The Boys season 2 review – a fearless, gritty second instalment

September 3, 2020 (Last updated: January 24, 2023)
Daniel Hart 0
Amazon Prime, TV Reviews
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The Boys season 2 is brilliant and there’s little to argue against it.

This review of Amazon’s The Boys season 2 contains zero spoilers. Please be aware that this review is based on the first three episodes and the score and content of this article may change later in the month.

We are recapping every episode — check out the archive.

It’s been a heavy two months for alternative superhero content — August brought The Umbrella Academy season 2, the beginning of September platformed new film Freaks: You’re One of Us and now we have The Boys season 2 — audiences have been well and truly spoilt. The fascination of The Boys is that it accepts that inherently and biologically, the human race is selfish. The majority of us instinctively use our consciousness to create a moral compass and strive for a better world but we have embraced that as part of our evolution. Audiences are routinely consumed by superhero canons where the leading characters want to do good.

The Boys season 2 plays into that selfish need stronger than ever. Alongside its violent nature, it ekes out this smug, audacious corporate nature — saving the world is a commodity, not a need, glazing the “superheroes” with a desire to increase revenues, not social value. It’s not a difficult concept to suspend the belief that this could happen again, especially in a highly-branded driven world.

Amazon has changed tact for season 2; rather than providing a binge-drop, the streaming service has followed Apple TV+’s format, releasing the first three episodes and then setting the schedule to weekly. Time will tell if changing the approach will work with the fast-paced world but the way that season 2 breaks off after episode 3 is the perfect bait. Audiences will be excitedly waiting for the next week, which justifies the approach early on.

After the events of season 1, The Boys and Vought International find themselves at a fiery crossroads. While The Boys try to readjust their purpose, Vought needs to rebrand and make their group of superheroes into a “Seven” again; this post-Madelyn Vought, which leaves the company up for grabs. Homelander is his usual sinister self, badgering his son and Billy’s wife, while the rest of the group hang certain fruits that will take form for the reason of the second season. The Boys season 2 leaves most of the characters feeling compromised — the sense of power feels like it is slowly ebbing away which hacks into their insecurities.

The Boys are as bombastic as ever in season 2 — their aimless crusade ignites the comedy. The story structure has a fine balance between language, violence, and the humorous moments — it has the same impact as The Umbrella Academy but it feels grittier and less-self serving to the audience. The characters only care about themselves and despite the inkling of emotional engagement, their downfalls feel as effective as their rises.

The subject of longevity is always pursed on the lips of critics, especially in the streaming world. Ideally, The Boys can continue to entertain. It certainly has the scope and the fearlessness of the story means it can be way wider — it can easily be argued that a series like this has way more promise than any of the Marvel series that dropped on Netflix. It’s becoming apparent that adhering to more “alternative” principles seems a wise marketing approach and The Boys season 2 is enjoying its rewards.

As audiences enjoy a few more weeks of this malleable series, it’s certain that the start of production of season 3 needs to happen sooner, rather than later. The Boys season 2 is brilliant and there’s little to argue against it.

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