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The Road to Skywalker: A Review of Return of the Jedi (1983)

Return of the Jedi (1983) is the third and final film in the original Star Wars trilogy, concluding the franchise for nearly twenty years. Directed by Richard Marquand, this film once again stars Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford. Luke Skywalker (Hamill) attempts to bring Darth Vader (played by David Prowse, voiced by James Earl Jones) back to the light side of the ‘Force’, whilst the rebels hatch a plan to destroy the second Death Star.

As a finale to a series like this, this is a film that ends on a very satisfying note. This was the last film that people saw from the Star Wars franchise for many years, so it had to be solid in its conclusion. This series has been essentially following Luke Skywalker and his journey to becoming a Jedi Master, and this film, in particular, plays up that storyline really well, especially connecting his storyline to that of Darth Vader.

There are several twists in this film, some of which must have been shocking to a viewer watching it in cinemas but are iconic nowadays. Yet, the film plays them really well in not being predictable yet also not being completely ridiculous. If you have been living under a rock and do not know the twist involving Luke and Leia, I will not spoil it but I will say that it was a bold move at the time and I appreciate them doing that in terms of a narrative purpose.

We saw the development of the relationship between Han and Leia in The Empire Strikes Back, but it becomes fully realised here and will become an even bigger aspect of the franchise in the more recent instalments made. I do prefer the subtlety that Empire had and not having a focal point of this franchise be about love, but Han and Leia’s relationship is one that I genuinely care about, as opposed to a lot of relationships placed in franchises like these ones.

The CGI and special effects work is by far and away the best of any of the films in this particular trilogy. Yes, it is the last of the series so it is at a time where the budget could be increased and the technology has advanced. It is hard to deny though that this film is beautiful to watch, particularly in the fight sequences. There is also clear improvements in terms of other technical aspects, such as the sound designs, which help elevate the quality of the film.
In the several times I have watched this film, I have never been a fan of the Jabba the Hutt character and that particular segment of the film. Whether it is due to the fact that both A New Hope and Empire both felt completely refreshing with their world-building and character designs in comparison to that of Jabba or I just did not feel any threat or progression of character development with this part of the story, I just ended up not caring about this part in the film at all.

This may be the weakest of the trilogy to me, but it is still a very strong film and a solid conclusion to what is one of the most epic trilogies of all time. It says a lot when your weakest film in an entire series is still a fantastic entry, and it is no wonder why the entire series is loved by so many people.


What are your thoughts on Return of the Jedi? Is it your least favourite of the series, or do you like it even more than A New Hope or The Empire Strikes Back? Let me know in the comments section and let’s have a discussion.

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