Joss Whedon Has One Big Problem with 'The Empire Strikes Back'
Amongst Star Wars fans, a large majority would call The Empire Strikes Back the best film in the entire saga. It's certainly one of the best sequels of all time and contains one of the most mind-blowing twists in history. However, The Avengers director Joss Whedon actually thinks Star Wars (or A New Hope as it's come to be called) is the better film. Whedon says, "Empire committed the cardinal sin of not actually ending. Which at the time I was appalled by and I still think it was a terrible idea." As the middle part of a trilogy, the film is faced with the challenge of not really having a beginning or end, but is it bad?
In a conversation with EW, the director elaborated:
"It’s not an ending. It’s a Come Back Next Week, or in three years. And that upsets me. I go to movies expecting to have a whole experience. If I want a movie that doesn’t end I’ll go to a French movie. That’s a betrayal of trust to me. A movie has to be complete within itself, it can’t just build off the first one or play variations."
As Whedon explained a bit more briefly once before, “I still believe that even though The Empire Strikes Back is better in innumerable ways than Star Wars, Star Wars wins because you can’t end a movie with Han frozen in Carbonite. That’s not a movie, it’s an episode.” The director isn't necessarily wrong with his assessment of the middle film in the trilogy, but the fact that the film is held in such high esteeem and given such critical praise without an ending that's wrapped up neatly. For my money, The Empire Strikes Back may not work as a standalone film, but the fact that it has been praised in spite of that fact is what makes it worthy of being called the best in the series. We'll agree to disagree, Mr. Whedon. Thoughts?