De Wanna Wanga Crunchers! Welcome to another Star Wars review! This movie holds a special place in my heart. It contains so many iconic things and moments that will be forever remembered. Speeders (made even more iconic by Destiny), Ewoks, the Rancor, gold bikinis, the confirmation that Vader is Luke’s father, the revelation that Leia is Luke’s sister, and the final battle between good vs. evil, leaving the last Jedi standing. What more can you ask for?
The movie starts off with the rescue of Han Solo. In hindsight, it was a pretty convoluted rescue, but hey whatever works! Plus it was a great intro to seeing how powerful Luke had become. This is the first movie that I really like Luke’s character. He changed from the whiny boy that he has always been, to a wise powerful Jedi. The fight with the Rancor did always make me wonder why Luke couldn’t use the force to lift the bone into its mouth, or to throw the rock at the button for the gate, but it was still pretty epic. Then, while Luke and our other heroes escape a torturous death from a hungry sand monster with Luke in full Jedi mode, Leia uses her own slave chain to choke out one of the biggest cartel leaders in the galaxy. Way to show the CW where the #girlpower really belongs. I do wish however, that Boba Fett had put up more of a fight.
It’s a trap! The rebellion prepares to take on a mostly reconstructed Deathstar (the strongest stars have hearts of Kyber), but it’s being shielded by a generator on the forest moon of Endor, splitting up our heroes to fight on 2 fronts.. They absolutely could not have picked a better location to film Endor. The redwood forest made the perfect place to house the indigenous Ewoks, and for them to have their gorilla fight with the Stormtroopers who were springing a trap for Han, Chewy, and Leia. Unfortunately, the Ewoks didn’t really seem like they were as strong as they were to take out the Empire’s best troops, so you have to use your imagination a little, but it was the early 80’s right? The film was still massively ahead of its time. Plus, how cute are those Ewoks right?
Lando led the dogfight in the sky, and finally showed that he could actually help out for once. His intuition saved the fleet from running into a still shielded Death Star. This was a great make or break moment for the rebellion. Lando had to fight to keep the fleet where it was, while certain rebel leaders wanted to turn tail and run. Obviously it wasn’t out yet, but similar cowardice was shown by rebel leaders in Rogue One, which was a small, but good nod to the franchise’s continuity.
Then there was the legendary force battle between the Skywalkers. Power vs. Power and father vs. Son. Luke was manipulated into the fight by the Emperor. I loved that the movie showed how conniving and the Emperor was, and that he truly knew how to bring the dark side out of people. His plan was going to use the victory over the rebellion to fuel his final victory over the Jedi, and it almost worked. He was able to coax Luke into using his rage to try and murder him, which ensued his fight with Vader. After soon realizing that his anger shouldn’t be driving him, he stops fighting. The interesting thing is that, when he finally actually defeats Vader, he was angry, leading me to believe that he was using the dark side to charge his attack. I also thought Vader’s manipulation of Luke was well handled. Showing that he could not only read looks thoughts, but using the idea of tossing aside his son Luke to go after his daughter, Luke’s sister, proved too much for Luke. Eventually however, after cutting off Vader’s and remembering that he lost his own hand too his father’s dark side, Luke was still able to overcome his rage and throw away his saber.
Ultimately, Luke was right in that there was a conflict in Vader. Compassion for his son ended the conflict, and led Vader to kill the Emperor, at the cost of his own life. Was this then at least in part the influence of the light side of the force? I’m not entirely sure, but I like to think that it is. Vader’s death gave us yet another force ghost, which has created some more content for future movies and shows. It will be interesting to see the scope of their influence as the franchise continues.
As I rate this movie, I am keeping in mind that it is 37 years old, even though it’s still awesome today. It’s hard for me to say what my favorite Star Wars movie is, but this is definitely in the running. I give Return of the Jedi a solid 5 cushions out of 5 cushions.
5 out of 5 Couch Cushions!!!