When The Boys dropped on Amazon Prime last year, it completely changed the superhero game. The satirical tone complimented the comics well and the abundance of violence, gore and strong character-writing made this one of the more memorable shows from 2019. Given the cliffhanger ending, fans eagerly awaiting season 2 can rest assured that Amazon’s superhero show isn’t about to slow down any time soon.
In fact, The Boys bursts back on the scene with a bloody good opener, one that embraces all the elements that made the first season so compelling. Not only that, it cranks up the tension and drama ten-fold with some excellent new inclusions to the cast.
Giancarlo Esposito channels his inner-Gus Fring for the icy-cold performance of Stan Edgar. Aya Cash delivers a wonderfully charismatic showing as Stormfront while several other new faces slot into the world nicely.
That’s just as well too because the story wastes no time picking up where we left off from before. The boys are on the run, labeled as America’s most wanted after Butcher’s stunt with Madelyn. Homelander is a national treasure (of course) but he’s much more interested in grooming his son Ryan to becoming a mini-psychopath.
While he’s distracted, trouble brews inside Vought. Starlight is disenfranchised with the entire project and turns to Hughie for help in taking the group down. While the duo try to smuggle a sample of Compound V out, Stormfront joins the ranks as the newest member of the Seven. Several returning faces from the past also return, playing havoc with the balance of power, while The Deep experiences mental health issues and turns to religion.
These brewing issues are felt on both sides of the conflict as Hughie finds unrest with the others who refuse to help him rebel. The first half of this season essentially sees them chasing after a Super-Terrorist (or Super Villain given Homelander hates that expression) who happens to have ties with the group. This is made especially evident through Kimiko whom has a much bigger part to play in the story this time around.
While the story is bigger and badder than ever, the action sequences and violence are just as impressive as they’ve been in the past. The blood-spattered scenes are incredibly gory and one scene during the end of episode 3 is actually quite difficult to watch. However, fans of the first season will almost certainly be in their element here.
What’s particularly fascinating with The Boys though is the way it leans into big themes and adds a satirical spin to proceedings. Vendors capitalize from Translucent’s death through T-Shirts. Homelander uses his death as the perfect platform to push his own agenda. The Seven’s new advisor Ashley excitedly chirps at the possibility of Girl-Power in the team.
And that’s before even mentioning the teasing placards, posters and advertising billboards that show the extent to which advertising has changed the world around us.
All of this works as well as it does because of the characters. At the end of the day, a show is only as strong as its ensemble cast and The Boys absolutely nails every single person here. Away from the new players, Antony Starr’s deliciously sinister Homelander is an absolute scene-stealer while Hughie and Butcher are given much more interesting arcs to play with this season.
Overall though, The Boys gets off to a fantastic start and if these three episodes are any indication to go on, we’re in for a wild ride. Given the show has already been renewed for a third season, Amazon have literal gold on their hands with this that justify the Prime membership alone.
The second season is just as – if not better – than the first and the various story arcs have been developed in a really concise and gripping manner. The action is well-shot, the characters beautifully written and this volatile cocktail looks set to explode at any moment. In the ensuing carnage we could be looking at a major contender for one of the best shows of 2020.
This review is based on episodes 1-3. We’ll be back after the finale in October to update the score and parts of this review