Monday, 25 May 2020

Stargirl - S.T.R.I.P.E.

Another week, another Stargirl review. Film reviews are the primary feature of this site, but given the cinematic nature of the series, and my desire to be more consistent, I am dedicated to writing a review each week for the show's entire season. We'll see if I maintain this commitment.

Like the pilot, this is a setup episode. After being teased near the end of episode one, we see more of Brainwave, a member of The Injustice Society. He wonders if there is a new Starman, and goes to alert a member of the Injustice Society. He is largely ignored, but he doesn't want the group's master plan for Blue Valley to be comprised, so he sets out to find out who has the Cosmic Staff.

Barbara, who is both Courtney's mom and Pat's wife is happy that the two of them are acting civil towards each other. That tends to happen when the two people are keeping a massive secret. After the end of episode one, we see more Pat in his giant robot which looks great. While some moments look cartoony, it is still an impressive feat.

I have to give praise for the character building of our leads. Courtney and Pat are the primary focuses, with even a look into the relationship between Courtney and the Cosmic Staff, and the supporting characters in Barbara's office, the students and teachers at the school, etc. There is a one-shot sequence set in the school's gymnasium that gave us a peek at the different characters, displaying several types of personality based on a few words of dialogue, highlighting Geoff John's top tier writing abilities and the clearly talented ensemble cast. I know that we will go more in-depth with the other characters, especially since we know Courtney and Pat will eventually set up the new Justice Society Of America, but I am hungry to learn more about them. Pacing is all well and good, but this episode moved a bit too slow for me.

The learning curve element continues. Courtney was sloppy about her identity, and she happened to blow up the car of Brainwave, whose son borrowed it. This results in a tense cat and mouse game between the two which leads to the confrontation at the end. Courtney finally suits up and has a badass introduction, but she barely survives her battle with Brainwave. Pat also gets his butt handed to him. The two of them consistently fall: Courtney destroying several sewing machines to make her costume, Pat trying to get in shape, and shoot a rocket fist from his robot, etc. But in the end, the two of them manage to work together and then set out to defeat the rest of the Injustice Society to get justice for Pat's dead friends.

In this episode, I really noted and appriecated the orignal score, composed by Pinar Toprak. I read that unlike another shows, she used a live orchestra, and that helps elevate both the heroic moments and smaller intimate character interactions. The song choices are consistently appropriate. The use of "The Man" by The Killers made me smile.

Luke Wilson continues his streak as the show's MVP. His combination of heart, humor, and drama is balanced perfectly. At this point, he is proving to be more likable than Courtney, and this is a good thing. Courtney being this imperfect kid, rushing headfirst into danger sets her on a more rewardable character journey that I have no doubt will be satisfying, especially with the longing for her biological father element. Brec Bassinger's standout moments was the scene in her room with her mom, thinking that Pat went out to face Brainwave alone, and the stern argument she had with Pat before he left the house.

These moments are great, but it finally made me realize what is still missing from the show. Engaging villains. So far, they are pretty by the book and based on what I read from the Stargirl comics, they may not even be the true villains by the end of rhe season, but at this point, I am just speculating. Each scene that focused on Brainwave or another villain, I hoped it would end sooner so I could watch more of Courtney and Pat. Hell, I even wanted to see more of the girl who is only friends with her parents.

S.T.R.I.P.E. continues to set up the season effectively, yet slowly. Fun action sequences and character interactions continue to build goodwill.

No comments:

Post a Comment