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Reviews for 'Stranger Things 3' indicate stronger character dynamics, more fun and 'gruesome' moments

In a new teaser for "Stranger Things" season 3, Steve Harrington, played by Joe Keery, works alongside Robin, played by Maya Hawke, at the ice cream shop “Scoops Ahoy."
In a new teaser for "Stranger Things" season 3, Steve Harrington, played by Joe Keery, works alongside Robin, played by Maya Hawke, at the ice cream shop “Scoops Ahoy."
YouTube screenshot

SALT LAKE CITY — Initial reviews for Netflix’s “Stranger Things 3” are out ahead of the season’s July 4 release date — and all signs point to it being a good time.

“Stranger Things 3” follows the series’ ensemble cast of Hawkins, Indiana, residents as they fight against the Mind Flayer and Demogorgons from the Upside Down, as seen in the season’s official trailer, which can be viewed on YouTube.

According to Rotten Tomatoes, the eight-episode season is sitting at a 94 percent approval rating. Overall, critics seem to enjoy the show’s sense of humor, summer setting and a boost in '80s nostalgia. However, others note the season’s highs suffer from minor issues.

According to IO9, most actors are given more to do this time around, and characters like Billy, Sheriff Hopper and Joyce Byers play a more important part in the story than in past seasons. Meanwhile, the core group of children all learn, grow and mature beyond where audiences saw them last.

MTVNews culture director Crystal Bell tweeted that the season is the show’s best, despite being imperfect.

CNET also reports the season’s focus on fun and relationships puts the series’ overarching conspiracy angle on the back burner, while ComicBook.com notes the series’ horror angle is dialed up a bit — resulting in a few “gruesome” moments.

GetFandom Editor Eric Goldman tweeted the overall-strong season features some humor that misses its mark, product placements can be groan-inducing, as well as some unsettling gore.

IO9 reviewer Germain Lussier also says the series’ overall flow feels more like an extended film rather than a movie, which results in stagnant moments breaking up the action.

“Things start slow, end fast, and almost every mystery set up in episode one is not solved until episode eight. As a result, there are some full episodes (and lots of stretches in other episodes) which feel like the whole series is pressing the pause button,” reviewer Germain Lussier notes.

Forbes also reports that while the overall season is good, the new focus on “growing up” results in a loss of entertainment value and charm.