‘The Boys’ season two is surprisingly poignant and as brutal as ever 

Courtesy of Amazon Studios

Despite receiving harsh reviews from overindulgent fans over its method of release, “The Boys” season two is here — and it’s bonkers for all the right reasons. 

After Billy Bucther (Karl Urban) is framed for the murder of Madelyn Stillwell (Elisabeth Shue), learn that they are wanted fugitives. After this point, we follow our team of vigilantes as
“The Boys,” Butcher’s group of superhero hunters, continue their efforts to take down Vought, a powerful corporation that monetizes its “supes” across the globe. These efforts are quickly expedited after the newest member of “The Seven” — Vought’s flagship superhero team — Stormfront (Aya Cash) is announced, threatening Homelander’s image as a leader.  Meanwhile, Vought’s popularity begins to wane as Congresswoman Neuman (Claudia Doumit) goes on an anti-supe campaign, calling for a congressional hearing against the corporation. Starlight (Erin Moriarty) gets a hold of damning evidence against Vought, and The Boys embark on a perilous rescue mission.

The Boys continues to utilize the same gory formula that propelled the show to massive success when it was first released but integrates deeper commentary on the going-ons of current society, especially in 2020. The show puts forth moral dilemmas of modern society by showing what happens when complacency becomes deadly.  It is clear that showrunner Eric Kripke’s priorities were character development, and plenty of the story’s plot sets the show up for future seasons. Whereas last season was more about setting up a world with morally corrupt superheroes and the atrocities that come with that reality, this one placed the characters front and center and doubled-down on the commentary. Stormfront’s connections to white supremacy and society’s unwillingness to push aside the veil of ignorance are two concepts I found to more closely resemble real life quandaries.  

Much like last season, the cast delivered convincing performances all around, with Antony Starr continuing to steal the spotlight as a pathologically hotheaded Supe. However, Stan Edgar’s (Giancarlo Esposito) prominence as the head of Vought puts Homelander’s no-holds-barred behavior in check, leaving fans wondering just how much of a role Edgar will play as one of the most powerful men without superpowers (as far as we know).  As for our protagonists, Billy Butcher and his team of outcasts give us even more of a reason to root for them. Frenchie’s (Tomer Capon) ability to recognize he’s protecting Kimiko (Karen Fukuhara) for the wrong reasons is one of the more touching moments of the season. Hughie’s (Jack Quaid) undying commitment to taking down Vought pierces through The Boys’ feelings of disillusionment, further establishing him as the group’s North Star, so to speak. Butcher’s confrontation with his abusive father adds a layer to his commandeering, cutthroat personality. Nearly every member of The Boys enjoyed more screen time than the season prior, a caveat that makes this season largely superior than its preceding season.

The writing team on this series is another highlight of the series. So many character interactions are filled with just the right amount of quirks: Frenchie’s hilariously uncanny knowledge of pop culture, Hughie’s soft spot for Billy Joel and Mother’s Milk’s affinity for Purell (with aloe). Bottom line, the character interactions in “The Boys’” are simply a lot of fun to watch.

With that said, the season is not without its flaws. Hughie and Annie’s relationship is ambiguous at best and feels somewhat dragged on. There were moments that felt slightly out of character, like Frenchie confusing his friendship with Kimiko as something more than it is. As for the villains of this story, Stormfront’s role seemed largely inconsequential as it relates to the plot. Ultimately, these are small distractions to an otherwise violently engaging show.

Verdict: For a program that is rooted in absolute brutality and psychopathic behavior, this season is filled with touching moments that make it more than just a superhero satire. Though it is not without its imperfections, “The Boys” season two is wildly captivating without overdoing it and continues to embody a brilliant deconstruction of the superhero genre.

 

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