Return of the Jedi is the epic conclusion to the original trilogy, wrapping up all loose ends left hanging from the last movie. Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), now fully aware of who his father is, arrives at Jubba the Hut's (Larry Ward) palace, hoping to take back Han Solo (Harrison Ford), who has been frozen in carbonate and is being used as a decoration. With the help of Leia (Carrie Fisher), C3P0 (Anthony Daniels), R2D2 (Kenny Baker), Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew) and Lando Calrissian (Billy Dee Williams), they get out alive, now heading off to the planet Endor to take down the evil lord Vader (David Prowse as the body and James Earl Jones as the voice) and the Emperor (Ian McDiarmid) once and for all.
In similar fashion to A New Hope, Return of the Jedi opens with our two favourite droids in the world, R2D2 and C3P0. Again, they're found wandering around on Tatooine, except this time they know where they're going. They're heading straight for Jubba's palace to deliver a message from Luke. I will never tire of the dialogue between these two characters, each scene with them in it just joyous. If Han and Chewie are the old married couple, R2D2 and C3P0 are the two siblings who can't stop fighting. Deep down, however, they really do love each other.
This opening sequence gives us our first look at Luke's new lightsaber, which the expanded universe (including the non-cancelled expanded universe. They make note of this in the new comic book run) tells us was created by Luke himself, based off of instructions given to him from a diary Obi-Wan leaves. It's the first time we see a lightsaber that isn't blue or red, and while it's still rather cool, nothing, to me, beats Luke's lightsaber from the first two films, which was passed down to him from his father. And, if we're to believe any of the advertising, it seems it may be making its return in The Force Awakens. I, for one, cannot wait to find out where it's been all these years. Just floating around space with Luke's severed arm? We'll find out next week! Probably....
Tatooine is all fun and games, but it's soon time for these characters to finish what they set out to do three films ago. Take down Darth Vader. The problem is, the only way to do this is to act on a dodgy and noticeable green screen. Seriously though, there are moments in this movie where the green screen is the most obvious thing in the world, and that's rather upsetting because the rest of the film is practically flawless. Still, this is not a big enough problem for me to want to downgrade the film. I will always love Return of the Jedi with all my heart.
Luke, who discovered earlier on in the film that Leia is his sister (and tells this to her in what is one of my favourite scenes in the movie, mostly thanks to the addition of Han Solo who appears towards the end to have a conversation with her), confronts Vader for what he hopes to be the last time, leaving the rest of the rebellion to do their thing. Their final confrontation is intercut between an intense and emotional battle on Endor, as well as a battle up in space to take down the Death Star, giving us the famous "it's a trap" line.
The battles occurring simultaneously are a lot of fun, especially a moment in which Leia and Han reverse the roles in the iconic "I know" scene, but it's the moments with Vader and Luke that are the most exciting. It's the single greatest lightsaber fight in this entire trilogy, full of aggression and emotion. Luke remains convinced that Vader can turn good, and that it's simply the Emperor's doings, and believe it or not, he's right. With Luke down and being electrocuted like there's no tomorrow, Vader makes the decision to throw the Emperor to his death, saving his son and turning his back on the dark side.
Return of the Jedi, while the weakest entry in the original trilogy, is all sorts of brilliant. From Han to Admiral Akbar, every character gets enough screen time, wrapping up everyone's stories without flaw. The empire has been defeated. The rebels have won. Darth Vader is dead. Leia and Han are hopefully off to live happily ever after. It's just about as happy as endings come, especially once you get a glimpse of Anakin's force ghost standing alongside Yoda and Obi-Wan. I love love love love love it.
To sum up, Return of the Jedi is the perfect wrap up to the Star Wars saga, bringing together romance, action, humour and emotion into a film that takes its memorable characters and does as much as it can with them. Good luck, Mr. Abrams. I sure hope you've done a good job.