We are continuing the Star Wars theme here with reviews for the greatest movie trilogy of all time. These were much easier to rewatch and review than the prequels were. If you need to catch up on my Star Wars related content, you can find reviews for the prequels here, our prequel podcast here, and my top 10 Sci-Fi movies here.
A New Hope:
This is the one that started this worldwide phenomenon almost 40 years ago. And it sure is a great way to kick things off. The movie does a good job of immersing you in this world without making it feel forced, but also without completely throwing you in there to the point you have no idea what’s going on. It’s a very fine line, and I have no idea how the movie walks it, but it does. From there you start getting introduced to the amazing characters of this universe. Not only are people like Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Princess Leia, Obi Wan Kenobi, Chewbacca, Darth Vader (one of the best movie villains of all time), R2-D2, and C-3PO an important part of the series, but they are recognized by people who don’t necessarily consider themselves fans, or have never even seen the movies at all. The movie has a simple, yet effective story, that keeps you immersed the whole time. It starts off a little slow, but has to in order to build the characters and world. And when it picks up, it does so big time. The visual effects are outstanding, especially for the time. There isn’t much to complain about with this movie, other than the pace at times and the fact that Luke Skywalker is a little whiney and annoying for some of the movie. This goes away later in the trilogy as Mark Hamill’s acting improves a little, but is quite noticeable here. I’m giving the very first Star Wars a 4.75/5.
The Empire Strikes Back
Now we get to what is, in my opinion, the best of the trilogy (and Star Wars as a whole obviously) and one of my favorite movies of all time. What is there to say about it that hasn’t been said a million times already? It builds upon the foundation the first movie laid in every way. It has an even better and more complex story (with one of the best twists in movie history) that starts off at a lot faster of a pace. It introduces us to a few more famous characters with the likes of Lando Calrissian and Yoda joining the fray, while giving us more from the characters we fell in love with in the first movie. Han Solo (Harrison Ford) really shines in this one and becomes the best character in the trilogy, and one of my favorite movie characters of all time. The love story between him and Leia feels natural and works in the movie. Luke is less annoying and some intricacies of his character start to develop. His back and forth with Yoda is great. There are some awesome action sequences, from the opening battle to the ultimate climax that includes the best lightsaber duel in the saga. I’m not going to sit here and try to nitpick things wrong with it. It is about as close to a perfect movie as you can get. 5/5 for Empire Strikes Back.
Return of the Jedi
While it is the weakest of the three, this is by no means a bad movie. Not even close. It is a fine conclusion to the trilogy. It really focuses on Luke and the internal struggles he has following the events of the previous movie. The story is good, with another great reveal, although the fact that another Death Star is being built seems a bit lazy. It also seems exposition-heavy at times, with some of it being talked about for the sole reason of keeping the audience in the loop. But that’s all that is really wrong with the movie. Some people complain about the Ewoks. I understand that and agree that it maybe could have been done better, but I don’t mind them. Again, the rest of the story and characters build upon what has already been established. That’s the best part of this trilogy. It continues to build on itself and make you love this world. It doesn’t go out of its way to be flashy and try and get to fancy with plotlines. It stays relatively focused, introducing new things a little at a time, and you can’t help but get immersed into it. Besides that, my favorite part of this movie is the final confrontation between Luke and Darth Vader, with the Emperor looking on. It is the ultimate battle of good vs. evil, not only in Luke against Vader, but also within Luke himself. There are so many little things in that scene that would make the movie good all on its own. There are still a lot of other things to like as well, however, which is why this will score as high as it will. You know you have a good trilogy when the weakest installment still scores a 4.5/5, which is what I give Return of the Jedi.
If you have never seen these movies I implore you to give them a shot. Even if it doesn’t seem like your thing, try it out. It’s almost impossible not to get caught up in this world. Those of you who have seen the movies, comment below with your thoughts.
Stay tuned for more Star Wars stuff coming later in the week, including my review for The Force Awakens, which I’m desperately hoping is good. I’m also desperately trying to avoid spoilers for the next 2 days so wish me luck.