I had a joyful experience watching the latest movie in the Star Wars saga, The Last Jedi – more fun than I’d had since the second installment of the first trilogy, The Empire Strikes Back.
Looking back, I think I can categorize the films in four levels. Mind you, I really have enjoyed all of these movies, even the much-maligned prequel films from 1999 to 2005, so I like even the least satisfying ones, but I like some more than others and would probably say I “love” only two, including the latest one.
Top tier – The Empire Strikes Back, The Last Jedi (“Oh, that was awesome!!”)
Second tier – Star Wars*, The Force Awakens, Rogue One (“That was great!”)
Third tier – Return of the Jedi, Revenge of the Sith (“That was terrific but not quite perfect.”)
Fourth tier – Attack of the Clones, The Phantom Menace (“The story is interesting but the movie was kind of disappointing.”)
My general observations: The real home runs were hit in the middle chapters of the first and third trilogies, and I don’t think the first two third episodes quite connected as well as they should have (although Revenge of the Sith is clearly the best film of the prequels.)
The pressure is on for the next film, which needs to wrap up many arcs while setting the table for the next round.
* You can call it A New Hope if you want, but it will forever be Star Wars to me and, I dare say, most everyone who became a fan in 1977.