Star Wars: Empire Strikes Back Review and Discussion

Yesterday my friends Abby, Jeremy and I discussed what is widely considered the best of the Star Wars films: Empire Strikes Back.

I watched Empire Strikes Back twice last week and each time I was truly blown away by it.  There was a new director for Empire Strikes Back, Irvin Kershner and new writers Leigh Brackett and Lawrence Kasdan, and you can really feel their influence on the finished film.  I am not overstating my feeling when I say every decision they made works.  There isn’t anything I would change in the film.


The characters are the first stand-out in Empire Strikes Back.  You get some new characters in Yoda who is a tough taskmaster to Luke as he teaches him about the force.  You also get to know Lando Calrissian who at one moment betrays the team but there may be more too it than that.

empire strikes back2Then of course our core group are all back with Luke learning about his father, facing his demons, and getting training from Yoda.  Han Solo has become fiercely loyal to Luke and him and Leia have terrific romantic chemistry.  He is asked to sacrifice everything and is frozen in carbonite in an amazingly tense scene.

empire strikes back4The Empire led by Vader is more like a Nazi regime in this film and especially in the final confrontation with Luke there is no doubt of Vader’s strength and overwhelming control of the force.  When Luke realizes his father is Vader it is such an intense, devastating moment (not to mention the greatest reveal ever in movies).

empire strikes backThe action is all better with incredible battle sequences on Hoth and in Cloud City.  The special effects are great and the writing is poignant, funny, emotional, everything you could want in a movie.

If it is possible Empire Strikes Back was even better than I remembered it on this recent rewatch.  Without a doubt in my mind one of the most perfectly executed films ever made.

I hope you guys enjoy our discussion and would love if give it a thumbs up if you do.  Thanks so much!

What is your favorite moment from Empire Strikes Back?

Overall Grade- A+


15 thoughts on “Star Wars: Empire Strikes Back Review and Discussion

    1. I’ve heard that before. Makes for a good scene in a movie but it’s nonsense. What are they supposed to make Vader pink? Of course he wears a black outfit. The fact is Lando does matter as an African American icon for many people. I think this is a lot like the Redskins team name controversy. If you poll the tribes they overwhelmingly support the team name but the ACLU and such stir up trouble. Chasing Amy was written by a white nerd who imagines what offends black people when they aren’t idiots. They know enough to know that Vader’s armor is in no way discussing race. I’ve heard the same nonsense about John Boyega in Force Awakens. No matter what they do with the character someone will cry racist. Sigh…

      1. The guy in Chasing Amy was actually exaggerating his feelings to draw attention to himself and sell comic books. We get signs later on that he is bitter about racism and his place in society, but the behavior in the video is basically just an act.

        I never liked Chasing Amy though, that was one of the better scenes.

      2. I actually haven’t seen the movie but just know Kevin Smith, the writer pretty well and have seen the clip. Interesting to learn more about it. 🙂

  1. There’s not much new to say about ‘The Empire Strikes Back’, its considered the best of the Star Wars saga for a good reason, primarily for taking the story and lore of the Galaxy to even greater depths; the Force feels all the more tangible and the places we go to feel tangible, especially the scenes on Dagobah. It does a great job at putting all the characters, Luke, Han, Leia and even Darth Vader into emotional places they aren’t necessarily prepared for, and that’s what great fiction does – it challenges the characters so that they grow before our eyes and we get to experience that with them. The heroes lose throughout the film, but ironically not even Vader achieves his goal in capturing or coercing Luke to the dark side.

    I tend to be a very aural person, so music has a powerful impact on me when watching a movie, sometimes if the film isn’t so great the score can make up for it’s shortcomings or at least make me overlook its problems temporarily. In ‘The Empire Strikes Back’, we already have the great themes from Star Wars, and the new themes take it to a fantastic level. I love the iconic, percussive power of ‘The Imperial March’ and ‘Yoda’s Theme’ is always a wonderful piece of music to return to, I can only imagine the euphoria of hearing them for the first time in the cinema. After the incredible fun ride that was Star Wars, I love that ‘Empire’ went to great lengths to be be intelligent and emotional, and after an initially mixed reception, it paid off splendidly in this day and age.

    1. I couldn’t have said it better myself. I completely agree. It’s a film that both entertains and makes you think. It’s funny, touching, emotional and a lot of fun all at the same time. I liked it even more on this watch-through than I have in the past and you are completely right on the Imperial March. What a masterful piece of music. Do you have a favorite scene? What did you think of the big reveal of Vader being Luke’s father? Do you remember the first time you saw it.

      1. My favourite scene is probably the part where Luke (and Yoda) use the Force to lift the X-Wing out of the swamp. It was the combination of an incredible atmosphere, spellbinding score, wonderful dialogue and resonant teachings that left a profound impact on me; the belief that “Do or do not. There is no try” can drive you to accomplish great things.

        I actually didn’t get my chance to see the entire trilogy from start to finish until the early 2000s. I only saw bits and pieces of them in the late 90s at my cousin’s house. I remember hearing about the Darth Vader twist in conversation but not believing it at first. I knew that I really wanted to see them in full the VHS of the movies were hard to track down where I lived and my family weren’t big movie goers, and The Phantom Menace turned my Dad off Star Wars. I actually saw them in full on TV in 2003, and we recorded them. I kept watching the trilogy so many times that the VHS copies became practically unwatchable! That’s how much I loved them.

      2. I love that! I remember wearing out some VHS tapes back in the day- Little Mermaid, Sound of Music, were particular favorites

  2. Not only is The Empire Strikes Back my favorite Star Wars movie, but it is my favorite movie of all time. Before the original Star Wars was released, my father introduced me to science fiction with Star Trek. When I saw Star Wars in the theater in 1977, it was literally life changing. In May 1977, I was 6 years old, and we moved from an apartment into a house in a different city. I was easily able to make new friends by talking Star Wars, and playing with our Star Wars toys. Then I loved Empire even more! I collected the Topps trading cards, had all the books I could get, and added to my Star Wars toy collection (which had stopped by the time Return of the Jedi came out). The Empire Strikes Back came to a local theater that only cost $1 to get in. It was walking distance, so I saw it at least 20 times. It was in that theater for at least a year.
    My favorite scene may have been the Luke and Vader battle. We got teased earlier in the cave, when it wasn’t really Darth Vader. And while we had the biggest reveal in movie history, most of us back then really weren’t sure that Darth Vader was telling the truth. He was a bad guy, so we thought he was lying. And there was also buzz that Princess Leia was Luke’s sister. There was lots of debate about both of those things, and there was no Internet yet!
    I love all of the Star Wars movies, yes even the prequels. My ranking is:

    The Empire Strikes Back
    Star Wars
    Return of the Jedi
    Revenge of the Sith
    The Force Awakens
    The Phantom Menace
    Attack of the Clones

    1. I love your comment for many reasons but mostly it shows the magic movies can be in our lives. They really are the great storytelling device of our era. For me that movie that inspired me as a kid was Little Mermaid so I understand what you’re saying. Empire Strikes Back I sincerely think is a perfectly executed film

      1. It’s so funny that you bring up The Little Mermaid. I was just discussing this with somebody else, and how I still haven’t seen it yet. I do feel like I know if, just from going in the parks, and knowing all of the music from the movie. I think it’s available on Netflix, so I’ll probably watch it soon.

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