Another post so soon? What a shock. I have been travelling a lot recently so haven’t gone to the cinema too much until a week or so ago but now I have the whole summer to watch and review.
In this post I am talking about the new season/series of Stranger Things!
Thought about posting this earlier but wanted to make sure I didn’t spoil the series for any one not as fast at bingeing as me. So if you haven’t seen all of Stranger Things 3 or are planning to watch it in the future, look away now!
The latest series had a different vibe to the previous: the kids are growing up; they’ve lost people; the stakes are becoming higher and the monsters harder to conquer.
The addition of the Starcourt Mall to Hawkins, Indiana was a great plot idea as it created the location for many of the adventures, shopping trips and final showdowns. Steve and Robin work at Scoops Ahoy for the summer, the group sneak into the cinema and Russians are building something underneath.
I think that the dynamics between all the different characters were very well balanced. There are more characters than ever this series with new additions of Robin, Alexei, Tom, Larry and Heather. The main cast are split into four gangs, if you will. There is Scoops Troop consisting of Steve, Robin, Dustin and Erica, Lucas’ younger sister who has a much bigger role in series 3. Their adventure below the Starcourt Mall trying to defeat Russians and become American heroes takes them away from the main action of the Mind Flayer and the Flayed.
Eleven has grown into her new home and place within the group, bonding with Max and having a summer of love with Mike. The kids group consists of Max, Lucas, Will, Mike and Eleven. They are soon joined by Jonathan and Nancy who get up to some investigating of their own involving rats and fertiliser.
Another character off on their own adventure is Billy, Max’s older step-brother and eye-candy of the community pool. Again his role has been expanded this series. Last series, Billy was an enemy, Steve’s school rival and Max’ gate keeper. This series there is so much more to his story. Also stemming from the last series is the relationship that Billy has built up with Karen, Nancy and Mike’s mother. Billy suggests they meet in motel for some private ‘swimming lessons’ and I bet Karen is glad she didn’t go through with it after Billy’s arc this series. Billy recruits Heather into his evil plots but he isn’t himself. The Mind Flayer is back and has taken over Billy’s mind.
Our last group of Stranger Things characters are Joyce Byers and Jim Hopper, Will’s mother and Eleven’s adoptive father, Jopper. They team up to investigate mysterious goings on with a loss of magnetism in the town. Joyce also goes to Mr Clarke for help, the kid’s science teacher. They then kidnap Alexei and hold him hostage from a man who could be described as the Russian Terminator. They find Murray as he is the only Russian speaker for miles around.
It was really interesting to split up the characters into new and old gangs to work out what monsters are plaguing Hawkins and I think when they eventually all teamed up together which I was hoping for, they all gelled well with one another.
The setting and 80s culture played a big part in this series as always. The fashion of crazy prints, short shorts and block colours was great to explore and as this series is set around 4th July, the Duffer Brothers could explore what a summer in Hawkins looks like. Particular stand out outfits to me were Eleven’s. Max takes her shopping to the mall and they go to The Gap to get her a new look after she dumped Mike. The clash of patterns and bright colours were great for Eleven and showed some of her quirky personality.
Other 80s culture I loved was the films that were referenced. With the new multiplex cinema in Starcourt, the characters had many chances to go the cinema. At the beginning of the series, the group sneak into a showing of Day of the Dead and when Steve and Robin have been drugged by the Russians, on their escape Dustin and Erica try to get them to hide out in a screening of Back to the Future. Other films on the marquee at the front of the cinema are Fletch, D.A.R.Y.L., The Stuff and Return to Oz.
Other pop culture items mentioned are Ralph Macchio: Max’s apparent celebrity crush which prompts Lucas to wear a Karate Kid t-shirt; The Neverending Story theme tune: a duet between Dustin and his camp girlfriend, Suzie over radio; Cheers, a popular US TV show that Joyce and Hopper both watch and the New Coke that only Lucas likes.
The monsters were bigger and gorier than before with the Mind Flayer possessing Billy then getting him to kidnap others for the army. In the end almost thirty people end up as Mind Flayer goop. The monster that grows larger, the more it absorbs people is the most gruesome so far and hardest to destroy. Jonathan and Nancy in the hospital certainly try their hardest but don’t succeed. Of course it takes team work, powers and sheer cleverness to defeat the monsters… and the evil Russians.
The series was kept with Stranger Things’ theme and tone and made a brilliant new season. I cannot wait to see what they have in store next year.
Films I’ve enjoyed recently are Chasing Happiness, Legend, Starter for 10, Rough Night and Wildlife.