Star Wars has always been a multibillion dollar franchise, even before it turned into one of Disney's tentpoles like Marvel. In its current form, it actually has a bit of Marvel in it, being a fast paced series of action setpieces that never rises above decidedly mediocre, with humor added in like mayonnaise to a overly dry burger. The first movie, however, was a movie that changed blockbuster cinema, a magical tale that used cutting edge effects, catchy music, and plotting both derivative and original to transport viewers to another world. Star Wars was, at one point, good, and A New Hope is the best example of that.
First, it's necessary to talk about the aesthetics of Star Wars. George Lucas explained that he wanted to create a "used future", where everything feels like it has layers of wear on it, in order to make them feel like plausible objects. This is in contrast to other great sci-fi films, like 2001: An i-Phone Commercial. However, despite the objects in Star Wars being plausible, they don't feel quite real. For instance, at some point during Lord of the Rings, you gain an awareness that that is in fact New Zealand they're traipsing around, and the magic is somewhat drained. Star Wars meanwhile is set on spaceships, mainly, of which I think there are very few in New Zealand. Furthermore the desert of Tatooine stands out from looking generic with its two suns, and strange dwellings, and weird hazy glow. Maybe this is just because I don't spend a lot of time in deserts, who knows?
Star Wars is fundamentally a story about the power of belief. At the beginning, none of the characters except Obi Wan have faith, in themselves or each other. Han Solo starts out as a mercenary, and doesn't see any hope worth fighting for. Luke Skywalker starts out, meanwhile, as a plucky kid, ready to be a pilot and in awe about the Jedi, though he seems to have doubts about the utility of the force. Leia is a girl. These character arcs (well, except Leia's) are as paint-by-numbers as it gets, with Luke's literally being ripped from the hero's journey. But where Star Wars stands out from George Lucas' influences is the spiritual stuff.
According to a cursory Wikipedia search, George Lucas created the Force as a distillation of all religions, in order to bring some vague religion into the movies without showing Luke Skywalker going to Church. This shows the most in the first movie, where the Force is treated not as a kind of magic Luke and Obi-Wan can do, but as a series of powers you gain through spiritual belief, like how meditation grants enlightenment. This works especially well since the rules of the Force, here, are not at all defined: characters seem to be able to use it to do anything that controlling the force that binds all living things would let them, from manipulating objects to manipulating minds, from second sight to a fourth list item. It really feels like these characters are exercising just a small part of their vast spiritual powers, and not getting superpowers from the list.
This hot take all boils down to the Obi-Wan's final line, the one that encourages Luke to make the impossible shot: "Use the Force, Luke." Luke, in trusting Obi-Wan even after he died, trusting that really even was Obi-Wan, and trusting he had powers he had yet to fully demonstrate, was making an impossible act of faith, which paid off. In other words, Star Wars...is very Christian. End Hot Take.
While the arcs hold the movie together, in terms of the action and setpieces, this is easily one of the weakest movies in the series. Sure, there are some classics, like the trash compactor scene, or the first visit to Mos Eisley cantina, but none of that can make up for the fact that we spend nearly 45 minutes on Tatooine with nothing happening but the adventures of a whiny farm boy. The movie's pacing is on the slow side compared to later films, and though this works well when the movie's good, it also makes the shortest star wars movie feel like the longest. This in a way does also make the movie unique, something that could never be pumped through the Disney sludge machine. Also, the aesthetic, the strong character arcs, and the unique spirituality that comes with the force makes this a movie worth watching!
Fun fact: I didn't enjoy writing this! I feel like writing reviews for movies that are pretty uncontroversially good and that you also think are good is an excersize in futility and repeating superlatives. Still, a lot of people tend to forget this movie's good, so it's probably best to give my public endorsement of it. In the future, things like this will probably wind up in the Sunday Review and not one of these Big Boy articles. Weird to have organizational nonsense in a review that'll theoretically be up permanently, I know, but if it's 2022 and you're wondering why I refuse to review Fury Road 2: The Roadening, that's why.