Eddie Baty’s review published on Letterboxd:
One of the best openings of a film I've yet seen and also the best opening of any Star Wars film. However, I do prefer A New Hope as a whole because it feels more like a contained movie. The Empire Strikes Back's greatest weakness is its feeling of being incomplete in the end.
It propels itself into being a good film with a strong plot twist and loose threads that we absolutely need to see resolved in another film, but I can't help but find this kind of cheap. Not that the creators of the film intended to manipulate audiences, I just believe the film suffers in not feeling complete. It feels like we're leading into another movie where A New Hope was self contained, yet also open to more films.
That being said, I only docked the film 1 point for what, to me, is a large offense (incomplete feeling) because the rest of the film is fantastic. The amazing score by John Williams was enhanced, somehow, by adding more material and giving the Empire a true theme along with Darth Vader.
We also have a stronger Vader in this film, a much more compelling villain, and we have excellent character development from our leads. Luke, Leia, Han, and even the new character Lando surprise us with interesting arcs in this film.
I don't know what else to say really. You should absolutely see this movie, it is a great film, but I have a hard time with the fact that it can't stand on its own. If you finish watching this film without moving on to Return of the Jedi, the bad guys didn't win or lose, the good guys didn't win or lose, Luke suddenly learns a major revelation about Vader but that goes unresolved, Han is frozen in Carbonite, Lando has completely abandoned his post in Cloud City for some reason... etc. etc. I'm sure there's more.
Aside from this. The sets are awesome, the acting is top notch, the characters are compelling, the action is well showcased, the score is excellent, but the film doesn't feel like a complete film.
Still, watch this if you somehow have not seen it.