5. Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens (2015)
I remember when The Force Awakens came out, I turned to my dad - the one who introduced me to the Star Wars universe when I was 5 years old - and told him that this is what it must have felt to go watch A New Hope in theaters. Turns out I was right, and not just because It was a new Star Wars movie with a "new" plot - but also because, well... It's basically an ode to A New Hope, with its premise being eerily similar.
Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens is like that cool cousin who shows up at the family reunion and reminds everyone why they love getting together. After the prequels left some fans feeling like they'd been served a slightly undercooked Bantha steak, The Force Awakens burst onto the scene with all the energy of a kid hopped up on too much blue milk. It was familiar yet kind of fresh. Director J.J. Abrams knew the assignment: bring back the magic. And he did deliver, with a side of nostalgia and a sprinkle of new heroes to root for.
So, why does it land smack in the middle of the pack at number 5 out of 11? Well, it's a bit like following a beloved recipe with a couple of new ingredients thrown in. Some folks loved the comfort food aspect, saying, "This! This is Star Wars!" Others thought it played it a bit safe, kind of like reheating yesterday's pizza – still good, but missing that fresh-out-of-the-oven sizzle.
The Force Awakens had the tough job of bridging generations, rekindling the old flames of the original trilogy while sparking new ones. It introduced new characters who would interact with the much beloved and known characters from the original trilogy, all while recycling Luke's story and turning it into Rey's. It worked, don't get me wrong, but I found the lack of good originality disturbing.
The Force Awakens was a balancing act, like walking the line between homage and originality, and it did so with the grace of a Jedi... or so it tried. That's why it's sitting pretty in the middle, a solid chapter that brought the fun and wonder back to a galaxy far, far away, even if it didn't quite break the mold.