Release Date: July 4
Starring: Millie Bobby Brown, Winona Ryder, Finn Wolfhard, David Harbour, et al.
When Stranger Things first arrived in 2017, it rode high on people’s feelings of nostalgia for the ’80s, and quickly became one of the best original series of this generation, further catapulting Netflix higher among the big wigs in entertainment. These days, the show’s become its own entity, is currently the biggest young-adult series on air, and is now fully able to express itself and tell its perculiar breed of horror-SciFi stories without relying much on external nostalgia. Stranger Things 3 does reference some pop culture materials or the ’80s – Terminator, Back to the Future, Gremlins, Evil Dead 3, etc. But its greatest references comes from its earlier seasons, and that works fine too.
I enjoy watching kids grow up in movies – Arya and Sansa’s arcs were two of my favorites in Game of Thrones. For the Stranger Kids, adulthood beckons, and with it all the quirks that follow; a new kind of drama abounds – and that includes teenage love, with sub-themes of understanding, commitment, and how not to lose yourself while in a committed relationship. The show handles these mature topics well, even better than most movies centered around adults.
Millie Bobby Brown is a terrific actress for her age, and part of what makes Eleven’s naivety and bravery believable is thanks to her portrayal. It’s good to see her better hone her craft as well as her sense of style this season.
As the never-ending drama between the children’s club vs. the demons rages on, it’s become more incredulous seeing the Scooby-gang as Earth’s first defense against enemies of life and the United States. It’s even more unbelievable when you consider the lack of strong reason the show keeps revisiting the same plot over and over again. It was easier when all we we had to deal with watching Eleven battle Demogorgon beasts trying to usurp our world, but when you add a Russian spy plot (with a Terminator-looking agent at the forefront) believability gets thrown into a mix.
It’d be expected that since the show returns to the same central conflict of man vs. demon again and again it’d be boring already, but Stranger Things 3 works so well because it’s mostly character-driven, even the Mind-Flayer is given a rebranding push, becoming a gigantic goo.
Stranger Things 3 is great because it lets its characters (old and new) play and grow in ways the last season didn’t, making it a better and well-rounded one. It still isn’t half as good as the rollercoaster ride the first season was, but it’s far better than the mostly lacklustre sophomore outing. And even though the characters are mostly separated into factions for the better part of this season, they mostly play off into one another, making the story feel like different parts of the same body at the same time.
My verdict: Stranger Things 3 doesn’t disappoint. It’s an 8 hours of entertainment well spent, and I can’t wait for the next installment. If you wait around long enough, you’ll catch the mid-credit scene, and have an idea of what’s in store next season. More monsters and, hopefully, a resurrection for our fan favorite character.
Rinzy’s Rating: 4/5