Austin Burke’s review published on Letterboxd:
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“Empire Strikes Back” is everything we want, need and love about Star Wars. It drastically changes the formula of what was established to be this franchise from “A New Hope.” Does this sound similar to another modern Star Wars film? The difference here is the fact that Empire executes on every single storyline, whereas “The Last Jedi” may fumble on one or two. It’s still funny how many similarities there are between the two films. Regardless, Empire builds our characters up in the most fascinating way. It’s structured in a different way from the first, which could be why fans were hesitant at the time. Each character is fleshed out so brilliantly, to the point where it’s hard to choose which storyline is the most brilliant. Han and Leia’s love story is incredible. It’s so genuine and every exchange works so well for the characters; while fitting into this world nicely.
The terminology is silly at times but it’s all so original. Then we come to Luke and Yoda’s extended training session that brilliantly portrays how our protagonist grows. He doesn’t quite get there, as he leaves against the will of Yoda/Kenobi, but his progression is so wonderful to see play out. One thing that I’ve never found myself appreciating as I did this time is the set design. The all-white locations in Cloud City are incredible to look at, and the way Bespin is laid out (in general) is crazy. The fact that this film came out almost 40 years ago is insane. The effects look much better this time around, as having a bigger budget paid off (clearly). But it’s the story that really captivates. The all-time great reveal is always impactful. Even after watching this film 20+ times, it never gets old when Luke screams “no.” The entire final battle is beyond epic.
Something as simple as having C3PO blasted also adds just a bit more in the stakes category. It’s like every decision they made did nothing but benefit the story as a whole. How often do we see that in movies? It also leaves you with multiple interesting cliffhangers. My only question here surrounds Boba Fett. He’s honestly kind of lame. He does nothing here and goes out in the most mediocre way (in the next film). His character isn’t bad but he’s just “meh.” The Mandalorian is 100x cooler than he ever dreamed of being. Overall, Empire may not be “the perfect film” on a technical level, but I believe it is the perfect blockbuster. It does everything it intended to do, and nails the tone. It is part of the reason why I love movies. It built me to where I am today (as a Star Wars fan), and I can’t get enough of it. My wife was also locked in the entire time, which makes me happy.
🔜Return of the Jedi♻️