A long, long time ago, in a galaxy not so far away, the Star Wars series was reborn with the arrival of the prequel trilogy. While the original films followed the adventures of plucky Luke Skywalker, rebellious Han Solo and sagely Obi-Wan Kenobi battling against the malevolent Darth Vader, the prequel trilogy instead focused on young Anakin Skywalker, before he became cinema’s most notorious villain, along with the growing tensions between the monk-like Jedi and the nefarious Sith. With all three films being of high-quality, it can be difficult to determine where to rank them. Though I’d be inclined to give them all the coveted number one position, this list calls for me to rank the films from worst to best, so without further ado, here are the Star Wars prequel trilogy films ranked.
3. Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones (2002)
In the second installment of the prequel trilogy, the conflict between the Jedi and Sith reaches another level, with a clone army being commissioned to fight as the Galactic Republic faces mounting tension. After Padme Amidala narrowly avoids being assassinated, Anakin Skywalker is tasked with protecting her, as Obi-Wan Kenobi tries to determine who is responsible. Can a major war be prevented?
Attack of the Clones is the weakest film of the prequel trilogy, but that’s not to say that it’s lacking in quality. There is still some fun to be had in the battle scenes and the set designs are inventive and pleasing to the eye. It might not be the most exciting adventure, but it’s not the worst either.
2. Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace (1999)
In the film that kickstarts the trilogy, Jedi Knights Qui-Gon Jin and Obi-Wan Kenobi must deal with rising conflict after they are attacked while trying to ease tension at a trade dispute. Encountering allies such as Jar-Jar Binks, the two eventually find slave Anakin Skywalker, who happens to be a prodigy of the Force. Meanwhile, Senator Palpatine plans a secret takeover of the Republic, with the help of apprentice Darth Maul. Which side will win out in the battle of good and evil?
While The Phantom Menace does not have the greatest reputation among Star Wars fans, it’s better than its reputation would suggest. The story of rising evil amongst ailing good is compelling, while the action sequences have addictive energy to them. All in all, The Phantom Menace starts off the trilogy on a solid footing.
1. Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith (2005)
As the final film in the prequel trilogy, Revenge of the Sith focuses on Anakin’s increasing disillusionment with the Jedi order, as well as visions of doom for his wife Padme. Senator Palpatine cajoles him with the promise of power, while Obi-Wan and Yoda attempt to fight back against these developments. Can the Jedi stop Palpatine before all hope is lost? (The answer is a foregone conclusion, but is never not fun to ask.)
Revenge of the Sith is the perfect way to end the prequel trilogy, with it serving as a culmination of everything that made it such a captivating story. The battles are gripping, with serious emotional tension behind them, while the themes of losing faith in idols and institutional decay being prominently displayed. For all these reasons, it’s the best prequel film.