After spending five seasons mastering his powers, managing the gem and the human aspects of his life, and cleaning up after his mother’s mistakes, he and the other crystal gems deserve a break. And it seems that they have one: after the weather events of “Change Your Mind”, a new period of relaxation extends into the universe with the gradual dissolution of the Gem Empire. Steven finally gets along with his second adoptive Diamonds family, despite his obsessive attachment, but is eager to continue living with his friends and family on Earth.
Plus, he’s two years older and has a neck!
Steven Universe: The film starts with Steven more confident and happy than we have seen. But as usual in Rebecca Sugar’s imaginary world, the high does not last: a new threat to the Earth triggers a microcosmic event that unearths all of Steven’s previous conflicts, forcing him to face all his metaphorical demons. faces throughout his life. In the true style of Steven Universe, the film is an entertainment show, dazzling songs, and heart-rending songs sung by the pleasantly familiar cast of the series. Although Steven Universe: The Movie does not mark the end of the series, it’s a moving limit for the characters we’ve loved in the past six years.
The beginning of the film reaches some of the highest peaks ever seen: a first sequence, “Happily Ever After”, retraces the past escapades of Crystal Gems, recapitulating the series in a way a little more nostalgic than slipping. for the viewers of the series for a long time. There are also obvious changes: everyone has new clothes and new music tracks related to the characters in the family, but this is an indisputable homecoming.
Life collapses with the arrival of Spinel, a hyperactive jewel animated in the style of the elastic rubber hose of the early twentieth century. The design of his character fits perfectly to his type of extravagant malice: from the first moment, it is clear that Spinel came to Earth not only to claim his revenge but also to have a good time. Watching his tricks, jumps, and maneuvers around crystal gems is incredibly fun, especially as he sings happily through “Other Friends”, a rag-like song that complements his animation style.
This first fight against Spinel’s extraterrestrial weapon brings the jewels back to their “factory settings”: Pearl is ready to serve, Ruby softly protects his noble Sapphire and Amethyst knows no better than to imitate those around him. Steven himself returns to his predetermined state type: without any functional control of his gem powers, he must find a way to deal with both an overly friendly Spinel (also disabled and restored) and the giant drill that he left to inject poison. Earth.
To end it, Steven must essentially recreate all the arches of development of the character of his friends in times of crisis. In a way, Steven Universe: The Movie looks almost like a recap film, as Steven and the jewels experience familiar moments, such as Garnet realizing his love for himself or the growing Pearl series. As Steven tries to recreate the conditions that made the Crystal Gems as they are today, it’s clear how much the group has progressed over the past five seasons.
To punctuate the nostalgia, there are excellent nonsense, as well as moments of pure satisfaction of the fans. The disconcerting servitude of Pearl is interrupted by the fact that she addresses Greg, whom she considers to be his teacher, under the name “Um Greg Universe” after he hesitates to give his name. Connie in a straight line cuts a car in half with his sword. The highlight is the unexpected fusion of Steven and Greg (hereinafter referred to as “Steg”) with the return of Opal (Aimee Mann). With mergers like Garnet presented as romantic relationships, it’s easy to forget that any relationship based on trust and love can be the basis of a merger. Really, Steg took a long time to arrive. The fusion is an emotional cap punctuated by abs and murderous voices of Steg. It is performed by Ted Leo, a frequent contributor to Aimee Mann.
However, all this fades when it comes to Spinel itself. While Steven finds pieces of memory of his friends, he forgets and ignores Spinel continuously, inadvertently recovering his memories of abandonment with Pink Diamond. With a tragic story that only rivals that of Lapis Lazuli, Spinel seeks revenge and attacks the closest that can reach Pink: Steven.
The fact that Steven is left to solve his mother’s problem is a family problem. What is different this time is that the biggest fight is over: in theory, calming the Diamonds should have been the final battle. The arrival of Spinel and the justified pain hammered the fact that Steven could never get his happiness forever, regardless of what he apparently deserves. No matter what you do and no matter how many people you love in peace, there will always be someone else whose heart you will have to repair. Although dealing with the loss of control of their own powers and having to recreate the arches of development of their friends is a great story, it is also symbolic. Every challenge Steven faces will be as difficult as the first.
That does not mean things are dark, it’s Steven Universe! With the support of his friends, Steven finally manages to overwhelm Spinel with love, thus saving Beach City. There is a particular sequence in which Steven climbs the Spinel exercise during the evacuation of Garnet, Amethyst, and Pearl. Even in situations of danger and conflict, the soft, light tones of “True Kinda Love” ring in the background as a “low-fidelity hip-hop playlist to survive the apocalypse”. Even at the edge of danger, it is still very cold. For now, we know how to believe in Steven.
Steven Universe: The Movie is the perfect culmination of an already complete story. Although it is not the last we will see of crystal gems, it is hard to imagine a better closure. The fact that things will never calm down for Steven is part of the spirit of the series itself. The most important, however, is a philosophy that Steven sings towards the end of the film: “Hey, show me this problem that can be solved, we can overcome it, I will do the hardest with you.”