Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

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The second part of the only true Star Wars trilogy cannot match the original for sheer entertainment, but is a rather more sophisticated story with the more adult themes of torture, betrayal and self sacrifice.

Han and Leia’s “will they/won’t they?” romance blossoms, Luke matures from fresh faced idealist into fledgling Jedi and most importantly of all, Darth Vader – surely the greatest movie villain of all time –  takes his rightful place centre stage. The fact that one of the great cinematic revelations is spoiled forever is yet another reason to hate the wretched prequels. The darker tone is highlighted by the fact that our heroes are roundly beaten on all fronts in a daring move that definitely had the desired effect; I literally could not wait find out how the story would continue. Add improved special effects, immaculate production design and a typically superb score from John Williams and you have one of the best examples of “family entertainment” ever made. George Lucas didn’t even manage to ruin the updated version, mainly because he resisted the temptation to screw with it too much choosing instead to just spruce up the visuals and add 5.1 surround sound.

Cinematic magic.

10/10

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