2020 was a crazy year, to put it bluntly. It was hardly the good kind either; in fact, the entire year seemed more akin to the script of a horror film. Nonetheless, not all crazy is bad, and The Boys is proof of that. The second season was released in September, making the month one of the more memorable ones of 2020 for me. The show is gripping, with the perfect blend of entertainment, shock value and questionable morals. It’s dark and yet wildly comical. And most importantly it’s a kind of respite from an upsetting and disastrous year.
The Boys is a satire on superhero movies and culture. It’s about a group of vigilantes trying to take on superheroes who are treated like celebrities and misuse their powers. The show is thrilling from the first episode to the last, and the second season ups the ante with shocking twists and the entry of interesting and norm-shattering characters.
The new season, like the previous one, is gory, bold and often numbing. The story moves at a more measured but still engaging pace. Characters are given the chance to develop carefully with intricate traits and solid screen time. Karl Urban is brilliant again as Billy Butcher, leader of the vigilantes. He gets to show his diverse acting range, with his delicate side often peeping through his hard exterior. He is equally remarkable as a brash man set on revenge as well as as a caring and understanding friend. Antony Starr continues his phenomenal performance as Homelander, a maniacal superhero with superman-level strength. Similar to Butcher, Homelander’s character is given further depth here and the chance to explore his more emotional side. Starr’s acting is menacing, vulnerable, and extremely impactful. Butcher and Homelander often seem like two sides of the same coin. Their motives are contrasting but their morals often converge, to varying degrees.
The rest of the cast is similarly adept. The characters of Starlight, Hughie, Frenchie, Kimiko and Mother’s Milk (MM) are given adequate character development and, in general, improve on the first season. There aren’t unnecessary tropes from season 1, nor are the characters needlessly self-aware, which are mistakes made by many shows in their later seasons, including Mirzapur season 2, Game of Thrones season 6 onwards, and Sherlock season 4. On the “heroes” side, A-Train’s path to redemption is interesting and his story gets a more sympathetic arc. The same can be said for the character of The Deep; the audience gets a chance to empathize with him in an entertaining way. However, his story is given too much time in a short and tight season; his arc, while fun, isn’t paramount and is often wasted. Additionally, Maeve, the Wonder Woman-esque character of the group also gets some much-needed complexity and depth. Her character now has greater importance despite less than substantial screen time.
Season 2 features the entry of a wide range of intriguing characters, mostly in short but pivotal cameos. Stormfront, a new mysterious member of “The Seven” (a team similar to the Justice League), however, is at the front and centre of all new characters. She is played impressively by Aya Cash, who had a short role in The Wolf of Wall Street. Stormfront is a perfect character for a show like The Boys. She is secretive, unpredictable, and inanely devilish. The character is bold while still being deftly nuanced. She is a smart and solid addition to the already outstanding ensemble cast.
The second season of The Boys is not as fast-paced as the first but exciting and enjoyable nonetheless. It features a unique and potent plot, which hits hard and hits fast. The characters, both old and new, are fascinating, well-crafted and expertly acted. The villains are terrifying, while the heroes are offbeat with adaptable morals and contrasting principles. The show is wild but a welcome break from an even wilder year. It’s a power-packed satirical beast. Watch The Boys for brilliant and bizarre storytelling, complemented well by quirky visuals and a great soundtrack.
Disclaimer: This article has not been written by Film Companion’s editorial team.