Stranger Things 4 review: Horror upgrades, not character upgrades

a balanced Dungeons and Dragons Parties are an essential part of creating an enjoyable gaming experience. Yes, you want to make sure you have strong fighters who can provide all sorts of melee or ranged attacks, some magic users, and definitely at least one with healing spells. You’ll need a range of stats for the non-combat part so that conversations with the innkeeper can run smoothly, and potential dangers and traps can be spotted at a glance from around the room.Most importantly, you want a group pleasure Together, a person who might unexpectedly work together to achieve their ultimate quest, no matter what.

this Season one of Stranger Things – It relies more on Dungeons & Dragons than the following two – embodies a good, balanced party. A core group of kids playfully play with each other (their official in-game character sheet certainly highlights a well-calibrated party). No matter how you slice up the characters, there are some great chemistry and great character moments.but every successive season Stranger Things Moved away from the D&D side — and away from that ideal party.

When the Duffer brothers brought back Dungeons & Dragons Stranger Things 4, group dynamics are weaker than ever. Even when the horror is in full swing, the charisma of the characters is completely sucked away and replaced by connections that don’t work well together but are forced to work together somehow.

[Ed. note: This review contains some slight spoilers for the first half of the fourth season of Stranger Things.]

Joseph Quinn as Eddie Munson in Stranger Things.

Image: Netflix

Season 4 Stranger Things From our usually globally divided party, their relationship is full at best. Joyce Byers (Winona Ryder) moves to California with her sons Will (Noah Schnapp) and Jonathan (Charlie Heaton), eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) with them.Hopper (Port David) is trapped in a russian prisonThe Hawkins kids keep the fort at home, but different interests keep the usual core group of friends apart from each other. Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo) and Mike (Finn Wolfhard) remain equally committed to D&D, but Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin) joins the basketball team in addition to his tabletop interests.

Meanwhile, Max (Sadie Sink) is still dealing with her stepbrother’s death and isolating herself from friends, moodily listening to Kate Bush’s Walkman. The Hawkins older kids are hard at work, with Steve (Joe Keeley) and Robin (Maya Hawke) working together again, now at the local video store, while Nancy (Natalia) Dale) is no longer editor of the #girlboss school newspaper. To add some fun, there are two new characters: Stoner Argyle (Eduardo Franco), who is Jonathan’s new (maybe the first?) BFF, and Metal Head Eddie (Joseph Quinn) , the head of the High School Hellfire Club (aka Dungeons & Dragons Club).

Everything seemed quiet on Monster Front until a teenager was discovered brutally murdered. While the cops are quick to point fingers, our brave gang of heroes (rightly) suspect things may be stirring upside down. Indeed, a monster somehow awakens and haunts their victims by giving them horrific hallucinations and robbing them of their worst fears and memories.this Dungeons and Dragons kids call it Vecna, a tribute to one of the most fearsome villains in the game.If last season Melted chunks of meat don’t get youthen maybe this season’s horrific death will spark your fantasies.

creepy vecna upside down what would he do

Image: Netflix

every season Stranger Things Undoubtedly added cruelty makes the characters face even more dire threats. But the show doesn’t seem to elevate the personal connection to the same degree. After the marvels of season one, each successive season struggled a bit, though some characters ended up sparking unexpected connections.Steve takes over as team nanny in season 2For example, or he is in the mall with Robin, Dustin and Erica in season 3, are two bright spots in the past. But Steve’s infectiousness seems to be the exception, not the norm, this time. While his friendship with Robin was a little light in a dark tunnel, it wasn’t enough to pull everyone else out of the trough.

In a season built on physical distancing, these groups seem to be spliced ​​together at random because of the need to keep people in the same place at the same time.characters don’t have to picture Create a powerful story with each other. But they should at least have some sort of screen chemistry. Instead, each feels they get along reluctantly and are obligated to stick together, despite their stats making them probably the least ideal combination of characters to share a grand mission.

There’s a charm to returning to these familiar characters. After all, we’ve seen them grow up, and even if nothing beats the novelty of season one, it’s fun to see them again and see how they end up — although there’s no denying that when they started out with us Knowing everything seems counterintuitive to act in a way. Max, who was fucked so badly by his stepbrother, now thinks he’s really cool. Lucas is now a basketball player, which is awesome! But Mike and Dustin were mean to him, even asking him to skip the big championship so he could play Dungeons & Dragons with them. Yes, friendships develop as people grow up, but these kids have gone through some terrible things together. You want them to be a little more empathetic.

The Hawkins Gang in Stranger Things season 4 look at the camera in the haunted house

Photo: Netflix

Duffers seems to have taken the “show, don’t tell” principle to the extreme. Eleven is having a rough time at the new school and it’s not enough without her abilities; we have to see multiple scenes where she is viciously bullied by popular kids and tries (and fails) to use her psychic powers against them. Not only do we see Jonathan and Nancy having long-distance relationship issues, we also have to listen to multiple painful and awkward conversations about how things didn’t go well, even though they still love each other deeply, really, deep down. Even though each episode runs for more than an hour, the episodes feel crowded, but it’s more or less the same thing over and over.

At least, horror is fun, Build some pretty scary sequences and vicious killings.the mechanics of new monster It’s delightfully creepy as it throws its victims into nightmarish hallucinations, but it also suffers from very clichéd dialogue. That’s the downside of having a humanoid monster – can it say terrible things that haven’t been said a million times before? New characters add a touch of flavor. Argyle, in particular, gives Jonathan some much-needed levity, in addition to his family obligations and strained romantic relationship. Eddie is also a paradoxical mess, a bad boy who really just puts a bunch of misfits under his wing, even though he’s still a jerk to them. But they are only two small working parts that unfortunately cannot save the rest of their respective groups.

This season’s team of adventurers is randomly grouped in a theoretically understandable way, but once they actually come together, it’s pretty unremarkable. For every fun and exciting element introduced, there’s a whole lot of mushy grey mud to wade through. There are some glimmers of hope in the clutter – some good dice rolls can help a party with terrible stats to at least creak. But overall, poor party calibration makes those moments rare. A promising film-length episode and run time “almost double that of Season 3” is a major liability. They’ll likely be able to defeat the monsters at least in Part 2, but will they tell an interesting and enjoyable story? The jury is still out on this.

first part Stranger Things Season 4 premiered on Netflix on May 27 with seven episodes.

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