If it's crap ... We'll tell you
It's unbelievable how much more praise Empire Strikes Back gets over its sibling films. Everyone only seems to remember the infamous "Luke, I am your father" line, Yoda's gibberish talk, and the Tauntauns. Besides those described items, there doesn't seem to be an overabudance of highlights. I'm here today to talk about the film that I felt was the best of original trilogy and the one that's been spurned by Star Wars fans: Return of the Jedi. When I talk about these films, I will address them in the idea that they are all one long narrative since Empire and Return build off of their previous film.
Why am I writing this blog? I'm bored, got time to waste, and nothing better to do besides continually shoo my dog off of the couch.
Luke Skywalker: Pilot, Jedi, and totally not a whiner this time around...
In Star Wars, Luke was like any teenage kid: looking for adventure and more meaning outside of his normal and, let's face it, boring life as a farmer. Luke rises to the challenge of being not only a reliable pilot, but a learned student of Obi-Wan whose trust in his teachings earn him victory for himself and respect among his peers. In the succeeding story, he becomes a self-entitled cunt of impatience and pays for his reckless abandon of helpful advice with his hand and his sanity. I don't dislike this. Characters change and develop over time, and impatience is sure to follow when your ego has probably inflated to the size of a zeppelin. And in the last movie, Luke finally becomes a man - responsible, thoughtful, and wise. Even Han seems to talk to him like a peer instead of his annoying kid brother. He sees the task before him and contemplates on what to do instead of madly rushing out into the situation like Leeroy Jenkins. Luke even appears to be more level-headed opposed to Obi-wan who only views Darth Vader as a monster to be killed. It's even Luke's selflessness to face his problems alone and rejecting violence at the final moment in his fight against Darth Vader that cement him as a changed man instead of the rash boy we saw in the other films. The reconciliation of Vader and Luke is one of my favorite moments in cinema history and one that never fails to get me every time I watch. Luke be a damn good character, Holmes.
"Leia, darling won't you ease my worried mind?"
Leia was a revolutionary character at the time in cinema. She was strong, independent, and outspoken. But, in the previous films, she was rarely seen outside of her seriousness for the Rebel Alliance. Even with her romance with Han in Empire, the most emotional she ever gets is awkwardly shouting that she loves him. This time around, a new stride of femininity along with her already strong demeanor blend together to give us a more vulnerable character. The distraught situation she creates when keeping Luke's secret from Han cripples her and, for the first time, her emotional barrier is lowered and we see the woman behind all the bravado and brave speeches. She wants to love Han unconditionally, but she's struggling with her responsibilities that keep her from her desires. Plus, Golden Bikini for the Monday-to-Friday win.
Han shot...at some point in time that led to the death of Greedo
Han Solo has been the staplemark bad-ass of the series, and some people incorrectly think that his stature is reduced in this story. In other films, Han is treated like a God. No one can touch him. A smooth panty-dropping line here and a blaster fire there and he becomes an inspiration and an icon. What's different in this film is that, unlike in the previous installments, Han is insecure. Luke's relationship with Leia makes him jealous and angry instead of just being mildly annoyed like with Lando's intruding nature in The Empire Strikes Back. His relationship with Leia is getting serious. It's not just casual fling for Han since it's his love for her that causes him to lash out. What really makes him an infinitely better character is near the end of the film. After the story displays Han as a man who deeply loves Leia, he finally becomes mature enough to tell her that if she wants to be with Luke, then he won't get in the way. This isn't the same Han who had been fighting over her like a horny frat boy in the other films. This is a Han who rises past his own wants to give the woman he loves happiness. Harrison Ford has gone on record saying that he wished George Lucas had killed off his character in Return of the Jedi to have a 'heroic death.' Ford failed to recognize, however, that Lucas and company had succeeded in a more important aspect - finally making Han Solo a mature character.
This isn't really a story issue, but one of personal preference: I freakin' love the Ewoks. They're supposed to represent the race of beings who are the most unlikely to succeed against the Empire, and they sure do look it; it's not their physical traits, but their tenacity and ingenuity through Guerrilla warfare that save the day. If it was, say for instance, the Wookies fighting on Endor, it would seem like an unfair advantage given their incredible strength. It actually looks like a struggle since the Ewoks are being, sometimes literally, tossed around the battlefield. Some people don't like that they look cuddly and friendly. That just makes 'em freakin adorable. And come on! If you tell me that you didn't tear up a little when that one Ewok was trying to wake up his dead friend, you're lying through your God damn teeth.
Return of the Jedi is the best of the Star Wars films. Not because it's the darkest, but because it's the most mature. Characters overcome their own personal demons and become better, stronger, and more adult individuals by the end.