*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Luke, Leia and Han are fighting with the rebels in the hope of defeating the Imperial forces. But Luke gets a calling to to the planet Dagobah, where under the tutelage of Jedi Master, Yoda, he hopes to become a Jedi himself, but that also brings him closer to his, and Leia's, destiny.
Lets tell it as it is, The Empire Strikes Back is a better film than Star Wars, not as impacting of course, but most definitely better. Technically, in story telling and in tone, it holds up well today and certainly warrants the amount of times it crops up in best sequels debates. That it's not actually a sequel is irrelevant, it is of course the filler in a wonderful sci-fi sandwich, because as second instalments go, Empire has few peers. With Empire Strikes Back we get all the whizz bang adventure strewn heart of Star Wars, but George Lucas (stepping aside for Irvin Kershner to direct) has also fleshed the story out with a serious dark tone that oddly becomes a bedfellow to the romantic fun on offer, where new and engaging characters (and creatures) add spice to this wonderful fantastical broth.
Aided by the considerable writing talent of Leigh Brackett (The Long Goodbye, Rio Bravo, The Big Sleep), Lucas took the bold and ingenious step of giving the bad guys the upper hand, in fact it could be argued that he was taking a considerable risk with his ending. Forcing his viewers to wait for the final chapter (three years later), after tantalisingly setting us up with a corker of plot twist (one which is still to this day as potent as it was back on release), Lucas pulled perhaps one of the cheekiest carrot dangles in cinema history.
Tho more famed for its dark undertones, Empire is for sure still a very fun movie, C3PO goes into camp overdrive and Han Solo ups his quip quota by some margin. Then of course there is Yoda, in himself a comedic joy. The action sequences beg for repeat viewings, a battle on the ice laden planet Hoth is a marvel and the choreography for Skywalker's fight with Darth Vader is out of the top draw. But ultimately it's with the dark side that the picture excels. Complex and amazingly posing moral quandary's, The Empire Strikes Back is quite an experience, one that will forever hold up to repeat viewings for this particular viewer. 10/10