George Lucas handed over directing duties to the relatively unknown Irvin Kershner for the second instalment of his Star Wars saga, and the result is the hands-down best film in the entire series. Widely considered the pinnacle of the franchise, The Empire Strikes back delivered and improved upon the spectacle of A New Hope, but it added something else, too; something steeped in pathos and tragedy and a sense of the ebb and flow of narrative history. It also has the greatest twist (and one of the greatest lines) in film history, just in case the rest wasn't quite enough. Re-watching the film, it's staggering to see how well it stands up, and while I'll leave the actual analysis until later on, I will say now that this might be the only Star Wars picture which can genuinely be considered an all-time great movie outside of the franchise.
13. The Opening Has Elements Of A Horror Film
Luke checking out something seemingly innocuous in a desolate wasteland (a kind of equivalent of checking out a random house in the middle of nowhere), the Wampa monster jumping out and dragging him to his lair (which could be a dungeon, or garage) before hanging him upside down and leaving him there to fester. This is horror movie territory - amplified further by the new shot (added for the 1997 re-release and a rare example of one of Lucas enhancements that actually adds something to the film) of the horrific Wampa feeding on Luke's Tauntaun - and it sets the tone for a Star Wars film almost completely at odds with the rousing space opera of A New Hope. If anything, the ice-cave scene is more Texas Chainsaw Massacre than it is Star Wars, right down to Han rescuing Luke at the last moment, after the captive Skywalker has ran away from the wounded beast. This horror element will continue to vaguely run throughout The Empire Strikes Back (see the scenes on the Dagobah system, which Ill get to later), but its never more prevalent than in these opening scenes, which let the viewer know that the plucky Luke of A New Hope is in for a much more sinister experience this time around.