Review: ‘Steven Universe: The Movie’ returns to screen for one last time

After 225 days of waiting, “Steven Universe: The Movie,” directed by Rebecca Sugar, premiered on Cartoon Network Monday, Sept. 6, closing out the six-year story of the titular Steven Universe. 

The musical film stars Zach Callison, Estelle, Deedee Magno Hall, Michaela Dietz, Sarah Stiles and others, with music composed by Rebecca Sugar, Chance the Rapper, Estelle and more. 

“Steven Universe” closed out after six years of the show’s running. (Courtesy of Cartoon Network)

The story picks up two years following the show’s finale, showing the audience a now 16-year-old Steven (Zach Callison) leaving Homeworld. A doting musical number from White Diamond (Christine Ebersole), Blue Diamond (Lisa Hannigan) and Yellow Diamond (Patti LuPone) tries to convince Steven to stay. 

Steven returns to Earth with his own musical number about how happy he’s become over the last two years. He meets up with his family and friends, who also provide their own verse about the peace Steven has brought to the universe. 

Steven and the Crystal Gems are relaxing on a hillside when the sky becomes a dark magenta. They see a harrowing ship above them and a figure atop it. The ship crashes into the earth, digging into the hilltop and injecting a poison into the ground, ruining the happiness that Steven has cultivated. 

The figure is revealed to be Spinel (Sarah Stiles), a “friend” the three diamonds created for Steven’s mom, Pink Diamond. Spinel sings a daunting number about Pink Diamond abandoning her, and now she wants to take revenge by hurting Steven. 

Spinel uses a weapon called a “Rejuvenator” to revert the Crystal Gems to their original forms, wiping their memories clean. Steven then uses this weapon on Spinel herself, reverting her to her original form as well. 

The rest of the movie follows Steven as he tries to help the Crystal Gems and Spinel regain their memories so they can work together to stop the ship from injecting its poison into the earth. 

“Steven Universe: The Movie” features the same pink-tinted hues as the television show contrasted against new, dark themes. While the show explored living up to a parent’s legacy, the movie explores abandonment issues. 

Spinel’s hatred toward Pink Diamond for leaving her alone for 6,000 years reflects against Steven’s distrust of Pink Diamond for leaving him a legacy of imperialism and war. 

The movie aims to wrap up loose ends from the television show, possibly leaving it to the audience to decide if Steven’s work in championing his mother’s mistakes is done. 

The musical movie features a soundtrack with both upbeat and somber tracks. None of the songs from the album were released before the film’s premiere. 

One song, a calm melody sung by Garnet (Estelle) and Steven, is “True Kinda Love.” The song plays while Garnet is dodging a newly memory-recovered Spinel’s attacks. The soft song heavily contrasts the disastrous combat scene on screen. The song prompts Steven to go through his own change, allowing him access to his full range of abilities. 

Another song, Spinel’s upbeat revenge tune “Other Friends,” lends to her old-school Mickey Mouse look. The song has a bouncy sound and lends itself to the confusing and bouncy fight scene. 

For fans of the show “Steven Universe,” old and new, the movie would be a fun adventure to watch Steven embark on. 

The film is rated TV-PG and is available to stream on Cartoon Network’s app. The Soundtrack is available on Spotify or iTunes. 

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