The thing about The Phantom Menace: It’s not a great movie. But nor is it the utter disaster it’s often presented as.
Darth Maul is a terrific villain and is, in certain respects, creepier and more nightmarish than Vader ever was.
Vader is, ultimately, practical and sorta conflicted. Maul, however, just exists to be sadistic and kill people. That’s why he’s worse.
And Obi Wan’s coming-of-age is truly intriguing to watch.
He’s not the “wise old Jedi veteran” we see in the later films. Instead he’s just a young, spirited, but dutiful kid who doesn’t realize yet that the universe is going to screw him over royally.