Reviews | Written by Ed Fortune 03/06/2022

THE BOYS SEASON THREE

Gore-driven super-hero parody The Boys have returned for a third season, but does it have anything new to say? Well, given the way the red stuff paints the walls in the first five minutes of the new season, the answer appears to be a very explosive yes.

Plot-wise, we open with The Boys being more of a moderating force for the world’s super-hero community, arresting super-humans who misbehave with the open blessing of a specially formed task-force.  Legitimacy has not made this former black-ops team any less deadly or any more ordered; chaos and murder are still the top items on the menu.  The team even seem to be happy, in a way. Obviously, this does not last; and the stakes (and gore) escalate quickly.

Putting the jaw-dropping scenes of comedic violence to one side, Season Three takes its main themes an awful lot more seriously. The Boys is ultimately about how power corrupts, and how cold-hearted business makes for a poor role model.

Though Karl Urban’s gruff hard man role of Billy Butcher and Antony Starr’s psychotic superman Homelander are still the main event throughout this season,  we also get to see a lot more of Serge (aka Frenchie), played by Tomer Capone. Previously he’s been more of a sidekick, but in this season he embodies the narrative; Serge’s tale is one of a power, control and hope, and this is reflected in the broader story.

The Avengers gets more than it’s fair share of mockery in the form of retired hero team Payback, and we finely get see Jensen Ackles as Soldier Boy, an obvious take on more patriotic heroes from other franchises. Ackles oozes menace and charisma throughout, making a perfect counter point to Starr’s larger than life Homelander.

Amazon Prime Video has been very good at sticking to the source material when it comes to comic book adaptations, often surpassing the original in terms of story-telling. The Boys is a rare case of the TV show being far better than the book.  That said, it would naïve to claim that the comic or the TV show have any had effect on the trends in super-hero storytelling; these sort of stories have been re-inventing and self-examining themselves since the 60s.

What The Boys does very well is take something ripe for parody and constantly escalate, much to the delight of it’s audience.