With all the hype around Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens, we have been doing a marathon to reacquaint ourselves and our readers with what came before it and doing reviews on these films to get excited about the new release. Our Star Wars rewatch concludes with a review of Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi – the final instalment of the iconic trilogy.
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So what’s my take on Return of the Jedi? Compared to the first two episodes – especially the almost flawless Empire Strikes Back – it is not rated as highly, but is still a great watch and a solid end to the trilogy.
Felt very repetitive
If you saw the first installment, Star Wars Episode I: A New Hope, you might remember that there is a rescue mission and a plot to destroy the Death Star and defeat Darth Vader. Cut to the final instalment and not much has changed, except they rescued Han Solo instead of Princess Leia and there is a new Death Star. But, you know, same same.
I guess it is a winning formula, and they did tweak it a little to not literally be the exact same movie, but I just feel like there could have been more done with the last episode of this trilogy.
Less dark and more cute
Even with deaths to Yoda (of old age) and Darth Vader – whose redemption we’ll come to in a minute – this entire film does a complete 180 in terms of tone, compared to its predecessor – The Empire Strikes Back.
It’s like the creative team came together and said, “Guys. This is the last one of these. Empire was gold but it was not upbeat at all. Let’s give the audience a happy ending. But not just Act 3, let’s make the entire film a happy ending. We’ve got lunch boxes and action figures to sell!”
I read that the Harrison Ford wanted Han Solo to die in the movie but George Lucas decided against that because, according to Harrison Ford: “George didn’t think there was any future in dead Han toys.” Which sums up exactly where this installment goes wrong, in my opinion. I would have loved a bold move like killing off a main hero halfway through the movie in some self-sacrificial way would be a bigger, more poetic ending to a fantastic trilogy.
A then there are the Ewoks – yeah, them. Teddy bears on meth. What are they even doing in this movie?
And then there’s this…
Badass Luke Skywalker
Luke went from being a regular Joe living with his aunt and uncle, to joining a rebellion and battling a powerful Sith Lord. And in Return of the Jedi we see him really taking his role as leader to heart, orchestrating the rescue mission of Han Solo with some badass heroics.
Luke has done quite a bit of growing up, and it comes to the fore quite noticeably in this final installment as he resists the advances of Emperor Palpatine and the allure of the dark side, while taking on his father and showing just how courageous he can be.
Some have criticised the climax as being too all over the place but I actually like that we were shown three separate final sequences as it took out the monotony of everybody being in one place.
- Han, Leia and the droids are on Endor trying to bring the down the shield generator, so that…
- The Rebel fleet, led by Lando who is piloting the Millennium Falcon, can destroy the Death Star while…
- Luke, Darth Vader and Emperor Palpatine are on said Death Star, having a final showdown.
Although each is taking place separately, they are all intertwined, and with such a big cast it was actually great to split them up and have these mini-missions all taking place for the greater cause.
Darth Vader Redemption
I’ve always been of the opinion that the best villain, or character really, is the one with a little good and bad in them. In conflict with not only the world but also themselves. Riddled with complexity. And Darth Vader is a prime example of that.
Having watched the prequel trilogy first in this most recent rewatch, you meet Darth Vader before he becomes the iconic villain and what’s more, you meet him when he’s a little boy destined to be a hero. It’s really great that the character comes full circle.
Luke is all about trying to convince his dad – aka archenemy – Darth Vader to come back from the dark side. But it’s pretty tricky because of the perks.
But then he sees his son, Luke getting straight up electrocuted by Emperor Palpatine and he has this moment where you can somehow see through his helmet that he is having this conflict of whether to stop it and save Luke or let his son die. Darth Vader decides to be a good guy again, sacrificing his own well-being and throws Emperor Palpatine down over a railing, falling to his demise. Return of the Jedi indeed.
Check out the trailer for Star Wars: Return of the Jedi below:
The IMDB Synopsis for Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi reads as follows:
“After rescuing Han Solo from the palace of Jabba the Hutt, the rebels attempt to destroy the second Death Star, while Luke struggles to make Vader return from the dark side of the Force.”