Stranger Things 4- Review

Like millions of others, I recently cancelled my Netflix subscriptions. In response, Netflix has finally released the much-anticipated Stranger Things 4 with impeccable timing, dropping in two Volumes, released two months apart. The latest series in the Crown Jewel of the streaming platform, Stranger Things 4 picks up where Stranger Things 3 left off. The Byers and Eleven relocated in California and the rest of kids now in High School, with Hopper still alive in the USSR held captive by the KGB.

A notable change from last time around is long form episodes, all at least over an hour long, with a cinematic finale clocking in at a whopping two and a half hours. The stakes have been raised with new villain Vecna (Jamie Campbell Bower) wreaking havoc on Hawkins. Vecna is a welcomed addition to the world of Stranger Things, fitting right in with the world of the Upside Down and proving to be one of the series more terrifying villains.

This time around the gang are split up all around the globe, and the series juggles between five and six different narrative arcs all happening simultaneously. These multiple narratives begin branching off after the first two episodes, flowering and weaving back together by the time the finale rolls around. It can sometimes feel that the show spends too long or too little in certain arcs, and cuts to a different arc at one can feel like the wrong time, especially when things really get going. This can be frustrating and take one out of the experience at points.

Where Stranger Things 4 finds its biggest weakness; the series is introducing too many new characters and finding itself getting caught up a tangled web of writing. A lot of these are merely “throw away” characters, ones that can be disposed of when the show no longer requires them. This is familiar territory for Stranger Things, with the show having baked in new characters at the start of earlier seasons, only to see them not make it past the finale. Without giving too many spoilers away, the finale left me with a desire to see a bigger sacrifice made to the cast rather than the usual this time around.

There are positives to take away from this new season. The actors have grown up significantly since the debut back in 2016, delivering some of their best performances this time around. They have evolved into truly owning their roles respectively, performing alongside seasoned veterans Ryder and Harbour. The rumored time jump for Stranger Things 5 will feel much welcomed for these talented young adults, who are starting to appear less like children now.

Its unclear if the Duffer Brothers had a roadmap from the beginning, and its hard to guess where the final season will lead after the finale of Stranger Things 4. One thing is for certain however, I will be renewing my Netflix subscription when it rolls around.

Stranger Things 4 is streaming now on Netflix

 

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