Star Wars Episode 5: The Empire Strikes Back is the fifth chapter and installment in the Skywalker saga, and a continuation on the original trilogy as well. The first thing I would like to mention in this review, is that this is a Star Wars movie with a much darker tone and setting. The plot does feel more urgent in this movie than in episode 4 (ANH), because in that movie our heroes always had the upper hand until the very end, but in this film in the trilogy the empire is striking back, and the rebels are then desperately trying to flee out of the hands of the enemy and out of the situation. This made for a very exciting and thrilling story, and I was also feeling more depth for the main characters and hoping that they would succeed until the very end, like they did in the previous episode.
The main reason why I think that The Empire Strikes Back is (by some fans) the best and most popular installment in the Star Wars franchise, is because of Irvin Kershner's beautiful direction with the story, and how he handled the main characters and the tone of the movie. It feels much more unpredictable than the previous film in the trilogy, because there are a certain plot twist and some other story elements that I did not expect coming near the end of the movie, and that probably will surprise you too (if you are watching this film for he very first time). I also have to mention the way Irvin Kershner directed this movie in terms of the cinematography, because some of the pictures/shots in this film are so memorable and still look very iconic in film history to this date. This made the movie in general even more spectacular and beautiful to look at. The use of detailed models of vehicles, creatures, environments, objects, weapons, stop motion and practical effects, also made this movie very iconic and I really got the feeling that this is actually taking place in the Star Wars universe.
The original cast of Mark Hamill, Harrisson Ford, and Carrie Fisher does as overall great performance in their roles, and they are without doubt some of my favorite characters in Star Wars, not just because of their abilities, but also the well done characterization as well. John William's musical score feels epic and amazing as always, and also added a lot of emotional drama to the story.
There is really nothing I want to criticize this movie for, because it is so beautiful and well directed in so many ways, and because I think personally that Irvin Kershner did a pretty good job with his direction. I therefore look at this movie as a masterpiece in Star Wars history, because it had all the elements that I wanted to see in a Star Wars movie. It could not have been any better than this.