Everything its predecessor did, it did better
This is what you hope for in every sequel. Empire Strikes Back transcends the franchise to even greater heights in all aspects, especially on an emotional and visual level. What I found lacking in A New Hope this movie corrects: More interaction among the main cast; new worlds are explored and the action turns more intense; questions are answered and the epic ending leaves viewers clamoring for more.
I was hoping for some character development, and my prayers were answered. The trio of Luke (Hamill), Han (Ford) and Leia (Fisher) give better performances this time around and their chemistry works like a charm on screen. Han Solo was my favorite, but in a weird way I also enjoyed the antics of Chewbacca and the robots. The adversary was also more evil and powerful than ever. This was the first time I took Darth Vader seriously and his terrorizing use of the force just makes him even more of a popular antagonist.
It’s evident that the budget was increased and it was utilized very well. With practical effects we get Master Yoda who looked surprisingly animate and I was impressed with his facial gestures, not to mention his funny personality which is a huge comic relief. The set design improved significantly and is more noticeable than the scenes from outer space. This added level of detail gave me a better appreciation for the setting, which ultimately increased my enjoyment while watching the film. The movie just did so well in adding value to the franchise without forcing itself to be better that there really isn’t much to complain about. The only problem they have to face now is how do they move on and top what they’ve already accomplished. That remains to be seen, at least for me. And I’m very excited to see how it all concludes.