi you haven't seen much in the movies like Mace Windu doing overpowering moves with the Force you wouldn't see in the movies. The action works well with the animation and it only takes two hours to watch it on youtube. Regardless of whether or not it's canon with the series since Disney bought the property and isn't including almost everything of the expansion universe, it's worth a watch for those who want to see the Clone Wars in a more appropriate light than what the movies provided and for those who just enjoy anything Star Wars related.
    • Star Wars: The Clone Wars - In 2008, Cartoon Network aired a 3D CGI animated show that lasted 6 seasons (5 on air and 1 on Netflix). It launched out on it's own with episodes mostly with Anakin, Obi-Wan, and Ashoka Tano (Anakin's new palawan) involved in battled campaigns, battles with Sith Lords, and minor political squabbles. Not every episode or story involved those three characters as it also makes use of showcasing other Jedi, more screen time for villains like Count Dooku, Ventress, and General Grievous. The show did a great job at handling their villains and proving that they are than just one off baddies portrayed in the movies. It expands on the lore very well, or for me at least since my knowledge is limited to the movies instead of including comics and novels. Each season got better with the content and battle campaigns even more intense (for a kids shows). Some of my favorites story arcs include Ryloth, Geonosis, Umbara,  Savage Oppress, and the later seasons arcs involving only Ashoka. It's also great that it gave clone troopers personality and as a result makes both their deaths and Order 66 even more tragic. It's worth watching for the same reasons as the first show is.
    • Star Wars: Rebels - In 2014, Disney XD aired another 3D CGI animated show currently on its third season. It's a sequel series to The Clone Wars and follows events taking place between III and IV. A ragtag team of rebels take on mission to battle the Empire despite how unprepared they always are and dysfunctional they can be. The team's comprised of Kanan (a Jedi who survived Order 66), Ezra (a force sensitive teenager whose parents were rebel sympathizers), Hera (a Twi'lek pilot of the crew), Sabine (a Mandalorian fighter/graffiti artist), Zeb (a Larasat whose species were almost made extinct by the Empire), and Chopper (basically a less fancy version of R2D2 with a more smart aleck remarks). While it's not as dark or as good as the previous series, it does a good job with a lighter tone and some good storylines involved with its characters. It shines once it does main storyline material as well as side character focused episodes such as Sabine, Hera, and Zeb. Ezra can get annoying in the filler episodes but once the main story comes up you can probably ignore that old behavior. Each season has been getting better and shows no signs of slowing down. It's worth a watch if you want to see events taking place between episodes III and IV or if you want to consume everything Star Wars. 

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