The standout performer this time is newcomer Maya Hawke (daughter of Ethan Hawke and Uma Thurman)

By Tom Gliatto
July 01, 2019 05:21 PM
Netflix

Watching Netflix’s fun-creepy hit Stranger Things, you sometimes wonder if Eleven (Millie Bobbie Brown) shouldn’t be given a special sidekick, a Twelve or maybe just her own Mini-Me, a Three or Four.

Her special powers are taxed to the max, scene after scene and episode after episode, as she battles That Which Can’t Be Spoiled. Season 3’s adventure — this much can be safely revealed — takes place over the summer of 1985: The kids ride up and down the escalators at the mall (Back to the Future is a hit at the multiplex), scarf down sundaes at Scoops Ahoy, sun themselves by the pool.

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And Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo) has just come back from camp, claiming he has a girlfriend named Suzie. No one is inclined to take him seriously, especially since he says they can communicate only by hand-assembled radio tower. These innocent, innocuous, not-at-all-strange things become crucial plot points as the dark force known as the Mind Flayer returns in an insidious new form.

This all makes for a very satisfying season — better than Stranger Things 2 — with a long, roaring climax that’s both funny and moving. The standout performer this time is newcomer Maya Hawke (daughter of Ethan Hawke and Uma Thurman) as Robin, a no-nonsense dispenser of ice cream who’s also a font of ingenious, evil-fighting suggestions. Hawke has the beguiling, uncanny self-possession of the early Scarlett Johansson.

Stranger Things 3 drops Thursday on Netflix.

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