Billy Butcher and co. are back to face off with Homelander and the other hedonistic superheroes.
It's pretty crazy to think that it's been almost two years since we last got a new episode of The Boys. But it has. Season 2 concluded at the start of October, and now the third season is kicking off 20 months later, and what a wait that has been. I for one have been missing the wild antics of this series and the way that it truly holds nothing back, and so you could say that I was rather excited about this third season. Now that it's here, I've had the chance to get a head start on the season, and I have a variety of thoughts about the chaos that it is looking to serve up.
For anyone who has watched The Boys before or is in the loop about this superhero series, you'll be glad to know that Season 3 is looking to once again follow in similar footsteps. What I mean by this is you get the continuation of a story that gives a polarising take on what we think superheroes really should be, a story that shows the most powerful and upstanding of beings as fowl, terrible, hedonistic individuals that look at regular humans as little other than inferiors. It's a tale that is also about marketing and public relations, as what we're shown beneath the curtain gives a glimpse into how corporate America buries the most horrifying acts to protect the celebrity superheroes that power the economy and the superhero-making company Vought. To this end, Season 3 is no different than what came before it, but what you can clearly see is a downfall on the horizon, a downfall that comes as the corporate suits, led by Giancarlo Esposito's Stan Edgar, overstep their boundaries and push the most powerful and deadliest man on the planet over the edge.
I'm of course talking about Anthony Starr's Homelander here, because this season revolves around the head of The Seven once again. But unlike previous seasons, this one shows Homelander as a man at his weakest, all due to the events that unfolded at the end of Season 2 where his girlfriend Stormfront is almost killed and also revealed to the public to be a fascist. Needless to say, Homelander's reputation takes a hit and soon after the Vought management are looking to move their poster boy to more of a supporting role, a decision that lights a fuse in the 'superhero' and almost causes him to go all scorched earth on anyone that opposes him.
With the most powerful man in the world unhinged, this soon after causes Karl Urban's Billy Butcher to also fight fire with fire, and this sets the stage for the season, with The Boys and a few rebellious folk at Vought International pulling at threads for a way, any way, to be able to finally neutralise the threat that is Homelander.
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As I mentioned earlier, the core nature of this series isn't really any different to what came before it. The fight against Homelander, the cover-ups, the A-list superhero lifestyle is once again all here, but there's no denying that this season has a darker undertone due to the gravity of what you can see it is setting up. It's a pleasant development, but at the same time, you never feel like anything or rather anyone important will actually be a casualty of the fight, and that does take a little weight out of the biggest moments in the season.
Similarly, the pacing isn't exactly a strong suit either as it feels like Season 3 struggles to convey impactful developments in the story for a while, and then when it does, they come so thick and fast that it's easy to drop the ball on them. And this isn't helped by the way that there are so many unique narrative threads being woven at once that the show has to leap between story arcs quite frequently, which makes it difficult to connect with the core narrative at the centre of the series sometimes.
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Still, the humour and the ability for this show to always manage to one-up itself is unmatched. Just as you think there can't be a more bizarre or creepy moment, The Boys finds a way to elevate and deliver on just that. Between levitating killer hamsters to random and well-choreographed musical numbers, cameos that will truly surprise you, or a whole array of superhero-inspired dildos, this season truly delivers on shocking and hilarious moments.
But at the end of the day, none of this is really any different to what we've come to expect from The Boys. Sure, Starr, Urban, and Esposito are absolutely captivating as Homelander, Butcher, and Edgar, and command complete attention in every scene they're in, but this doesn't change the fact that you know what you're getting with this season, before even starting to watch it - and that's an unhinged rollercoaster of moments that aim to make your jaw drop with their unchecked and unfiltered mature tone. While it's not exactly ground-breaking, it's still more than enough to keep me thoroughly entertained throughout.
8 / 10
Cast gives great performances. The show's humour and ability to one-up itself is unmatched. Still thoroughly entertaining.
Pacing struggles at times. Not exactly anything we haven't seen before. Various narrative arcs often distract from the core story the show is trying to tell.