Steven Universe: The Movie Review – Spoiler Alert
By: Ashley Martin
Have you heard the tale of Steven? The story begins with Steven Universe, now 16 years old, who established peace with the Diamonds, dismantled the gem colonies and is ultimately anticipating returning home to his family.
The Steven Universe movie premiered on Cartoon Network on September 2, 2019. This film musical included many collaborations with artists like Chance the Rapper, as well as our regular favorites Estelle as Garnet and Uzo Aduba as Bismuth.
As always, producer Rebecca Sugar left viewers in awe with themes of love, friendship, evolving and even trauma.
This beautiful musical opened with a storybook of the show’s history and plot. We learn the brief history of Pink Diamond, her role in the Great Diamond Authority and the reason she made the decision to shatter Pink and become Rose Quartz.
As we currently know, Steven initiated peace among galaxies, and in the storybook of his life, it was acknowledged. When looking at the old Great Diamond Authority symbol, we see Pink Diamond at the bottom but in the new symbol, Pink Diamond is seen at the top.
It’s understood that the order of the diamonds, from top to bottom is in relation to the inner hierarchy of the Diamonds. White on the top as she’s supreme ruler of all gems, and other diamonds, she’s the biggest diamond and rules the most colonies.
Blue and Yellow are parallel to each other as they are of equal size with equal amount of colonies and Pink at the bottom as she’s the smallest with only one colony.
Now we see Pink at the top showcasing Steven’s impact on the other Diamonds and the galaxy. The Diamonds now value and respect Steven’s opinions; they improved their behaviors, liberated the gems, but much work is to be done as they are still very codependent.
Steven later returns to Beach City and sings of a happily ever after along with Pearl, Garnet, and Amethyst. Their happily ever after shortly comes to an end as they are greeted by a new character, who we had no prior knowledge of since the movie, Spinel.
We learn that Spinel was abandoned by Pink Diamond almost 6,000 years ago, which led to her mental instability.
Rebecca Sugar stated in an interview with AV Club that “Spinel is really a toxic person…[she] has the goal of hurting people. I [Rebecca] really wanted to explore what it’s like when you’re trying to help someone who really doesn’t want to help themselves, who wants to embody the negative feelings they have about themselves.”
Spinel symbolizes a character who is stagnate as she stood still for years waiting for Pink to return. Spinel never got the chance to develop and change so Rebecca brilliantly displayed that through the animation.
Spinel reminded us of an old school cartoon through her design and mannerisms, which included rubber like features that stretch and flow, similar to cartoon characters from the 1920s and 30s.
In the end, Steven was able to remove the injector, repair Beach City, and dissolve the conflict between him and Spinel. Many viewers empathized with Spinel, angered that Steven didn’t offer to be her friend or that Pink left her alone for years.
It’s easy to understand why Spinel was in so much pain, however this is not Steven’s fault. He did the right thing. He risked his life when his powers weren’t working just so he could speak to her, listen to her, validate her and give her hope.
Steven is not obligated to yet again, be responsible for his mother’s past or be friends with someone because they are damaged. Steven has also faced a lot of trauma, so their friendship could be toxic.
Spinel decides to go Homeworld with the other Diamonds, in the end, but this dynamic may not be healthy as the Diamonds and Spinel are codependent. However, Spinel with the Diamonds will allow for comfort, growth, and safety.
All in all, Rebecca wanted fans to remember that we’re always growing, and “it’s an incredible opportunity every day to figure out how to be more and more of the person that you want to be.” Ironically, the only growth we see of Steven is in the final movie and not throughout the series.