Season two premiere of ‘The Boys’ offers another gritty superhero story with important social subjects
By Jonathan Pabico, Senior Columnist
Season two of The Boys opens with a unique three-episode premiere event on Amazon Prime Video. The show continues its original story with impressive social satire, complicated characters, and a bleak world where superheroes are the bad guys. The plot follows electronics employee Hughie Campbell (Jack Quaid) as he teams up once again with Billy Butcher (Karl Urban) and his vigilante group The Boys to fight superhero corruption.
The premiere expands the satire from the last season through a myriad of self-aware in-jokes and absurd celebrity that poke fun at the oversaturated hype we have for superheroes. However, the show mainly focuses on the role media plays in influencing public perception and continues its corporate theme about being alienated in a commercialized world.
The show balances its character ensemble for the most part through good editing for the main story arc and subplots. This narrative aspect is paired with gritty cinematography to elevate the script’s unpredictable dynamics and world-building.
Across all three episodes, Antony Starr as the main villain Homelander–basically an evil Superman—has the best performance in the premiere. Sporting a US flag for a cape and a double-faced charisma, Starr is unafraid of going to dark places in playing a heavily Americanized superhero. He explores more of Homelander’s ironies through the character’s disquieting pleasantries matched only by his menacing superiority complex.
Like season one, The Boys develop their camaraderie that grounds them as a dysfunctional yet loyal family. Quaid and Urban strengthen their chemistry in portraying the bond between their characters with more tension, cynical banter, and an enthralling brotherhood.
A surprising stand out is Aya Cash as new superhero Stormfront. Cash is annoying at first, but she brings a refreshing tone to the show as an outspoken extrovert with her own flavour of despicable darkness. Her scenes with the more pure-hearted superheroine Starlight (Erin Moriarty) relays the harsh realities of their public roles as heroes. Their moments together further convey the value of having a voice, speaking your mind, and being yourself.
One flaw with season two is a subplot involving The Deep (Chace Crawford)—a sillier version of Aquaman. Crawford plays him with some vibrancy, yet the character is a bland source of comic relief that detracts from the tone of the main plot. The dark humour about his powers somewhat pays off by the third episode, but the story arc feels awkward and unnecessary.
Overall, the season two premiere of The Boys perfectly sets you up for another chapter that so far doesn’t disappoint with its unexpected twists and social satire. One thing to note, though, is that the series’ graphic violence is as excessive as Deadpool, so prepare yourself for that imagery. Unapologetic yet comically weird, the story exceeds expectations in delivering themes and subjects with an original story balanced by riveting characters.