Is ROTS The Best-Reviewed Star Wars Film To Date?

Mike Klimo is at it again…

This time he compared the Rotten Tomatoes scores for the prequels along with scores he came up with based on 173 reviews of ANH, TESB, and ROTJ, using RT’s methodology. He also disregarded reviews issued upon re-releases, like the Special Editions and the TPM 3D re-release in 2012.

Now I’ve had issues with Rotten Tomatoes and what critics think isn’t all that meaningful to me. Especially since totally boring crap gets 92% fresh and not a single Star Wars film can even crack that number. But the results are interesting. The highest scoring Star Wars film to date is…ROTS, followed by ANH:

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Klimo even got the attention of the Telegraph.

Update: Check out Clone Corridor’s take here.

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36 Responses to “Is ROTS The Best-Reviewed Star Wars Film To Date?”

  1. roxam91 Says:

    So it’s safe to say the average rating of a Star Wars movie is in the 60s, with the one exception from both trilogies getting the certified fresh stamp of approval.

    I actually find it hilarious that while many complain about AOTC, it scored higher than TESB and ROTJ.

    Anyway, as interesting as this find truly is, I never even bother with critics’ opinions anyway. I always tell myself that I am my own critic.

  2. darth66zannah Says:

    Revenge of the sith is one of my favorites and should be held in high esteem like the original trilogy! I can’t for the life of me see how any one who is a “fan” dislike this film…i get chills everytime the emperor vs vader, anakin vs obi wan scene comes on with duel of fates playing!

  3. Bob Clark Says:

    A little sad to see my personal fave, TPM, score at the bottom. I’ll chalk that up to reviews that were unfavorably biased against it as part of the hype backlash. But at least the prequels as a whole score better.

    • Tony Ferris Says:

      Menace’s hype was crippling, but beyond that was the decades long impression made on critics that Star Wars had subsumed Hollywood’s artist driven seventies renaissance with an empty, juvenile cinema, that catered only to the lowest common denominator, and was driven by nothing more than money and greed.

      This is borne out by a number of critics deeming it ironic that Lucas would focus so much on the issue of corporate greed in his later made, but earlier set prequel series.

      I think we can take heart though, in the fact that – with the exception of Hope and Sith – they all land somewhere in the region of 60%, and in the fact that critics have never really engaged with Star Wars on its own terms, even when they’ve liked it.

      • lazypadawan Says:

        Yup.

        It’s a recent theory of mine that Peter Biskind’s book “Easy Riders, Raging Bulls” greatly influenced critical reaction to TPM.

      • Tony Ferris Says:

        Oh, absolutely.

        That’s a fascinating book, but I do take issue with a number of its conclusions.

  4. Shamari Stewart Says:

    Well ROTS is my personal favorite SW movie so kind of agree with this. Either way, I don’t really “hate” any of the movies so I won’t bother critiquing this ranking, I’m just glad none of them got terrible reviews according to this lol, because I think they’re all great movies!

    • roxam91 Says:

      According to the Tomatometer, anything at 60 or above is considered decent, so I’m happy all Star Wars movies are in that range (not that I even cared for the Tomatometer anyway…)

  5. Adam D. Bram (The Nilbog) Says:

    The Telegraph link isn’t working for me.

  6. Tony Ferris Says:

    It’s worth pointing out as well, that Revenge of the Sith scored that high following half a decade of sustained attacks on the Star Wars Prequels in all forms of media, that seemed intent on belittling the entire enterprise as mere folly at best, and cynical cash grab at worst.

  7. Nick Skywalker Says:

    I always thought it was interesting too how Emipire’s esteem and acclaim came with age. It wasn’t considered all that great when it was first released.

    ROTS will always be my personal favorite. The whole film, especially the second half, is a masterpiece. I still get chills during the “execute order 66” scene.

  8. Stefan Kraft Says:

    An (IMHO really good) comment by CloneCorridor:
    https://clonecorridor.wordpress.com/2015/10/30/corridor-chat-rotten-tomatoes-mike-klimo-and-the-voice-of-the-media/
    (link featured by Lazypadawan on her Twitter stream)

  9. JuliWitte Says:

    Thanks for the mention! And I agree, I don’t tend to hold much stock by what most film critics say since their dislike for anything sci-fi or fantasy that isn’t squarely an all-star Hollywood-production is quite obvious! I’m ecstatic about RotS being Nr. 1 though 😀

  10. Jacobesico Says:

    I’m pleased to see AOTC doing well. I’ve always had a soft spot Episode 2.

    But I agree. I love Episode 3. It was well worth the wait is a modern masterpiece. I think that a lot of those hateboys love it as well. They just don’t want to admit it and have a funny way of showing it.

  11. Von Says:

    Just came from a convention, In the panel I had a talk with someone who didn’t like ep1-3 but is very respectful of GL. He thought that AOTC had too much CG, but I countered with the MCU [ which I enjoy BTW ] havin’ a lot more CG than AOTC. He respectfully disagreed and not to mention he wasn’t a hateboy that got butthurt over trivial things and he was a gentleman about it.

    • Stefan Kraft Says:

      A good example that the SW fandom is much more varied than “Darth media” claims it to be.

      • Von Says:

        I’m also glad that they didn’t compare GL to Frank Miller and Mel Gibson which I thought they deserved to be made fun of than GL and it was at a AT4W Q&A panel which i enjoyed.

      • lisse Says:

        GL is not at Frank Miller or Mel Gibson, for that matter. Ugh, the thought. My dislike for Frank Miller and the themes he’s espoused in his works is eternal. Everything I hate about how Batman is written stems from trends Frank Miller started. Ahem, sorry, I got carried away. But, really that would have been an insult to George Lucas personally considering how contemptible Miller and Gibson are as people as well as off the mark in regards to their works.

  12. jarjarbacktattooguy Says:

    Back in the latter half of the 80s and early 90s, no critic was saying great things about the OT; they weren’t talking about Star Wars at all.

    They were considered technically proficient, entertaining family films that had become a phenomenon. But not classics. But as time passed, their popularity bubbled back to the forefront and critics found the films were aging really well. Eventually, they were labelled “classics”, after the fact.

    The same thing happened with the first two Alien and Terminator films.

    Whenever you have a film or two in a series that is labeled a classic, it’s going to be hard for any further sequels to win the same type of adoration.

    TPM and AOTC got a lot of good reviews in their time, but those critics are just made to feel too embarrassed for saying good things about movies that are “not cool”. Geek critics are insecure because they got beat up too much in high school for liking New Kids on the Block and don’t want to go through that again.

    • Von Says:

      “Geek critics are insecure because they got beat up too much in high school for liking New Kids on the Block and don’t want to go through that again.”

      And/or for likin’ New Edition back the as well. How can I not bring that up?

      • Von Says:

        *then

      • jarjarbacktattooguy Says:

        Yes! New Edition was really the Star Wars of boy bands. The first modern harmonizing boy band. Everyone else was Battlestar Galactica or The Last Starfighter.

        I’ll take New Jack Swing over 90% of Top 40 radio today.

    • Stefan Kraft Says:

      I think this is also a generation thing. Those that loved SW as children have become movie critics themselves and do not dismiss the movies as “trivial, stupid escapism.” Moreover, the “old” movie critics that first dismissed the SW movies may have changed their minds when they realized that “the films were aging really well.”

      Anyway, pop culture movies have indeed become something critics review professionally and not just label as “trivial escapism.”

    • lazypadawan Says:

      That’s true! The first set of films weren’t acknowledged as game changing classics until the 1990s. The 1990 edition of “Skywalking,” the unofficial George Lucas biography, had an updated foreword by the author who had written off Star Wars as a “’70s fad.” Anyone who lived through the so-called Dark Ages of 1985-1991 knows how Star Wars sank below the pop culture radar and certainly wasn’t extolled by the critics and film geeks.

      • jarjarbacktattooguy Says:

        At least in the Dark Ages, there wasn’t really a fractured fandom. Yeah, there were many that wanted the Ewoks hearded and slaughtered like cattle, to be served as McRibs, but there wasn’t nearly the widespread level of disdain for ROTJ that we’ve seen for the prequels.

        For the most part you were a Star Wars fan or you weren’t. We were a tight group of freakin’ weirdos. And the films were so far off the radar that the critics that hated them didn’t bother to write about them.

        But it was a different time. Propaganda is so much easier to spread now with the Internet. Back then, there were only a few serious film magazines, and even fewer geek magazines.

        And yes, A New Hope was fairly lauded in its day, but if you look at it’s Oscar nominations you’ll see they were in mostly technical categories. The OT got many of the same criticisms as the prequels get about characterization, acting, dialogue and narrative.

        Personally, I think the OT deserves all the adoration, and I never stopped loving them. But geeks shouldn’t look at them as inscribed tablets containing all the rules of geekdom handed down straight from God himself!

      • Samas Says:

        Yeah, it’s funny. When I introduced Star Wars to my children and watched it with their eyes in mind, it’s funny how “boring” the film from 1977 really is. Lots of talking! I appreciate that back in the day it was revolutionary and nothing like it had ever been seen before, but when you take off the rose-colored glasses it’s kind of a slow build for sure.

      • lazypadawan Says:

        Fast-paced for 1977, not as much by 2015 standards when every movie is made for ADD-afflicted audiences.

      • Samas Says:

        Well, sort of. I still love the hell out of it (which is why I share it with my children) but I was making a fair assessment of it when watching it with the younglings. It took some repeat viewings for sure, which kind of surprised me since I “know” these films so well (possibly a lesson for those that denigrate them so, maybe they should just pay more attention). I’m not sure it has anything to do with ADD-type viewing, in fact our children are quite strange in that when the TV is on, it’s ON because someone is watching something and engaged. We don’t just have it on the background, and every viewing of a Star Wars movie in my household is done with everybody sitting down to it and being involved.

  13. Stefan Kraft Says:

    A word on movie critics themselves: I once asked a (now) semi-professional critic himself on his web presence what he considers a good review. What he wrote was quite interesting:
    a) Be honest. For instance, do not write a bad review of a beloved movie just to get the “15 minutes of fame.”
    b) Explain (or at least try to) why you like/do not like the movie. Give reasons so that others can see how you came to your conclusion. (Note: I think that this will indeed help the readers to come to their own conclusion whether they will enjoy the movie or not.)

    I think that this sums it up quite well. If these two points are respected, I can see why a critic may disagree with my own impression of the movie.
    Moreover, a movie review can help not only to decide whether to watch a movie, a good review may allow you to learn something new about the movie when you have watched it.

  14. hansolo1138 Says:

    Um, I think someone made a mistake. Where are you getting your info from?

    http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/star_wars/

    http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/empire_strikes_back/

    http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/return_of_the_jedi/

    http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/star_wars_episode_i_the_phantom_menace/

    http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/star_wars_episode_ii_attack_of_the_clones_3d/

    http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/star_wars_episode_iii_revenge_of_the_sith_3d/

    That being said, ROTS is still the third best-reviewed Star Wars film, and the prequels as a whole are much more well received than the hateboys would have us believe.

  15. Steve Bragg Says:

    Take a look at this new Edit Force Awakens style. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G8HodA02ioU

  16. andywylde77 Says:

    As for reviews of the films, for me I was never one to go by reviews. Because there will be instances of bias, bandwagon jumpers, reviewers that don’t really understand what they are reviewing or don’t have a good understanding of what SW truly is. And I don’t think this is the case for all. I can appreciate the work that reviewers do, good and bad. But with all that in mind those are reasons why I can’t take reviews seriously or even use them as a defense against criticism,

    I am fair that way. If I won’t use the bad reviews then the same goes for the good reviews. I feel there is just too much personal opinions of others to use for anything. I just know that I love the SW movies. I may not be able to give a well thought out reason(s) why I love them, but for me the simple fact that I love them is all I need to know in my mind.

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