For a long time, Return of the Jedi was the last film in the Star Wars saga, and for a while it was my favourite. Now though I feel it’s weaker than Empire, and definitely has its low quality moments. But it also still has some good bits.
Re-watching, it’s difficult not to notice the poor fight choreography, especially on Tatooine where the fights really don’t flow as well as in a good modern film, with large pauses within the action which feel out of place. There’s a lot of lightsabers bouncing off of things in this film as well, a definite step back from Empire.
The film (the Tatooine scenes especially) does well though at showing how Luke has grown from the cocky kid in A New Hope to a mature Jedi. It’s one of the things I like about this whole trilogy – it’s very good at showing the changing power dynamic between Luke and Vader. It’s something the prequels never quite captured for Anakin IMO.
The best parts of the film are pretty much all aboard the Death Star, with the scenes between Luke, Vader and Palpatine – though I’m still not sure how the Jedi are ever able to achieve anything if killing someone turns them to the dark side. John Williams really nailed the music for the throne room scenes.
On the whole, probably the weakest of this trilogy, especially when taken as a standalone film. It’s still superior to all three of the prequel films however, and plenty of fun to watch.