James King , A&E Writer
Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back is what sequels should be. In my opinion, what makes a good sequel is that it throws away what didn’t work in the previous movie, it builds on the characters without regressing them, and finally, it feels like a step up from the last movie in terms of action and plot. That is delivered in this sequel. Now, this isn’t to say that it doesn’t have its flaws, but those are minor at most. This is the movie that I think of when I think of a Star Wars movie.
Now, this movies has a lot of the same strengths that the previous movie had. The dialogue is witty and fun and the special effects are amazing for the most part. You can still see the seeds of where they made minor changes to things especially in Cloud City. Gone are some of the more mundane things the characters were doing. The quick pace of the movie more than makes up for it because while I got a little bored with some of the lengthy scenes in the first one where little happens, this one moves at breakneck speed moving from place to place from start to finish.
Most of my issues with this movie boil down to personal preference. I didn’t like Yoda’s reveal to Luke as a Jedi master, as it felt a little bit rushed. The famous “No, I am your father scene” feels a bit out of nowhere, barely hinted at by the rest of the movies up until this point, and it doesn’t really feel to me like it has as much gravitas as the movie thinks it does. Though that may be from this particular scene being the most spoiled parts of the whole Star Wars cannon. The movie also suffers the same problem many middle sequels have, in that since it is the middle sequel between a beginning and ending movie it doesn’t really have a good ending. I also didn’t really like how Obi-wan felt like both a plot device to kick start Luke’s story and a way to dump exposition to the audience and characters.
Now, this isn’t my first time viewing this particular movie as it was with the first Star Wars. Though it is the first time I have seen the movie in a really long time. I had once rented the movie back when movie rental places were still in business. That was after the prequels, but long before Star Wars was bought up by Disney. I was glad to see it still held up and it was much better with the added context of the first movie. The romance between Leia and Han Solo felt a lot more organic this time around as well.
This to me is a much stronger movie than the first Star Wars and hits all my criteria for a good sequel. It makes me excited to see Return of The Jedi and while I still wouldn’t say I’m the biggest Star Wars fan. I can see where people come from when expressing their love for the franchise based on this movie alone. It does make me want to see more of the franchise. If my editors have anything to say about it, then that will probably be soon.