“Star Wars V: The Empire Strikes Back” is the second installment in the original Star Wars trilogy. In this film, we see further development of the characters and of the titanic struggle between the evil Galactic Empire and the Rebel Alliance that is attempting to restore freedom to the galaxy. This movie was beloved by critics and fans alike.
Although this film does not immerse the viewer into the action as quickly as the beginning of the first movie in the franchise, it also does not take long to blow viewers socks off with tremendous action. At the beginning of the film, we are given the background that sets the stage for this movie with a crawl of text that fades into the distance as it goes up the movie screen in a fashion that is unique to Star Wars movies. We are informed that the rebels were driven out of the base from which they had destroyed the Death Star. This film, therefore, opens with the empire desperately searching for the rebels who are now hiding on the planet Hoth.
It does not take long for the empire to find the rebels. When they do, one of the best ground battles in science-fiction cinema takes place on Hoth as they struggle to escape the empire’s clutches. Before this, however, Luke and Han have an adventure of their own on the cold, inhospitable surface of Hoth when Luke gets into trouble, and Han bravely ventures out to help his friend.
This film continues the adventures of the main characters from the first film in the series. With Governor Tarkin killed at the end of the first movie, Darth Vader continues on as the main character leading the empire’s forces in pursuit of the rebels. Princess Leia leads the rebels along with the characters of Luke Skywalker and Han Solo with his trusty Wookiee co-pilot Chewbacca. An epic ground battle ends up with the rebels being forced off the planet.
Upon their escape from Hoth, the movie splits into two main story lines. Han and the Princess, along with the robotic comic relief of C-3PO, are pursued relentlessly by Darth Vader’s forces from the moment they leave Hoth. Their exploits take them through a nail-biting scene in an asteroid field, and they end up at a beautiful cloud city. Luke, on the other hand, takes off from Hoth in his X-wing fighter, with his trusty robotic companion R2-D2, to head to the planet Dagobah to be trained by the last surviving Jedi Master named Yoda.
If the Star Wars universe is known for any single thing, this would be the concept of the Force. This was described by Obi-Wan Kenobi in the first Star Wars film as an energy field that binds the universe together. Those who are possessed with what are known as Jedi powers are able to use the Force to enable them to perform amazing feats. Much of the action in this installment involves Darth Vader and Emperor Palpatine trying to capture Luke Skywalker and convert him to the dark side of the Force that they use for evil.
The drama escalates toward the end as Leia, Han and Chewbacca are used by Darth Vader to lure Luke away from his Jedi training with the enigmatic Yoda and into a trap. What ensues as a result is both good and bad news for the Rebel Alliance as they end up gaining a new ally named Lando Calrissian but also losing a trusted friend. The ending of this installment perfectly sets up the beginning of the next movie in the franchise.
“Star Wars V: The Empire Strikes Back” is regarded by many fans as the best of all the Star Wars films. In the beginning, it definitely lives up to its title as the Galactic Empire does indeed strike back and drive the rebels from their new base. It also establishes hope for the future in that most of the rebel forces survive, and we see their fleet at the end of the film. This fleet and the main characters are then instrumental in the next film in one of the greatest sagas on the big screen.
The website Rottentomatoes.com shows aggregate scores for movies based on numerous reviews from critics as well as separate ratings from the general public who have watched the film. From a total of 88 reviews from critics, it has a score of 94 percent, and audience members are even more enamored with this film. With over one million user ratings submitted, 97 percent of them liked it. Such universal acclaim for a film is almost unheard of and definitely puts “Star Wars V: The Empire Strikes Back” among the best films ever made. This movie came out in 1980. If you still haven’t seen it, what are you waiting for?