The Empire Strikes Back

The Empire Strikes Back ★★★★★

The Empire Strikes Back, also known as Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back, is a 1980 American space epic directed by Irvin Kershner and stars Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Billy Dee Williams, Anthony Daniels, David Prowse, Kenny Backer, Frank Oz, James Earl Jones and Peter Mayhew. Set three years after the events of Star Wars: A New Hope, the plot sees the Galactic Empire hunting the scattered Rebel Alliance throughout the galaxy. While Darth Vader relentlessly pursues Luke Skywalker's friends, Han Solo, Princess Leia, and Chewbacca, Luke studies the Force under Jedi Master Yoda to prepare himself for Darth Vader.

It's hard to think that possibly the greatest Star Wars film ever made wasn't directed by George Lucas. Instead the mastermind behind the universe let directorial duties go to his former USC tutor Irvin Kershner for the sequel and thankfully Kershner did an outstanding job with it. The Empire Strikes Back is a stunning successor to the original Star Wars. A tense and dazzling science-fiction chase melodrama that uses its two hours of elaborate adventure to completely stun its audience, whilst also using the time to sneak up on you emotionally and provide one of the best revelations in cinematic history that still amazes people 40 years on. 

Now there's no point hiding my love for this film. I absolutely adore every aspect of it. The film starts with a bang and only continues to escalate further until it's fantastic conclusion, which works magnificently within the film, leaving it prime for another installment. From the start, we find Luke, Han and Leia as far more confident leaders 3 years on from the original movie. As the film goes on, The Empire Strikes Back develops all three characters perfectly. Luke commands his unit and trains as a Jedi for the first time, Leia controls the base and well...Han is Han, he's fun, extravagant and has fantastic chemistry alongside Leia. Unlike later entries of the franchise, these aspects makes you care all the more about these characters and the relationships/friendships they develop along the way. This also allows enough time to add characters such as, Lando Calrissian, Yoda and Boba Fett into the franchise, with all of them became iconic characters in their own right and inspiring many more stories within the universe. 

However, there is one issue with The Empire Strikes Back, how the friendship between R2-D2 and C-3PO is left on the back burner for much of the runtime. What made Star Wars: A New Hope so special was how the comedy between the pair, the love hate relationship they shared, was shown in full throttle and therefore helped the original to become somewhat of a comedy in it's own right as their squabbles were always fun and great to watch, which ultimately lightened much of the tense atmosphere. Sadly, that was taken away from us in The Empire Strikes Back and instead replaced with a much more serious atmosphere. Thankfully, that serious tone does work wonders for the film as it fits the storyline perfectly, it's just sad R2-D2 and C-3PO's relationship had to suffer in the meantime as they spend the vast majority of the film apart from one another. 

Despite that, there's no doubt in my mind that this is one of, if not, the best "space" film ever made. The Empire Strikes Back displays exactly the same soaring imagination that made the original Star Wars an utter classic, whilst also being arguably one of the best sequels ever made. It embodies the soul of the universe, developing characters into the icons they are today while also adding many of the franchises best, most profound, moments. I've got nothing but love for this film, for this trilogy and for that Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi will always be beyond special to me, not only for their filmmaking abilities and their incredible scores, but for the level of sheer enjoyment and nostalgia they bring me upon every viewing. 

The Empire Strikes Back is beyond any doubt, one of the best films of all time. 
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