The raved about Cartoon Network series delivers its first musical TV movie, but is it what the fans deserved?
Out of every show that I have been a fan of, Steven Universe has been by far the most conflicting in terms of my opinion on it. Coming from a fan of the show, there’s so many frustrations to be had when looking at it critically, so much so that I could make a whole other article detailing them.
From its many characters with unfulfilled potential to its plethora of filler episodes to many other issues, Steven Universe is far from perfect. I understand why some people really don’t like Steven Universe as it is very flawed. However, I do still somehow love this show from the bottom of my heart.
Despite its issues, I find most of the episodes are at least somewhat enjoyable, and when this show has a hit, it really does become one of the best shows on television. Despite the shows low points, there are enough high points for me that makes Steven Universe strangely one of my favorites.
Luckily enough, Steven Universe’s first movie is one of the shows high points. While it certainly doesn’t do much for non-fans of the show and doesn’t do much that is too special, Steven Universe: The Movie is still a fun, musical time for the fans of this series.
For starters, I liked how the creators decided to make this movie a musical. One of the best aspects of the show is its music, so doubling down on that aspect was a smart decision. Every song is delightful and enjoyable to some degree, with “Other Friends”, “ True Kinda Love”, and “Let us Adore You” being my favorites.
Not to mention, like any great musical, the songs are relevant in describing the characters’ struggles and feelings and are generally well incorporated into the story. Making a Steven Universe musical is very fitting for the series and the movie executes its musical aspects well.
As for the plot itself, while I do have some minor issues with it, it’s great overall. Starting with the positives, Spindel is the best villain the show has ever had. The movie is at its absolute best whenever it focuses on Spindel and her story. I love the tragedy of her backstory and how that tragedy twists her into this malicious yet traumatized character. I felt that I could relate to her character as she’s simply an emotionally devastated character who doesn’t know how to learn to love again. Spindel’s pain, and the actions that arise from that pain, feel very real and human, which makes her character heart wrenching and engaging. The movie’s focus on her really does make it one of the most enjoyable parts of the series.
However, I felt pretty mixed about the rest of the plot. The whole subplot where the Crystal Gems essentially have amnesia and they need to relive aspects of their development felt a little unnecessary. I wasn’t too invested by this subplot because I knew how it would play out, as I knew the gems would eventually remember who they are by the end.
However, the subplot does bring about some entertaining situations and can produce some funny moments. My favorite situation was how Pearl ended up thinking that she was Greg’s servant, as it turned their dynamic on its head, making the situation hilarious.
While I don’t think this subplot is horrible, and there is enjoyment to be had with it, I do think it padded out the story a bit and took some focus away from Spindel and the more interesting aspects of the movie. Just like the show, the movie has some brilliant aspects to it that has to fight against the less interesting aspects for focus in the story. Thus, it seems that the movie is a perfect representation of the show, for better or worse.
Of course, I really do love this movie. Even when it’s at its worst, it’s still a pleasant and enjoyable experience, and when it’s brilliant when it’s at its best.
I was hoping for a bit more out this movie, but I’m still satisfied by it. It definitely gives the fans what they want, and that’s all I could ask for.
I’m excited to see what Steven Universe has in store for the future, as things do look positive right now. Let’s just hope the show can become more consistent.
~Elijah Basu, Staff Writer~