The Dragon Prince Season Two Review: Improved Animation and Story Telling.

4 stars
Although I did enjoy the first season of Netflix’s The Dragon Prince, I did find it to be a frustrating experience.
Created by Aaron Ehasz and Justin Richmond, there was a lot to love about season one but its animation and story telling left much to be desired.
Thankfully, I think season two improves and even fixes many of the series’ prior failings.
The biggest issue of season one, for me and a lot of other people, was the animation, with the frame rate being so abysmal that it took me out of many scenes.
This season, however, the animation has been improved greatly.
There are still a few instances of odd animation but it very rarely took me out of the moment and looks great most of the time.

Animation
The animation for the second season of The Dragon Prince is greatly improved, feeling more fluid this time.

Another element of the show that it improved on is the story.
While there was a lot to love about the story telling in the first season, I found some elements were introduced too abruptly and some story points felt a little odd.
Not for this season though because it all flows naturally.
Admittedly, the first few episodes are a bit of a slow burn but once the season hits episode five the story becomes highly engaging, with fantastic scenes and character moments.
Episode five, “Breaking the Seal,” and episode six, “Heart of a Titan”, are probably the best of the season, allowing me to care for characters I had not previously like Harrow (Luc Roderique) and his wife Sarai (Kazumi Evans).
Speaking of the characters, almost all of them have fantastic arcs.
Callum (Jack DeSena) has one of the best, with him struggling to regain his magic, the one thing that made him feel like he had purpose, which made me sympathize a lot with him.
Then there is Claudia (Racquel Belmont), who goes down a very dark path in the final episode, which has me excited about what will happen with her next season.
We even get some new characters who are just as great as the old ones.
There is the young leader Queen Aanya (Zelda Ehasz), who reminds me a lot of Lyanna Mormont from Game of Thrones, and a funny blind pirate named Villads (Peter Kelamis).
My favourite new character of the season is, without a doubt, the intimidating new villain Aaravos.
He is voiced by Erik Dellums, the voice of Koh in Avatar: The Last Airbender, which makes him even more threatening.
Aaravos is already one of the most interesting characters in The Dragon Prince and I found his storyline with Veren (Jason Simpson) to be the best of the season.

Aaravos
Aaravos looks set to be very important to the series because he is also the one who narrated the beginning of season one. This is good because he is a very interesting character.

What is not the best storyline of the season, however, is definitely Soren’s (Jesse Inocalla).
It is clear the writers were trying to make us sympathize with his character this season but, given his actions, I found it extremely hard to.
Although, they did redeem him somewhat by the end of the season.
Another small negative I have is the way the season ends.
The final episode, “Breathe”, ends pretty suddenly, making it a jarring experience.
It is not a huge issue but I think they should have ended the season on a different scene.
Overall, the season season of The Dragon Prince is a big improvement on the first, animation and story wise.
I can now confidently say that I am invested in this story.

 

The Umbrella Academy Review: Family Drama First, Superhero Series Second.

4 stars
Superheroes are everywhere these days.
There have been so many TV shows and movies about them that every piece of media that has them now has to incorporate something new to be successful.
Well, Netflix’s The Umbrella Academy does this in spades by being a family drama first and a superhero series second.
Based off the graphic novel series by Gerad Way, and adapted by Steve Blackman, The Umbrella Academy follows a dysfunctional family of superheroes who reunite after the death of their terrible adopted father (Colm Feore).
After the reappearance of their time traveling brother Five (Aidan Gallagher), they learn that the world will end in eight days and set out to stop it.

five.png
Gallagher does a fantastic job as Five, a fifty-eight year old trapped in a young teen’s body.

However, despite the coming apocalypse, the series focuses more on the relationships between its characters and it is all the better for it.
The Umbrella Academy is at its best when it pairs different characters together to play off one another.
This is helped by how great these characters are and how good of a job the actors portraying them do.
I cared for every member of the academy, from the sympathetic Vanya (Ellen Page), to the tragic Luther (Tom Hopper), to the regretful Allison (Emmy Raver-Lampman), to the stubborn Diego (David Castaneda), to the drug addict Klaus (Robert Sheenan).
Even the villains are likeable, with me actually cheering for the time traveling assassin Hazel (Cameron Britton) by the end.
The way the story revolves around these characters is fantastic, especially with the ending to episode eight, “I Heard A Rumor”, which had me screaming in shock at what happened.
The CGI is also amazing, with monkey butler Pogo (Adam Godley) looking like he came directly from the recent Planet of the Apes trilogy.

Pogo.jpg
The CGI on Pogo is stunning, given the budget the series probably had.

Then there is the music, which is well chosen, even incorporating some from Gerad Way himself into the mix.
But, while I did love all of this, The Umbrella Academy is not without its faults.
While the setup for the story is very interesting, with 43 women giving birth simultaneously, despite not being pregnant, there are numerous questions surrounding this that are never addressed.
For example, what happened to the other children who were not adopted?
Did they get powers too?
Even though these questions are not essential to the overall story of the season, it felt like some potentially interesting lore was being thrown away by it was not being addressed.
Another problem I have is with the final episode of the season, “The White Violin”, which just feels too short.
There are so many moments in this episode that are supposed to be powerful ones but they happen so quickly that there is no time to take it in.
That said, the ending cliffhanger is great.
In the end though, The Umbrella Academy season one is a great start to this series.
The character drama elements to the show are fantastic and bolstered by strong performances from all of the cast.
I hope it gets a second season because I will certainly be watching.

Mindhunter: Realistically Terrifying.

4 and a half stars.png
Based on the book Mindhunter: Inside the FBI’s Elite Serial Crime Unit, the Netflix show Mindhunter presents a mostly fictionalized version of events in this book.
Created by Joe Penhall, The series follows special agents Holden Ford (Jonathon Groff) and Bill Tench (Holt McCallany) as they travel the country to interview captured serial killers and figure out what makes them tick.
Along the way, they are joined by psychology professor Wendy Carr (Anna Torv), and the three of them strive to help the FBI adapt to a terrifying kind of killer that has yet to be officially recognized.

the gang
The series follows Ford, Carr and Tench in their efforts to make the FBI more aware of serial killers. A term they actually coin in the show.

Mindhunter is very different from other crime TV series.
Most shows of this genre take an extremely fictionalized angle but not Mindhunter. 
Sure, a lot of the characters are not real people, but many of the serial killers interviewed are.
The series also takes a realistic approach to the murders from the sole perspective of law enforcement.
Apart from the opening, we never see anyone die.
All the show gives us is pictures of the aftermath and the killers’ own words on what happened.
You would think this would make it hard to feel scared about some of these murders but this if far from the case.
The photos are often brutal and disturbing, and the way these killers talk about the murders they have committed is the most frightening feature of the show.
One of the main serial killers the shows focuses on is the real life Ed Kemper, the Co-ed Killer, who murdered ten people.
Kemper is portrayed by Cameron Britton, in a terrifyingly brilliant performance.
Watching his lifeless eyes while he talks about murder as if it is the most natural thing in the world always sent chills down my spine.

creepy killer
Britton is terrifying as real life serial killer Ed Kemper. He was nominated for an Emmy for his performance, which he absolutely deserved.

The other killers are just as creepy and, whenever Ford and Tench take on an active case, the details and progression of the case often lead to more disturbing scenes.
The impact these scenes have on the characters is shown fantastically because we see how it affects both Ford and Tench’s relationships with their loved ones.
Mindhunter also tackles the time it is set in, of the 1970s, incredibly well.
Subjects like the mistrust of the government, and the slowly changing tactics used to catch killers by the FBI, are handled realistically, just like everything else.
In fact, if I had to describe Mindhunter in one word that is what it would be: realistic.
There are no death matches between the FBI agent and the serial killer, there are no explosions, and there is no happy resolution.
Mindhunter feels like real life in all of its terrifying ways and that is what makes it so great.
I cannot wait to see season two, whenever it comes out.

Bird Box: Strong Performances Cannot Save This Film.

two-and-a-half-stars
When watching Netflix’s Bird Box it is hard not to think of M. Night Shyamalan’s The Happening.
Both films feature a mysterious event that causes people to kill themselves, leading a group of people to band together in a fight for survival.
Thankfully, however, Bird Box, directed by Susanne Bier, is not laughably terrible like The Happening.
That said, is Bird Box a good film?
Sadly, no.
This is not to say everything about the film is bad.
The highlight of Bird Box, for me, is its strong performances by Sandra Bullock, John Malkovich, Trevante Rhodes and others.

Sandra Bullock.jpg
The acting, specifically that of Sandra Bullock, is one of the few things that create any investment in the film.

There are also numerous scenes in the film that deliver pure enjoyment on an intensity level.
The scene where the event first starts happening and chaos ensues is genuinely disturbing and opens up a lot of intrigue about what is going on.
It is by far the best scene of the movie.
Along with this, there are other pretty intense scenes, like an action sequence with Rhode’s character, Tom, and a final desperate attempt to escape, both at the back half of the film.
These scenes only work though because of the performances though, which, sadly, cannot save Bird Box from its own shortcomings.
Among these shortcomings are the characters themselves, who, with the exception of Bullock’s character Malorie, would all be very one dimensional without the solid acting.
Then there is the lack of answers surrounding what is going on.
Although the rules on how to survive the creatures causing this event are clearly set up, it is never explained what these creatures are.
It is like they had a cool premise but could not think of a good way to explain said premise.
Although, given how Shyamalan laughably tried to explain that The Happening’s particular suicide event was caused by plants, it is probably good that Bird Box avoids giving answers.
However, along with the lack of answers there are also serious leaps in logic in the film.
This is especially noticeable in the rapids scene where there were so many things that do not make sense that it pulled me out of the film.

Rapids.jpg
There are so many things about the rapids scene that do not make any sense upon reflection.

Bird Box even tries to implement some comedy, although it fails miserably, with a Trump joke that had me rolling my eyes.
Finally, there is the way the film is structured, which makes it extremely obvious which characters will die, making it difficult to care.
All of this contributed to making Bird Box an intriguing but ultimately lackluster film for me.
It has good moments but keeps you blindfolded when looking for answers.

The Dragon Prince Season One: Enjoyable but also Frustrating.

3 and a half stars
Watching The Dragon Prince was a frustrating experience for me.
I find it disappointing whenever I watch a show that has the potential to be something great but there are just too many things holding it back from achieving that greatness.
This was how I felt when watching The Dragon Prince.
Created by Aaron Ehaz, one of the head writers of Avatar: The Last Airbender, and Justin Richmond, the series is set in a fantasy world where elves and humans are at war, after humans were kicked out of elven lands for committing dark magic.
Years later, the humans have killed the Dragon King and supposedly the Dragon Prince, which results in moonshadow elf assassins being sent to kill king of the humans King Harrow (voiced by Luc Roderique) and his son Prince Ezran (Sasha Rojen).
However, one of these elves, Rayla (Paula Burrows), Ezran and his step-brother Callum (Jack De Sena) discover the Dragon Prince is still alive in its egg so set out on a quest to return it and stop the war.
I will get my positives out of the way first.
The strongest parts of The Dragon Prince were by far the world it sets up and its characters.
During the first two episodes the story does seem like the fantasy world it is set in is fairly generic, however, this quickly changes after these episodes.
From episode three onwards, the show develops a complex and interesting world of magic that I really appreciated.

Moonshadow Elf
In episode three we get our first look at what the moonshadow elves are capable of and its nothing short of amazing.

As I said, the characters were another standout.
The three leads are all very likeable, with my favourite of the bunch being Rayla who grew on me rather quickly.
Callum and Ezran are also very likeable and Ezran’s pet glow toad Bait is a fun character as well.
Even better, the side characters manage to stand out too.
My favourites of these side characters were definitley Claudia (Racquel Belmonte) and Amaya.
Claudia, although technically being a villain, was incredibly likeable and funny, and Amaya is a tough but easy to like character who is actually deaf.
The writers are clearly great at giving us empowered disabled characters.
First there was Toph in Avatar, now there is Amaya in The Dragon Prince.

Amaya
Amaya is an example of how to do diversity right.

Another thing I loved about The Dragon Prince was how often it brought up more adult themes for an animated show aimed at a younger audience.
It really challenges its viewers and sets up interesting questions.
However, while this is all great, as I stated, there were numerous things that held this series back for me.
I will start with the problem everyone is talking about and that is the animation.
The animation style suits this show perfectly, in my opinion, but the problem is they clearly did not have the budget for it.
The frame rate in some of these scenes are abysmal, especially the moments where not much action is happening.
For the most part the action scenes were all animated well but, when it came to character interaction, I got pulled out of the moment so many times because of how choppy it all looked.
The first two episodes are especially awful when it comes to their animation, but, fortunately, the animation does get better as the show goes on and there is the rare case of a truly magnificent shot.
Despite The Dragon Prince’s animation problems, it does look like the creators want to fix this issue in future seasons, based off interviews, which is good.
But, I also had problems with the story as well.
The story could get pretty predictable with what was going to happen at times.
For example, there is a very obvious twist that has not been revealed yet but I am 99% sure I have already guessed.

King Harrow
I do not want to potentially spoil anyone about this obvious twist so I will put what I am certain it is at the bottom of the review.

Then there is the problem with the structure of certain narratives.
One episode consists of Callum wondering if he can trust Raylah but this should have been addressed much earlier because we had already seen them work together quite well, making the conflict pointless.
Finally, there were certain plot points in the final episode that rubbed me the wrong way.
One major plot is resolved in a deus ex machina that felt kind of lazy since it was never set-up and a character is revealed to have a certain ability that comes literally out of nowhere.
This all led to The Dragon Prince being a very enjoyable but highly frustrating first season for me.
There were so many amazing things about the show but there were also numerous problems with it.
I will say though that I am looking forward to the next season because I really like the characters and story.
Here’s to hoping they can fix the issues with the show when it gets its second season.

 

 

 

WARNING! Potential Spoilers: I think the obvious twist that was set-up is that King Harrow got turned into his bird. I may be wrong about this but, if I am not, I wish they had revealed it in the first season because it was very easy to guess.

BoJack Horseman Season One Presents an Unlikable yet Surprisingly Sympathetic Main Character.

4 stars
I have heard a lot of good things about BoJack Horseman over the years in terms of its emotional power.
The main thing I hear people talking about when they reference this show is not its comedy or animation but its heart and, after watching season one, I can definitely see why.
Created by Raphael Bob-Waksberg, BoJack Horseman is set in a world where animals are just as evolved as humans and thus live side by side with them.
The titular protagonist of the series is BoJack Horseman (voiced by Will Arnett), a has-been actor who, after his popular sitcom Horsin’ Around, quickly descended into a spiral of narcissism, self hatred, and loneliness.
BoJack has been hoping for his big break into Hollywood again so is trying to write a book about himself but, when he proves to lazy to do so, the company publishing his book hires Diane (voiced by Alison Brie) to be his ghostwriter.
What follows is both a funny and very emotional story about the effects stardom can have on a person… or horse in this case.

Bojack drunk.jpg
Season one details the effects stardom has had on BoJack in a very interesting way.

What I especially liked about Bojack Horseman was how the main character himself was portrayed.
BoJack is an unlikable character because of his selfish and sometimes cruel actions but the thing is you are not supposed to like him.
So many shows like Family Guy present unlikable characters and expect you to root for them after their horrible actions.
BoJack Horseman, however, does not do this.
The audience is supposed to dislike BoJack and this allowed the writers to branch off from this unlikable nature to show BoJack’s vices is affecting.
This allowed BoJack to, once again not be likeable, but sympathetic, even after all he did throughout that first season.
The final two episodes of the season  highlighted this very well, with the season finale leaving me feeling immensely reflective.
These episodes are by far the best of the season.

Bojack Horseman final episodes 1
The endings to the last episodes of the season “Downer Ending” and “Later” really got to me on an emotional level.

The series also does a great job of highlighting real world issues and topics that may not be as relevant anymore but were big problems in the old days of Hollywood.
The other characters, aside from BoJack, are handled just as well as him and serve to highlight the show’s themes and BoJack’s arc as well.
Another thing I liked about the show was its humor.
While  I did find a few of the jokes to be hit or miss, whenever the show made a joke about the animals that live in this world as people it was often comedic gold.
The one big problem I have with the show is its first few episodes because this is before we are given insight into BoJack as a character so all we see of him is his selfish and cruel nature, which does not offer much investment.
Since so much of this show revolves around BoJack’s arc this makes these first few episodes kind of a drag to sit through but, once it starts getting into why BoJack is the way he is, the show gets a lot better.
Overall, the first season of BoJack Horseman was a great start that has me intrigued about the other seasons.
It turned an unlikable main character sympathetic and I love that because it is not an easy thing to do, but this show achieved it.

Avatar: The Last Airbender getting live-action Netflix adaptation. Yip-yip-YIPEE!

Around 10 months ago, I created a post titled “11 ways to make a good Avatar: The Last Airbender adaptation.”
In that post I detailed everything I felt 2010’s The Last Airbender did wrong, in comparison with the fantastic Nickelodeon cartoon it was based on, Avatar: The Last Airbender, and how to fix these problems in a new adaptation.
I stated my hope that one day the series would get another live-action adaptation but found it to be highly unlikely, based on the tremendous disaster that was M. Night Shyamalan’s adaptation.
However, today I learned, much to my shock and excitement, that I was 100% wrong in that statement.
This is because it has been revealed that Netflix will be adapting Avatar: The Last Airbender in live action with the original show’s creators, Michael DiMartino and Brian Konietzko, at the helm as executive producers.
When I heard this I was literally cheering because not only does it appear that Avatar: The Last Airbender may finally get the treatment it deserves in live-action, but it also appears that DiMartino and Konietzko are aiming to fix the numerous problems we all had with The Last Airbender. 
Many of the things I mentioned that had to be fixed in my “11 ways to make a good Avatar: The Last Airbender adaptation” post seem to be top priorities for the creators as well.
Three of the big points I raised in that post about what a new adaptation would need in order to be good were that it had to be a series and not a movie, had to be helmed by people who respect the original series and the adaptation had to stay true to the character’s races and cultures.
Well, not only is the adaption going to be a series on Netflix that is being made by the original creators who obviously respect the show, but it also looks like they will fix the whitewashing seen in Shyamalan’s adaptation.
The pair addressed this head on stating, “we can’t wait to realize Aang’s world as cinematically as we always imagined it to be, and with a culturally appropriate, non-whitewashed cast. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime chance to build upon everyone’s great work on the original animated series and go even deeper into the characters, story, action, and world-building.”
This quote from the pair has very positive implications towards where this new adaption is heading.
Not only will it aim to represent the characters accurately but it also aims to build upon the show, hopefully in ways that do not contradict the original in a negative way.
It has also been revealed that the show will begin production in 2019 and when it will actually air on Netflix is anyone’s guess.
While some people are skeptical about this, I for one remain hopeful and very optimistic towards its quality.
That is not to say that I wholeheartedly believe this show will be good because its release date is very far off and a lot could go wrong between now and then.
But it will be a series, the right people are behind the project and they are aiming to fix the mistakes of the past.
I cannot wait to see the adventures of Aang, Katara, Sokka, Toph, Zuko, Iroh and all the others, in live-action.

Disenchantment, Season One review: meh.

3 stars

Matt Groening has returned with his latest animated sitcom Disenchantment, which parodies various fantasy movies and shows.
Set in the magical world of Dreamland, the series follows the adventures of Princess Tiabeanie, otherwise known as Bean (Abbi Jacobson), and her friends, Elfo the, well… elf (Nat Faxon), and Luci the demon (Eric Andre).
Coming in to Disenchantment I was expecting it to feel a lot like Futurama but in a fantasy setting instead of a sci-fi one and that is certainly what I got.
However, this does not mean the show was great or anything.
It has been a couple of days since I finished watching Disenchantment and I honestly do not think I will remember any specifics about it in a week or so.
That does not mean I am saying the show is bad because I do remember chuckling at about half of the jokes.
What I am saying, however, is that Disenchantment is an average show that is pretty forgettable, for the most part.
The characters are nothing special, with Bean being a stereotypical drunk and Luci having almost no character other than being a complete jerk.
Elfo is probably the only one of the trio that I found myself liking but even he had his annoying moments.

disenchantment trio
Although I did enjoy this trio’s antics, Elfo was the only one among them I actually liked.

The best character of the show would have to Bean’s father King Zog (John DiMaggio) who, although not a good person, did have plenty of funny moments.
Speaking of which, some of the comedy really did work in Disenchantment,
my favourite of which being a meta joke that stated how the magic of the show worked was not very clear.
However, while I did get a few chuckles out of it the humor never had me roaring with laughter or anything like that.
The story structure is also pretty clumsy, with a few plot points sticking out like a sour thumb, the worst of which would have to be in the final episode for me.
In the ninth episode there was actually a good twist but they followed this up in the final, tenth episode with one of the most obvious twists I have ever seen.
I was literally screaming at the screen for the show to get on with it and reveal the twist because I had called what it was as soon as it had been set up.

episode ten Bean.jpg
The final episode’s big twist is incredibly obvious and dragged down the episode with how drawn out it is until the reveal.

But by far the worst aspect of Disenchantment for me, had to be with its animation and sound design.
The sound design is particularly abysmal with sounds like footsteps, doors slamming and fighting being completely left out sometimes, drawing me out of the moment.
As for the animation, it was not bad but it did often feel like there was something off about it and there were plenty of clunky moments, one of which produced the most off-putting moment of the show, for me.
This came in the first episode when Elfo is eating dinner with a group of people he met.
The animation of Elfo eating is so clunky and terrible that I had to rewatch it three times to make sure I was seeing it correctly.
I know it may seem nit-picky to criticize the animation of a character eating food but just watch the scene and you will know what I mean.
It must seem like I am bagging on Disenchantment a lot, but, once again, I will state that it is not a bad show.
It does have some funny moments, one decent twist and a few likeable characters that save it.
However, I probably will have forgotten about this show in a while.
Give it a watch but do not expect anything special.

 

Bright: a fun yet flawed film.

3 stars
Netflix’s most expensive film yet, Bright has one of the most unique plots I have seen in a while.
It is set in a world where fantasy creatures like Orcs and Elves co-exist with humans but live in different social classes.
The Elves are the upper class, the human the middle and Orc the lower.
The film centers around human LAPD officer Daryl Ward (Will Smith) and his partner Nick Jakoby (Joel Edgerton), the first Orc police officer, who discover a magic wand, which they must protect from evil forces.
Since this movie is directed by David Ayer, who directed Suicide Squad and the movie seemed to have a similar feel by looking at the trailers, I expected the movie to be nothing more than fun garbage.
And it was… only without the garbage.
The best thing about Bright is its setting, world building and the ideas it sets up.
Just watching the movie lay out of the world and show how it worked was very interesting to watch and this was helped by the very good chemistry between Smith and Edgerton.
Will Smith in this movie is, well, Will Smith.
I honestly have not been able to differentiate between Smith and his characters for many of his films but Smith’s charisma makes up for it.
Then there’s Edgerton, who is the standout character of this film.
He is by far the most relatable and I could not help but root for him.

joel edgerton
Joel Edgerton’s Jakoby is the best character in the movie.

Also the make up effects to have Edgerton look like an Orc was very well done.
Seeing these two characters grow, especially Edgerton’s, throughout the film was great to watch.
The action is also pretty good and it will keep you entertained.
There was a really good slow motion sequence that was one of my favourite moments.
However, this is where my positives with the film end.
While I did love the world building and the ideas that were set up, these ideas feel half baked.
It always felt like they were going somewhere interesting with the movie’s ideas, only for the action and jokes to take over.
Then there are the characters who, aside from Ward and Jakoby, are incredibly one dimensional.
I cannot event remember the name of the elf character who Ward and Jakoby bring with them because she was so forgettable.
Then there is the villain who is right up there with Steppenwolf from Justice League in levels of a weak villain.
The only two other characters who were remotely interesting were a disabled gangster and the government agent elf sent to retrieve the wand but these two do not get enough screen time to flourish.

elf fbi
Edgar Ramirez as Kandomere, one of the few interesting characters in the film.

Also the climax of the movie is incredibly predictable.
I knew it was coming a full half hour before it happened.
So overall, this movie is a mixed bag.
Smith and Edgerton are great, the action is enjoyable and the world building is fun to see play out.
But, on the other hand, the rest of the characters are completely forgettable, the idea and themes are half baked and do not come across well and the climax is predictable.
If they do make a sequel, which I find unlikely now since the movie is being slammed by critics, I hope they follow through on the ideas set up here a lot better.
Still, the movie is fun and I would encourage you to watch it.
Just do not expect anything special and you will have fun.

Back to the 80’s for Stranger Things season two

stranger things season 2
4 and a half stars
Stranger Things is back and kicking in season two of the hit Netflix series.
I was pretty late getting on the Stranger Things band wagon as I only watched the first season six months ago but when I did I was instantly hooked.
So, naturally, I was excited to see what season two would have to offer and, I have got to say, I was impressed. (WARNING!!! Minor spoilers ahead.)
Season two not only continues the story from Season one but expands on it, introducing new characters and interesting plot points that keeps the story fresh and thrilling.
The story telling here is just excellent, with so many twists and turns that I could not stop watching.
I binged watched the entirety of season two in just two days and I am so thankful this is a Netflix series because, if it aired weekly, then I would not be able to handle it.
Season two starts a year after Will was rescued from the Upside Down and a lot has changed since then.
Mike is still mourning Eleven’s disappearance, There is a new girl in town named Max, Joyce now has a boyfriend Bob and Will is experiencing PTSD from his time in the Upside Down… well, as we all know, it is not PTSD but it suits the story for everyone to think it is.
The season starts off great, introducing us to a bunch of new characters like Bob, Max and her step-brother Billy.
These characters are all very interesting and I cannot wait to see what they do with them in the future, Max especially because she is a very likable character and a welcome addition to the show.
max
Speaking of characters, I liked how a lot of the old characters from the first season were expanded upon like Dustin, Lucas and Steve.
Steve was especially good this season.
In the previous season I thought he would turn out to be a stereotypical, one dimensional bully but he actually surprised me by growing as a character and redeemeing himself.
The surprises with Steve continue this season, as he continues to grow into a likable, yet flawed character.
Another thing I really liked about this season was we got things that I wanted to see in season one, the main one being #justiceforBarb.
No one, except Nancy, caring about Barb’s disappearance was one of the things I disliked about the first season so seeing that actually addressed was great.
I felt like Nancy’s reaction to Barb’s death last season was poorly done so it was really good to see this season address her guilt over it.
One thing this season definitely did better than its predecessor was present a feeling of danger throughout.
Although I loved the first season of Stranger Things, it was pretty obvious which characters would live and which ones would die (with a few exceptions, like Steve for example).
Not this season however.
Every time a character is in danger you feel like this might be the last time you see them and it has you on the edge of your seat with panic every time, unlike the previous season.
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But just like last season, 80’s throwbacks abound!
There are so many callbacks to the 80’s and movies of the time.
I saw references to Alien, E.T and even one incredibly hilarious Indiana Jones homage.
This season is filled with twist after twist, all of which are thrilling.
The opening sequence of the first episode had my jaw on the floor.
Almost every episode ends on a cliffhanger that has you begging for more and makes this the perfect show to binge watch.
However, this season is not perfect.
I really do have some issues with it.
My biggest one being Max.
Now, as I said, I really liked her character but my problem lies with how the other characters react to her, more specifically Mike.
Mike does not like Max and it is for the stupidest reason.
He is a complete jerk to her, which makes him really unlikable.
Since Mike is supposed to be one of the main characters of the show, the fact that I did not like him this season is a really bad thing.
It does not help that this minor plot point is never resolved.
We never get a scene of Mike apologizing to Max about how he treated her, it is acted like it never happened.
This season also displays, once again, how incompetent the government forces are.
In season one, I found it highly unrealistic how Hopper was able to break into a top secret laboratory, guarded by trained soldiers, with relative ease and this season once again portrays how incompetent these people are.
While interrogating Nancy about keeping quiet about Barb’s death the scientists are stupid enough not to check for a recording device.
As a result, I found these government forces to be unrealistically incompetent but this is only a minor problem.
The final problem I had with this season was episode seven.
This episode felt very different in tone and just felt out of place in comparison to the rest of the season.
What is worse is the episode prior to this ended on a massive cliffhanger and this episode does not address the it, that is saved for the next episode.
Thank god this is a Netflix series because if the episodes had been released weekly I would not have been able to wait to see how the cliffhanger played out.
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Other than those three problems however, I loved this season and I cannot wait for season three.
The story telling was brilliant, the characters were lovable and fun to watch, (both the old and the new) and the various twists and turns kept you engaged.
If you have not watched Stranger Things season 2 or any episodes of Stranger Things I would highly suggest you you go and watch it,
You will love it just like I did.