When looking at the Star Wars franchise as a whole, everyone is in agreement that the Original Trilogy remains a nigh-on untouchable landmark in cinematic history, but outside of those three iconic movies, there’s plenty of debate surrounding the rest of the big screen projects set in a galaxy far, far away.
Even two decades later, nostalgia-tinted glasses still aren’t enough to have seen the prequels undergo a reappraisal, with George Lucas’ weaknesses as a writer coming to the fore through some mind-numbing dialogue, not to mention an over-reliance on CGI that was antithetical to what had made Star Wars such a beloved property in the first place.
The Disney era has seen the fans divided like never before, with the Anthology experiment abandoned entirely after Solo bombed at the box office, while The Last Jedi and The Rise of Skywalker turned out to be lightning rods for controversy and backlash, albeit for very different reasons, leaving longtime Star Wars aficionados more disenfranchised than they’ve ever been.
Adding more insult to injury, Rotten Tomatoes recently revealed their Top 10 franchises of all time, and Star Wars barely even made it onto the list in tenth place. While that may sound like sacrilege to some, the website based their rankings on the average critical and audience score for every entry in a series, along with box office earnings. After crunching the numbers, it turns out that The Phantom Menace, The Rise of Skywalker and the animated Clone Wars movie let the side down, bringing the median rating down significantly.
As Rotten Tomatoes explains:
“Both critics and fans have had their qualms with some of the saga’s individual installments, sometimes they’ve agreed and sometimes they haven’t. In the end, though, neither the average Tomatometer nor the average Audience Score ranked in the top 30 franchises overall, and it was only the consistently immense earning power of the Star Wars films, the best of any franchise, that pulled it up just high enough to make it into the Top 10.”
The Clone Wars fared the worst by far with 18% from critics and 38% from audiences, followed by The Phantom Menace with 53% and 59% respectively, and despite the well-publicized backlash, The Rise of Skywalker holds an audience rating of 86% from over 98,000 reviews, much higher than the 51% that critics gave it. Whether you agree with Rotten Tomatoes’ rankings or not, no franchise is perfect, and having been around for over 40 years, Star Wars was bound to suffer from a little inconsistency over the decades.