I watched all ten of the then-existing Star Wars movies last year in in-story order (The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones, Revenge of the Sith, Solo, Rogue One, A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi, The Force Awakens, The Last Jedi). Notably, this was my first time seeing Solo and my first time watching The Phantom Menace and The Last Jedi after seeing them in the theater. Some quick thoughts now that I have seen The Rise of Skywalker (a quick review of which is to follow tomorrow).
This was my second time watching each. They did not improve on rewatching. Most notable is my first rewatch of The Phantom Menace, 20 years after watching it in the theater. Okay, maybe that movie makes the other two prequels look less bad in comparison. I remember liking the podracing, one of the few popular parts of the movie, and it holds up well, even 20 years later and without the theater experience. Jar Jar, on the other hand, is worse than you could have possibly imagined. Child Anakin is pretty awful. The real sin, though, is that by setting the first movie during Anakin’s childhood they ruined any chance at an effective arc between Anakin and Padme in Attack of the Clones.
This movie is entertaining enough, but even more superfluous than Rogue One. The moviemakers also don’t quite get Han.
I loved Rogue One in the theaters, was bored by it rewatching at home the first time, and loved it again this time. It is a great movie that transcends its own superfluousness? Superflucity?
The OG Trilogy
These are absolutely great movies. And Lucas’ changes are absolutely jarring. I know it is popular and easy clicks to mock Star Wars. But they are absolutely right. Disney absolutely owes us a “fixed” version of the trilogy (we will even pay for it!).
The Force Awakens
I thought and said at the time The Force Awakens was released that my view of it would ultimately depend on what came after. It was an enormously fun movie but also very derivative. Okay, Disney proved it could make a Star Wars movie—now can it make a new Star Wars movie? Interestingly, I love The Force Awakens no less despite disappointment with The Last Jedi and, to a much lesser extent, The Rise of Skywalker. Disney still hasn’t exactly won my confidence overall, though.
The Last Jedi
I still like the Rey/Luke/Kylo Ren storyline. The Poe and Finn storylines, on the other hand, suffer even more on rewatch. Finn and Rose’s side mission was derailed because they parked illegally. Making what amounts to a bottle episode with all the plot of a single episode of television is even more damning in a trilogy oddly light on worldbuilding. Abrams had limited interest in picking up threads from The Last Jedi and that hurts it as well.