Slate's Jamelle Bouie posted his ranking of the Star Wars films yesterday on Twitter:
I’ve hesitated to do this, but here is my Star Wars theatrical film ranking.
1) Empire Strikes Back 2) A New Hope 3) The Last Jedi 4) Return of the Jedi 5) The Force Awakens 6) Rogue One 7) Revenge of the Sith 8) The Phantom Menace 9) Attack of the Clones
I mostly agree with this list, although I would probably swap the #1 and #2 entries.
Bouie's list has prompted a lot of pushback on Twitter (weird, since we all know that Star Wars fans don't tend to have strong feelings about things…), a good portion of which seems to be around the relatively high ranking given to Return Of the Jedi.
Most of the complaints take the usual "But what about the Ewoks?!" approach. I find these criticisms amusing, as they mostly seem like a too-cool-for-school sort of thing.
Before the prequels came out, hating on the Ewoks was the way to prove you were a Serious Fan, someone who appreciated Star Wars before it got Too Commercial, before Lucas decided to sell out and throw in teddy bears so that he could sell merchandise to little kids. Never mind the fact that all of these Serious Fans probably had closets full of action figures, play sets, and plastic play sets—the Ewoks were apparently a bridge too far.
I do not have much of a problem with the Ewoks. Are they cutesy? Sure, but so what? If I have a real complaint about Return Of the Jedi, it is that Anakin Skywalker does not deserve his place alongside Yoda and Obi-Wan as a Force ghost at the end, but that is a topic for a different post.