‘STRANGER THINGS 2’ – Review

DANGER! MAJOR SPOILERS LIE AHEAD! BEWARE!

Created by Matt and Ross Duffer

Starring Millie Bobbie Brown, Finn Wolfhard, Winona Ryder, David Harbour (and many more terrific actors and actresses)

Alright, you’ve officially been warned, so I’m assuming if you’re reading past this point that you’re all caught up.

Stranger Things 2 takes place in Hawkins, Indiana about a year after the events of season 1. Will Byers is back with his family, but experiencing some strange visions, and Eleven has found a new home. The upsidedown spreads it’s roots within the town, and the Dungeons and Dragons party is the only team equipped enough to stop the treacherous Shadow Monster…

It’s really hard to top the phenomena that swept Netflix nation last year, but Stranger Things 2 did a pretty damn good job as the show’s sequential season. I really enjoyed watching and I’m hooked for season 3, but you know my inner critic has to poke some holes too – I’ll get to those later.

So… What’s going on with Will?

His larger role was amazing. How do you act possessed by something we never truly understand? Not a demon or a ghost, an unidentifiable being… Beats me. But this kid did a hell of a job. I have to admit I was originally worried he wouldn’t be as entertaining as his friends were in season 1, but his acting is the reason I have to mention him first. Speaking of the party…

Lucas and Dustin became dynamic characters this season and I loved it.

Getting to know the two through their love triangle with Max shows me this show has a thought out plan for the future. Individually, their scenes from season 1 intrigued me enough to come back; and the writers followed through with amazing story lines in season 2. Lucas’ coming of age to become the kind of man a woman can respect, and Dustin haunted by the consequences of his mistakes: both wonderfully acted, and often hilariously executed. (I mean, the code red scene? I was actually rolling around laughing).

As for their love triangle, it made me notice something about the show as a whole. Dustin and Lucas both like Madmax, thats obvious. But then there’s the Jonathan-Nancy-Steve mess that left Jonathan on top this year. Don’t get me wrong I’m Team Jonathan and Nancy all the way, but badass Dad Steve deserves love too, (@Duffer Bros.). Anyway, did anyone else notice Bob, Joyce, and Hopper kind of… riffing? Apparently Hopper and Joyce go way back… but Bob’s in the picture after a year. So Joyce has Bob solve an impossible puzzle with out any questions, then its actually to save Hopper? There was definitely a look during that hug & hold after his rescue.  I guess that point doesn’t really matter since, ya know, well… Bob is… Bob. RIP.

I just hope we can focus on more than one steady relationship next season; but when the central love story is the best of them all, I don’t mind following it.

Mike and Eleven’s separation was heartbreaking but I guess that was the point. How did this show make me cry over a middle school relationship? I’ll never know. But their character development from season 1 gave this year so much more weight, and Mike showing up as a great friend helped Finn provide even more examples of the great acting these kids can do. Finally discovering who Eleven is and where she comes from answered some huge questions from season 1 satisfyingly, for me at least; and Millie bobbie brown brought the heat again as a superb actress. We also got to see a pretty cool X-Men: First Class moment with her sister…

Seriously these scenes are the exact same thing, and I love the parallels it makes, unintentional or not, so I had to mention it.

Overall, I enjoyed a lot of what Stranger Things 2 had to offer. But here’s what I don’t get…

Is the door closed? Or not? Because it seemed pretty closed to me. And all seems good in Hawkins… So… was that last shot meant to show that the upsidedown will always be there? Or will the Shadow Monster return? And is this never ending mystery a good or bad thing? I’m left with too many questions, that’s why this season didn’t get a perfect 10/10. I know the show is meant to be suspenseful, but my biggest fear comes with the finale… how are they gonna top the shadow monster?

Rating – 9/10

Stranger Things 2 is now streaming on Netflix

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