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Stranger Things has been thought as part of a small subset of the pop-culture universe. The movei was nice but nothing special, and the second season provoked some trepidation. Let’s see how can one characterize whether the Emmy-nominated Netflix phenome lives up to the hype when you felt it was overhyped in the first place?
The result is a second season replicating and enhancing the show’s central charms, a group of pubescent nerds and nostalgic sense of time and place, and still feeling less compelling with its teenage contingent. The movie is an impressive follow-up to couch it in the fantasy of the era and to the debut.
Stranger Things 2 movie has a fair amount of work to do given where season one ended, and that’s accomplished pretty seamlessly. A new girl, Max (Sadie Sink), joins our original five boys to trigger their curiosity and confound them, albeit without quite the impact as the telekinetically gifted Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown), whose return has already been teased, and whose plot is easily the best thing about this second flight. In a meanwhile, Nancy (Natalia Dyer) is still dealing with guilt regarding Barb, Will (Noah Schnapp) is experiencing after-effects of his time in the Upside Down, and his mom Joyce (Winona Ryder) is wracked with concern about him.
The Duffer Brothers waste little time in setting the scene as the camera reveals Reagan/Bush yard signs and Terminator marquees. It’s a time of “Ghostbusters” Halloween costumes, and when strange things around the town are seen by some as evidence of a Soviet invasion. It’s easy to luxuriate in the atmosphere the show conjures without fully buying into all of the individual parts. Although, the primary plot is plenty binge-worthy, and the series still requires patience with its less-compelling character beats to get there. The show steadily builds in intensity using its cliffhangers to pull viewers from one episode into the next and exhibits an underlying sweetness.