Stranger Things Season 3 (Review)
So our favorite 80's Horror/Goonies like nostalgic blast from the past is back and I'm pleased to report it isn't just back but BACK and hitting on all cylinders.
In this season of Stranger Things the gang finds themselves in more peril battling it out with the Mindflayer (or the shadow monster) and I just might have had fun with this monster now that he is in full force more than any of the previous antagonist.
A lot of the story takes place in the starcourt mall and I gotta tell you I haven't had this much fun in a mall since the original Dawn of the Dead. Not just the mayhem that inevitably takes place there but all of the set pieces really took me back, now I'm not a 80's baby but I barely missed the cut being born in 91 and the whole mall setting wreaks of nostalgia and those older times we cherish near and dear to our hearts. A lot of those nostalgic fueled moments are call backs to older classic movies of that time and it all blends together perfectly from actually being in the theater, to seeing the movies on the signs with showtimes and to just hear characters talk about certain ones just makes, not just the Horror fan in me ooze with joy but the overall MOVIE fan I am in general ooze with joy!
They brought in a few new faces to this season yet again, some recognizable others not so much but just like the additions of Max and Billy last year, these new characters fit in flawlessly and honestly make you feel like they should have been there all along just adding more diversity and making for an even more pleasurable overall viewing experience.
And then we have the setting. From the first episode it's all leading up to a 4th of July monster extravaganza, that you can't wait to experience but the build up is not only there, but in the way the episodes are shot and how beautiful the Cinematography is, you really feel the summer time and Independence day spirit bleed through your TV and it most certainly helped that I binged the whole show on the day of the 4th of July, with a short lived 4th of July party sprinkled in between to be the only thing that separated my eyes from the TV, you can say I was glued to my TV set the entire ride.
As far as episodes go we only get 8 and all run at least 50 mins to an Hour with the Finale being almost an Hour and 20 mins (and what a Finale it was) but we can't get caught in the fact that we're Stranger Things fiends and want more episodes when in reality sometimes less truly is more. Stranger Things has been rolling with their formula at their own pace for 3 Seasons now and they've delivered on all 3 almost flawlessly in my eyes so why get greedy? Even if the end of Season 3 left us wanting Season 4 LIKE tomorrow! Just wait…..
This Season does a marvelous job of moving at a brisk pace to where you never feel a lull in the action, with quick editing cuts in a lot of the action but they don't come off as choppy but rather very soundly giving you a feeling of almost being present amongst the eminent danger.
All actors seem to bring their A game to their respective characters in this one as well.
Joyce - is still picking up the pieces after everything that transpired with Will and the mourning of Bob. There's that potential relationship with Hopper that's patiently waiting there still but you can feel the uncertainty with all that she's been through
Hopper - is still trying to figure out this whole parenting thing as El only gets harder to handle with age. Sometimes his actions can be a tad off-putting but deep down you know it is coming from a sweet/genuine place and of course still battling with what him and Joyce are or aren't seems to have also taken a bit of a toll on him.
Eleven - is finding more and more time to fit in with the rest of the crowd and feel normal for a change but make no mistake she is still as powerful as ever and could potentially snap you in two with the simple flick of the wrist. Naturally she is also still finding the best ways to coexist with the lovable but sometimes not so patient, Hopper and cope a little more with the outside world and truly find herself rather than just this "idea" of who she is.
Mike - Mike still feels like the ringleader and is in solid form again here, finding himself falling even more head over heels for Eleven and all of her complexities. Their whole relationship this Season is very well done and actually get's tested quite a bit which makes for a fun watch but truthfully it's just Mike trying to figure this whole life thing out as a growing kid just like Eleven is trying to do.
Lance - finds himself much like Mike trying to figure out this whole girlfriend thing all while still being the best friend he can be, but naturally as it goes with the best things in life, that ain't always easy and him and Mike both find that out the hard way but their relationships as a whole all grow and benefit because of it I believe.
Max - still fits in with the group flawlessly her relationship with Lance grows and simultaneously gets a little bumpy but that's nowhere near her biggest problem as she struggles with certain events that play out in the show over and over again and you truly feel for her in the midst of the burden that is placed upon her.
Will - Will feels like the 5th wheel a lot of the time and you can definitely see his relationship straining with the guys. As if it isn't hard enough being the odd man out without a girlfriend to turn to, you also have puberty and just the whole process of coping with not being able to be a kid to the extent you used to be anymore, especially considering the circumstances they all went through that would undoubtedly make you grow up a little faster, plus I'm sure when he was going through everything he went through in Seasons 1 & 2 he unfairly missed out on a lot of what happened with his best friends.
Billy - is back and much like his sister is better than ever as we get a somewhat different take on his character as the season progresses that will make you probably have a much different opinion on him in more ways than one.
Dustin - Dustin is as on point as usual, actually not spending as much time with the gang as you might expect but he has just as much screen time if not more ripping and running with some other stars of the cast. Dustin finds himself with Steve and a unlikely newcomer in the midst of trying to solve a mystery that might prove to shake up the whole fabric of the show.
Steve - Steve and Dustin's unlikely friendship continues to grow as the memory further escapes us of what he once was, now becoming a bit of a dork himself all while getting plenty of wisecracks from people around him due to hanging out with younger kids, but if you had been through what he has been through with these kids you'd be as close as ever with these kids too. He continues to grow as a character this season even being more heroic and I can't get enough of the character arc he has had.
Nancy - stuck at a what seems like a dead end job along with Jonathan, is still doing her best to make it. She finds herself not being taken seriously by her co workers as they make a mockery of her while you can't help but root for her cause you know her intentions are pure. She still lights up the screen and makes you sympathize with her character seemingly effortlessly. She's had a hard enough time even without you assholes in the picture but will she get the last laugh?
Jonathan - not as fed up with his job as Nancy is cause of the whole women are inferior in the workplace trope, but also doesn't seem to be having a good time either but then again, he never does! I sometimes wonder if it's the actors portrayal that does it or if he just has one of those faces, or maybe even a bit of both??? Even so it appears like even with the girl he doesn't seem to fit in with this town and everything going on outside of the monsters but we love having him on the screen anyways.
Even with all of the monster madness the true star of this show is the heart and it's characters and none of that lessens a single bit here as you can tell from how I gushed about them. You feel yourself tighten up to the edge of your seat when your favorite and even surprisingly not so favorite characters are in trouble, you feel relationships straining and growing, there's a more connectivity felt overall that I felt was missing just a smidge in the inferior although, still really good 2nd season and you might even feel deep sadness like you've never felt before in the show when the season finale says farewell.
Overall guys Stranger Things still reigns supreme with it's latest binge-worthy installment that rivals the excellence of the first season. Could this potentially mean the best is yet to come? Well my friends, stranger things have happened.