Friday, 4 September 2020

The Boys Season 2 Premiere

Note: This review encompasses the first 3 episodes of the season as they were released on amazon prime at the same time. This is the next show I will be doing weekly.

If anyone requires their superhero fix, look no further than the second season of The Boys. Maybe its too early to say so, but this is one of my favorite shows, and on its current course, it may eclipse the original comics, of which I read and loved. Besides giving the original stories a modern update, especially in regards to its female characters, it recreates moments and stories from the original comics that OG fans can appreciate.

We pick up not long after the events of the first season. The Boys are the most wanted people in the world. Licking their wounds while in hiding, they still plan to take down Vought, the company behind The Seven. Hughie is getting help of double agent Annie/Starlight in retrieving compound V. Butcher, last season discovered that his wife is still alive, and has given birth to Homelander's son, and is determined to get her back. Homelander, after killing Stillwell is becoming increasingly unhinged, and while initially thinks he will finally be given free reign shockingly finds himself neutered by the arrival of Stormfront, the new member of the seven, and Mr. Edgar, the head of Vought.

This is just a smart show. The ideas its presents, the size of the cast, the length of episodes, and the money on the line, it has no choice but to be. Eric Kripke, the man behind other great shows, Supernatural, Timeless( A personal favourite), runs a tight ship, and the writer's room is firing on all cylinders this season. Its vision of superheroes in a heightened reality similar to ours is frighteningly accurate and resembles what the DCEU would look like if Zack Snyder could do whatever he wanted.

As this is the "we got money" season, the visuals received a huge bump. There is a sequence where the camera pans up on a building being destroyed from the inside that I loved. Sure, the exploding heads are just as gory and shocking as the first season(The season 2 opening scene alone starring Black Noir is a standout scene) but the scope feels bigger. Watching the series feels like watching a particularly long film rather than a television series. The second season honestly feels like the first season continued. The consistency is maintained without skipping a beat.

The massive ensemble cast is much more balanced in the first three episodes alone than in the previous season. Queen Maeve, Kimiko, The Deep, Frenchie, and Ashley are given more to do with their storylines. Kimiko's character in particular is given the respect she deserves this season. This mute character is given much more emotional depth and heart beyond the feral character from the original comics. She is independent from her connection with Frenchie and really does come into her own. Karen Fukuhara doesn't waste her increased screentime.

In fact, this show's treatment of female characters trumps the original comic any day of the week. Episode 2 actually takes shots at films and television shows who pat themselves on the pat with on the surface female representation. The slogan "Girls get it done", and the lazy feminism thrown at the female superheroes make for top-notch satirical humor, from Aya Cash especially.

The relationship between Hughie and Annie is still a strength for the series and provides sweet relief from the door events surrounding them. I do hope that the dynamic between them does shake up a bit because while the relationship between the two was a highlight last season, the storylines and events happening around them are proving to be much more engaging.

The entire cast is at the top of their game. The MVPs are Antony Starr, whose screen presence as Homelander alone especially is captivating. He is unnerving, terrifying, and creepy to watch. Karl Urban excels as Butcher, with his particular sense of profanity with the usage of the word "cunt" providing laughs. His scenes with Jack Quaid this season with their characters at odds are particularly fun. Aya Cash quickly establishes herself as a standout. Episode 3, especially near the end will shock if you don't know the character's history in the comics.

The way that episode 3 unfolds, it is no wonder why the show decided to switch to a weekly format. Fans will be discussing it. Honestly, I considered review bombing for the first time in my life because I prefer binging like last season, but frankly, this show is well worth the wait. The after-show with Aisha Tyler is worth a look as well.

The Boys have a triumphant return, continuing to tell stories with compelling characters old and new, and set up the stakes for an ambitious engrossing season.

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