Wow now that’s how you make a sequel!
This film..... is just phenomenal! Taking everything that was introduced in the previous film and turning it upside down in an amazing way. The characters and story are taken in a direction most did not expect and improved them more than ever. The story sees the rebel alliance and our heroes taken to new places where everything isn’t perfect, even though they have had a major victory in the past. Luke Skywalker is not that naive farm boy anymore, he’s on his way to becoming a Jedi Knight and he is tested the most out of everyone on this film. We get more development between Han and Leia and their romance. I thought that they handled it in such a great way that wasn’t forced or corny *cough* episode II *cough* . Darth Vader is once again such a formidable foe, only this time the revelation at the end makes us see him in a new light. I could only imagine what people thought about this film at the time. The soundtrack, cinematography, and editing are all at their peak perfection. This is one of my favorite John Williams scores ever. My first time viewing of it was unforgettable experience that would only increase my love for Star Wars and cinema itself even more. The only issue I had with the film is the pacing during the middle act but that’s really all I can think of.
Empire is truly the standard for how sequels should be. It was a wise decision from Lucas by bringing in Kershner as he perfected what Lucas had in mind for his story. You can see its influence on cinema and franchises overall. It takes the characters and story in unknown directions that provides an amazing adventure. It is one of the best sequels ever made and one of the best films of all time.
Final ranking: 9.7 out of 10