Stranger Things season two or as it is usually called Stranger Things 2 is a lot better than I remember it. The story feels much smoother than what I remembered it being. This was my third time seeing this season. While it does drag in a few spots it didn’t feel nearly as egregious as I felt with previous watches. It feels more like its own thing than the previous season, drawing less overtly from Stephen King.
I want to mention the story and characters in this season. A lot of the issues that come up in the story boils down to lack of proper communication between the characters. The new characters that were added for this season fun the gamut. The biggest new characters are Max, Billy, and Bob. The other new character that factors into the story in a major way is the new director of Hawkins’ Labs Dr. Owens. Murray Bauman and Kali are the minor characters that have the biggest effect on the story. One of my biggest issues with the story is Bob’s death is placed in the middle of an episode. The viewer isn’t able to properly mourn, and it feels somewhat hollow. The positioning of Billy as the main human antagonist is interesting especially since he interacts with all of the characters that aren’t adults. The story that Nancy has this season is basically her trying to make herself feel better about her actions in the first part of the first season. I might be a little harsh on her, but her arcs in both seasons deal with he being selfish then trying to deal with her own actions.
Dacre Montgomery plays Billy with an ease and intensity that you can be scared of him easily. You also get hints of his background in his interactions with the father and how that affects his interactions with everyone else. Sean Astin is so lovable as Bob. That causes his death to be a gut punch, even if it was placed in a weird spot. David Harbour, Millie Bobby Brown, and Noah Schnapp all get to do more in this season. Schnapp especially gets to do so much more this season than what he did the previous one. The bond that forms between Joe Keery and Gaten Matarazzo is the biggest surprise from the season.
One of my biggest issues with this season is the overuse of the Upside Down as a digital set. That made the actors stand out like a sore thumb when there. The other uses of CG in the season look great but the Upside Down looks so bad in comparison. The Mindflayer looks amazing even while surrounded by the rest of the CG. The limited practical effects look amazing as they always do. The music is still by Michael Stein and Kyle Dixon. The music fits the mood of the episodes so incredibly well.
Stranger Things 2 is a somewhat bloated follow up to a surprise megahit that is a solid follow up. I’ll be finishing up my rewatch/refresh in time to watch the new season. It was announced that part one of the next season will be seven episodes while part two will only be two episodes. The latter two episodes are supposed to be feature length. That’s an interesting turn of events especially with the assumption that they would be evenly split. I give Stranger Things 2 8 d20s out of 10.