‘Steven Universe: The Movie’ Displays Major Growth Within Series

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Published September 9, 2019
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"Steven Universe: The Movie" introduces a new villain to the cast named Spinel. Photo courtesy of Cartoon Network

Warning: This article contains spoilers, please read at your own risk.

“Steven Universe: The Movie” left me speechless. After the climactic season five ending that put all the puzzle pieces together and resolved the issues that needed to be solved, I thought to myself, “how can the creators continue this story?” The mastermind, creator and director behind the show, Rebecca Sugar, always has tricks up her sleeves and never disappoints when it comes to new “Steven Universe” content.

After spending five seasons learning to love himself, control his powers and deal with the emotional drama his criminal mother left behind, Steven clearly deserves a break from fighting and needs to spend time with his friends along with the Crystal Gems. This movie felt very nostalgic because it reminded me why I fell in love with the series in the first place.

The movie kicks off two years after the events of season five. Steven resolved all the issues with the Diamonds and has healed the Homeworld Gems who were corrupted during the Gem War.

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Steg (left), voiced by Ted Leo, and Opal (right), voiced by Aimee Mann, sing their duet “Independent Together.” Photo courtesy of Cartoon Network

“Steven Universe: The Movie” is a musical starring Estelle, Patti LuPone and Chance The Rapper. These stars even help contribute to some of the songs in the movie. The music in the movie not only felt original, but it also incorporated some old themes from different songs that fans loved and enjoyed from the past.

I remember getting chills when listening to “Happily Ever After,” which tells the story of Steven and the Crystal Gems and how hard they fought to be where they are today. All the songs are catchy, and I have had them on repeat since the movie came out.

Although the movie is filled with music and positive themes, it’s still hard for Steven to have a happily ever after.

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Pink Diamond (left), voiced by Susan Egan, owns Spinel (right), voiced by Sarah Stiles, who Pink Diamond abandoned for 6,000 years.
Photo courtesy of Cartoon Network

Just when he thought he cleaned up the mess his mom, Pink Diamond, created, problems start to arise. A new gem called Spinel shows up on Earth to kill Steven and destroy the planet because of grudges she holds against Steven’s mother. Since Pink Diamond is no longer around, Spinel decides to seek revenge on Steven.

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Spinel, voiced by Sarah Stiles, is the villain of the movie with a very tragic backstory. Photo courtesy of Cartoon Network

The animation when Spinel is introduced, and throughout the whole movie, is so smooth and breathtaking that it makes me wish I studied animation with the hopes that one day I could make something as great as “Steven Universe.”

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Familiar faces such as Lapis Lazuli (left), Bismuth (center) and Peridot (right) return for “Steven Universe: The Movie.” Photo courtesy of Cartoon Network

In every season and through every costume change, it feels like I know the cast personally through seeing their character development and growth throughout the years. The movie introduced new characters with extraordinary designs, especially in Spinel, the Homeworld Gems and Steg, a new fusion of Steven and his dad. The character design of Steg looks a lot like Elvis Presley, and he even performs my favorite song in the movie called “Independent Together,” alongside a character named Opal.

Even though “Steven Universe” is a children’s show, the series has tackled many different themes and issues that are present in our society. The series has touched on topics such as toxic relationships, depression, equality, homosexual relationships, nontraditional families, immigration, harassment, grief and the list goes on.

In the movie, the story focuses on abandonment and learning how to love again, which is one of the issues the antagonist Spinel had to deal with. The fact that this series can handle such serious topics in such a wholesome way is the reason this show is so magnificent.

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Steven Universe, voiced by Zach Callison, looks noticeably older as the movie takes place two years after season five. Photo courtesy of Cartoon Network

Overall, “Steven Universe: The Movie” is truly an extraordinary work of art with amazing storytelling, an energetic soundtrack, smooth brilliant illustrations and animation that results in a combination of what all the seasons of Steven Universe have brought fans in the past. I would not be surprised if this film gets nominated for an upcoming Emmy in the best TV movie category.

I am really happy that this movie is not the end of the series and I cannot wait to see what Sugar and the rest of the show’s crew creates in the future.

“Steven Universe: The Movie” receives a rating of five out of five.

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