50 reasons Star Wars is better than Lord of The Rings

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6. Empire Strikes Back vs. The Two Towers

What was The Empire Strikes Back? The second movie in the Star Wars original trilogy

What was The Two Towers? The second movie in the Lord of the Rings original trilogy

Verdict: The middle act of each trilogy, where our heroes arguably reach their lowest points.

The Rebels lose the Battle of Hoth and are flung back into the darkness and chaos of the galaxy. Luke is battling his own demons on Dagobah while Han and Leia are on the run with the Empire in dead pursuit. It doesn’t get much better by the end, either. We find out Vader is Luke’s father, and Han gets frozen in carbonite. It is a profoundly dark and dispiriting connection between the two triumphs of A New Hope and Return of the Jedi.

Two Towers sees our heroes separated and forced to take on Sauron and Saruman from different angles. While it dabbles in some discouragement as our heroes avoid the Ringwraiths and the various intrigues of the Rohirrum court, ultimately our spirits are lifted as Gandalf appears on the ridge with the Riders of Rohan at the Battle of Helm’s Deep. The heroes come out on top in the end, more or less.

There’s something to be said for leaving the audience uneasy. Empire wasn’t afraid to strip most or all from the Star Wars story. Two Towers takes the safer route, however.

By that fact alone, Empire takes this round and is arguably the best Star Wars movie ever made.

Star Wars wins

Next: 5. Return of the Jedi vs. Return of the King