Of course, every film in the Star Wars saga is epically amazing and so perfectly scripted (with Rogue One clearly being the boss of all these), but from the original three, The Empire Strikes Back is the pinnacle; the best action, dialogue, suspense, scenes, and naturally, the most popular, talked about and re-watched moment in film history.
There are many reasons why this film is, as a sequel, better than its predecessor; one of these is of course the love feud between Han Solo and Princess Leia finally reaching its climax as viewers find out Leia has had a liking for Han all along, telling him in a way that has been copied by lovers across the world more times than the Roses Are Red poem.
Just five minutes after watching Empire, it’s immediately clear that this film is superior, not just to its prequel but to all other films, because of the cinematic beauty of The Walkers. If a Star Wars film is going to be good, it’s guaranteed to have The Walkers in it. At our ages, we weren’t so lucky to have seen AT-ATs in the cinema; a real shame, as a fifty-foot-wide screen would have done them justice. From the first moment the rebel troop on planet Hoth draws from his binoculars and confirms, “Echo station 3TA, we have spotted Imperial Walkers”, we go to a close-up of R2D2, imagining him saying, “Oh fuck, we’re all dead”, in his own little robot way. The viewer is stuck to their seat as they realise the true size of these terrifying, awesome Imperial fighting machines; they are that big the rebel trooper has to zoom-out on his binoculars, they are that big you can hear their massive footsteps from five miles away. Perfect!
"Just five minutes after watching Empire, it’s immediately clear that this film is superior"
For me, the reason why The Empire Strikes Back is better than A New Hope is because the Empire actually wins! Those well-dressed, well-organised, good-looking officers in grey finally exert justice on the Rebel Troops. Any film in which key characters are killed and a happy ending isn’t given is always a winner for me; this way it is less contrived and more believable. Back in the day this film had the best ending ever; it was most annoying, yet amazing cliffhanger in filmography.
For everyone else, clearly the best part of The Empire Strikes Back is also the greatest scene in all of film history as Luke makes a discovery that shocked viewers everywhere and inspired moviemakers for many years; sometimes to make their own version, most times just to pay homage to this terrific turning point in all of cinema history.