Star Wars is iconic. It transcends the film genre to be a genre in itself. We all have our favorite Star Wars film. Many, like me, have The Empire Strikes Back as their favorite Star Wars film. What makes it so special? Here are 5 reasons why…
Roller Coaster Story
Like the title says, this movie is about the Empire. Yes, it follows the main group of heroes – Luke, Leia, and Han – but with a title like The Empire Strikes Back you would think it’s a darker tale than it turns out to be. The start of the film showcases mystery, action, and love in just a few minutes. The rest of the movie keeps things moving up and down, and has a very climactic finale. Though it goes up and down, though it’s a bit bleak for our heroes, there is hope throughout the story. It keeps us moving too.
Episode IV introduced us to the iconic Star Wars characters we all love today. Episode V has them established in who they are. Though we don’t see everything that leads up to it, we have Luke, Leia, and Han at their finest. Each actor has settled into who these characters are and makes them stronger in this movie. It’s this mix of things that has us feel at home with the movie. It’s because the actors feel at home, and the characters are established in their missions.
New Iconic Characters
Empire introduced us to some characters that have become huge favorites. This is the movie that brought in Yoda, Lando Calrissian, Boba Fett, and even the Emperor himself. Their introductions made audiences instantly love them. But, they didn’t steal the show. They fit in with the plot and with the overall Star Wars universe. And, yes, you can argue about a Boba Fett and the Emperor’s appearances as not being too established, but I think it’s the mystery of their essence that captivated people. Not only did they stay into the next chapter, but they’ve been all over the place for Star Wars.
Perhaps the quintessential plot twist in movies…ever…is Darth Vader’s reveal to Luke Skywalker. There was not even a close hint to tell audiences that Vader is really Anakin Skywalker. It is one of the most repeated lines in movie history. It’s one of the most parodied as well. Even though this revelation has been around for a long time, newer generations know the line but not where it comes from. The reveal is still startling for them. They think the line is referencing something else, or another movie. I’ve talked to peers and younger about the first time they see the iconic moment, and it still surprises them. I would dare say it’s the most amazing scene in movies to date.
John Williams’ Music
John Williams has composed great music over the years, and his most famous are from the Star Wars franchise. The Empire Strikes Back might be his best score for any of the films in the franchise. Not only do we get the main Star Wars theme, which I know was not first made for this movie, but we get a few more amazing themes in Star Wars history. As famous or at least second famous to the main theme is the Imperial March. This is the Darth Vader theme, or the “dun, dun, dun, dun dun dun, dun dun dun” theme as some would describe. It has intimidation and catchiness. Another great song score is The Asteroid Field. You probably don’t know it by name, but find it online and listen to it. You’ll recognize its use in many other Star Wars things like video games and even Star Tours at Disney Parks.
Star Wars has established itself as a huge cultural icon. Empire could be the best. I say could be because there are more films being made. It’s too soon to say it’s the best. And, again, we all have our favorite films. Episode V is my favorite, and many I talk to include it as their favorite too. You may have a different favorite and that is perfectly fine. Because it’s Star Wars! What is your favorite Star Wars film? Let us know in the comments below!