The Empire Strikes Back – Chris Stuckmann

Chris Stuckmann reviews The Empire Strikes Back

About ChrisStuckmann

Quick, funny reviews of movies and games, new and old.


  1. It’s always interesting to watch a review from someone who wasn’t born when these movies came out. I was 12 when Empire came out and I agree with most of this review. Obviously, your dad gave you a good first had account of what it felt like.

    It was the first film I ever saw that had a sequel hook. Pretty much no one had done something like that since the days of the old serials. I still remember on my way out of the theater hearing a teenager being truly bummed about what happened to his “favorite guy” (Han.). The idea of the bad guys winning and the good guys barely making it out by the skin of their teeth was so different from anything I’d seen before. Keep in mind, until this movie came out, you could have interpreted the end of Star Wars as a total victory. Considering the pomp and circumstance of that award ceremony, it was easy to feel these were no longer rebels on the run. The opening on Hoth completely erases that. They went from a fairly nice place with forests and temples to this complete wasteland. It felt so desperate.

    I think of the original three, this was the film that hit all the notes just right. The darkness, the comedy, the character interaction all felt right. It’s where all the main characters had really important things to do and their abilities were highlighted the best.

    By the way, I like that you refer to it as “The Empire Strikes Back” and not “Episode V”. That’s the name it was released as and that’s how it was referred to for decades.

  2. The Empire Strikes Back is without any doubt in my opinion best movie in franchise. It’s just so perfect.

    • Totally agree.. third is almost as good, but those $%& Evocs! When I watch it those are Wookies for my as it should be, but Lucas start regain control over franchise in that time and we know how that ended later aka prequels.

  3. Great review, Chris. I was born a year after A New Hope, so I was too young to see Empire and Jedi in theaters, but I caught them on VHS years later and saw them in theaters when the special editions came out.

    Empire is definitely my favorite movie of the Star Wars franchise as well because it just felt so dark and even though the good guys don’t exactly win, you still feel hopeful for them throughout the movie. Especially for Luke because he goes through quite a lot of conflict throughout the entire film which leads up to the big “reveal”.

  4. As a kid watching the rereleases in cinema in the 1990s I liked empire strikes back the least.
    The love story was strange for me and I hoped for leia and like to get together.
    Having watched the movies 20 times later today I would rate it the 2nd best but for me return of the jedi is the superior movie. The conflict between vader and luke in the 2nd part has no real conclusion and the third one delivers it.

  5. I’m 41 so I saw this in theaters too. there is one thing about it that rocks my 7 year old mind: “The Bad Guys Win!” Wen you’ve grown up on Disney films and Bugs Bunny cartoons you grow up believing that the good guys will always win. Star Wars plays up to this in that a 1 in a million shot takes down the Death Star. No matter how stacked the deck is, the heroes managed to win. This was the first movie that bucked that wisdom. Things start off bad for the good guys and get progressively worst. If they weren’t greenlit for a third movie I don’t think the audience could have taken it.

    The other thing that it introduced was the love triangle. Not that my 7 year old self was heavily invested in romance, but Luke and Leia seemed a couple. Now he comes along Han Solo. I remember getting angry at Leia because she didn’t bring up Luke once in all this flirty banter. She even kisses him against as they are fleeing Bespin and this is after she said “I love you,” to Han. Girl be fickle yo.

    One last memory from my 7 year old self. When you’re seven and you hear Yoda you instantly think Grover. Wise Jedi Master aside, the laugh, the herky-jerky muppet walk. My thought is why is Grover in a swamp, shouldn’t Kermit be here?

    The one problem with the movie (yes, there is a problem) is that Vader is seriously OP. In Star Wars, Vader has to be up close and really mad to force choke a bitch. In Empire, he can do it over the radio. He can do it when he’s slightly miffed. There is no limit on distance or accuracy. And while I love Han for shooting first, it is wrong that Vader can block laser fire. At this point why does the Empire need armies and stuff. Vader can’t be killed and can eliminate dissent more efficiently than a squad of Stormtroopers that can’t shoot straight. He is so overpowered that the Emperor comes off as unbelievable when we finally meet him in Jedi.

    It’s a great movie. And I love Sunday Brunch with Vader. But the dude is overpowered for this story.

  6. Sitting on Tilquin’s Canadian version of a futon is a magazine called “FANTASTIC FILMS COLLECTOR’S EDITION #21”.

    The magazine was published in January 1981.

    On the cover there is an article called “ASTEROID WORM CAPTURED”.


  7. Relax Chris please.

  8. By the way I have the complete Saga on Blu Ray I’m sure you do too, but some people complain about slightly pink tinted lightsaber of Vader’s.

  9. Episode Six is actually my favorite movie because it (SPOILER?) is where the happy ending happens. 🙂 … Until Episode Seven that is.

  10. He made a great movie like this, and followed it with a movie in which the elite soldiers of the Empire are defeated by teddy bears.

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