Stranger Things (2016-): Season 4 – Volume 1
Title: Stranger Things
Genre: Drama | Fantasy | Horror |
Runtime: 539 min
Creators: The Duffer Brothers
Starring: Winona Ryder, David Harbour, Millie Bobby Brown
It’s been six months since the Battle of Starcourt, which brought terror and destruction to Hawkins. Struggling with the aftermath, our group of friends are separated for the first time – and navigating the complexities of high school hasn’t made things any easier. In this most vulnerable time, a new and horrifying supernatural threat surfaces, presenting a gruesome mystery that, if solved, might finally put an end to the horrors of the Upside Down.
NOT WORTH THE WAIT…?
The Hawkins kids have grown up. They’re more mature and with that comes frightening violence. More blood and more gore than before. These younglings have joined High School and become teenagers. The cast is still large and has expanded with a new character that has a function for the story. The ensemble still consists of Winona Ryder, David Harbour, Finn Wolfhard, Millie Bobby Brown, Gaten Matarazzo, Caleb McLaughlin, Noah Schnapp, Sadie Sink, Natalia Dyer, Charlie Heaton, Joe Keery, Maya Hawke, and Priah Ferguson.
The story is a straighter forward story with a villain that has been hiding in plain sight, a cheap trick. The clues are already spoiled in the marketing and the trailers with an old house, a clock, and some supervillain. Even though it’s far more to the point, the storyline is difficult to follow. Cause here you have sunny California, Hawkins, and Russia. When things are getting worse and some characters are split up, it’s even more events that keep track of.
With Jim Hopper still stuck in Moscow, Soviet on in a random prison, it could’ve been shortened. We know by far that he’s going to be rescued by Murray and Joyce. There’s a fight between Mike and Eleven during the spring break in 1986. These kids are supposed to be in High School but they’re a lot older than the character shows. Will Byers has a minimum of screen time. There’s some interaction between Robin and Nancy where Nancy is jealous of Robin because she thinks Robin dating Steve. There are these small scenes and interaction that prolongs the story in an unnecessary way. It’s just procrastination. Joyce tracking Jim is predictable. We also get that El will be taking in to retrieve her power once more.
What’s appreciated in this season is the story reveals the darker twist of Hawkins lab and the origin story of Eleven. We get to know that her secret friend at the lab in the white coat is the villain that tries to destroy Hawkins for the fourth time and that this is Victor Creel’s son, revealing a darker twist of how he became the villainous Vecna. How and why this even happened is not revealed.
The actors feel on the edge in this season although the energy from the first season is gone alright through. The characters that became a landmark favourite in 2016 when the series debuted, are gone with the wind and a lot of the episodes are about their daily life problem. The surrounding of Hawkins went lost when Joyce suddenly moved to California with Jonathan, Will and Eleven. Remember? Joyce and Hopper adopted her in the last season.
The Wheelers are still ignoring all the fuss their children are creating. There is a community fear spreading about a character, blaming this one on the mysterious killing mostly because of Dungeon and Dragons. Even with this extended runtime, it feels like something is missing. The story has become something completely else with no killings of main characters which doesn’t escalate the risks these characters are taking. They should have killed Hopper and Steve, but they didn’t. Instead, it’s low-key characters that take the blow. A character that no one remembers.
Then we’ve got the special effects; that works well with Vecna but when entering a different side of the “up-side-down”, it looks amateurish and not authentic to what it once was. It has become read and like a demolished place when it was dark and snowing in the first season. Here’s it’s confusing how that shift works, mostly because this season doesn’t feel that connected to the others which is a shameful thing in the end. It’s first in the final episode on a runtime of 98 minutes which makes things interesting. That’s wrong. Let’s just hope that the five weeks wait to the season finale makes it all worth it, but I doubt it.