- Release Date: 03/06/2022
- Cast: Karl Urban, Jack Quaid, Antony Starr, Erin Moriarty
- Creator: Eric Kripke
The Boys is one of those unique takes on the superhero genre that has over the years become a little more commonplace but by the virtue of its execution is still able to extract laughs, awe, shock, and disbelief from its audiences. If that was not enough, there would also be a scene or two that would make its audiences regurgitate. Carrying on in the same line and ensuring that its audiences are served atleast one surprise per episode, the latest season of the show carries forward the story from where the second season had left off.
Homelander (Antony Starr) is disillusioned by the loss of his love interest and son at the end of the second season. He is continually undermined by the CEO of Vought, Stan Edgar (Giancarlo Esposito) who hates him immensely but is forced to keep him in the company. The rivalry between the two comes to a point where Homelander decides to take matters into his own hands and have Stan thrown out of the company. A sudden turn of events gives him the chance to set his plan into motion. However, what he didn’t predict were the consequences that the ouster of Stan would bring to his unbridled lifestyle and impulsive choices and decisions making.
Butcher (Karl Urban) is still trying to figure out a way to kill Homelander. In the meantime, he has lost key members of his unit leading to his operations suffering to a certain extent. He is still able to take down some of them out-of-control superheroes but none of the big ones. Lady luck smiles on Butcher when Maeve (Dominique McElligott) sends him down a path that might lead to the discovery of a weapon powerful enough to kill Homelander. She also hands him an experimental Vought compound that turns any normal man into a superhero for 24 hours. Armed with the compound and atleast two friends to help him on his quest, Butcher heads for Russia where he uncovers a superhero who was presumed dead and one who violently shakes up the already fragile status quo in the Vought industries.
Hughie Campbell (Jack Quaid) finally works for the government and is able to do what The Boys under Butcher do but in a legal and regulated manner. He is happy bringing in some genuine changes and shares some blissful moments with the love of his life, Starlight (Erin Moriarty). However, the peace and order in his life are short-lived as he learns that his boss, Victoria Neuman (Claudia Doumit) is a dangerous woman with a diabolical superpower and an even more sinister agenda to accomplish.
As is the case with the first two seasons of The Boys, a lot is happening here in terms of plot and character development but the story and the screenplay are so cohesive and structured that the audiences will not miss a thing. Each subplot of the series is given its due weightage and it has an important part to play in the grander narrative. This not only ensures that we have our interest in each of these stories but also ensures that the narrative is that much more expansive and allows the makers a lot of room to keep the proceedings interesting and the surprises coming. This aspect of the series also allows the makers to have a grander visual palette and get a lot crazier with the out-of-the-world aspects of the story and the various elements adding to it. While all these features are handed down from the source material, one has to give due credit to the creator for flawlessly integrating the same into the narrative and giving us a cohesive and absorbing story.
Antony Starr as Homelander is one of the biggest reasons to watch this series. His character is an embodiment of everything that is wrong with the modern world and the men who have the power to do anything in this world. The fact that his character is overpowered a few times and then finds his way into forcing everyone to do his bidding elevates the overall impact of his character many folds. One has to agree that the character of Homelander is the best written in the entire series and there are aspects to it that are done so well that it deserves special mention.
I loved how in many scenes Starr doesn’t speak a word but only reacts by grinding his teeth or putting up a fake smile that tells us that he is at the end of his patience and that he would soon do something that would not be pretty to look at. Starr, with his essay, is able to extract a sense of fear for the character that makes his performance memorable. How much he craves the people’s attention and how far he is willing to go to get that makes up another important aspect of his character that is used time and again to drive the narrative and the character in a certain way.
Standing on the other end of the spectrum is Butcher played by Karl Urban. Butcher hates Homelander but would do anything to protect his son as he had promised his departed wife that he would never let anything bad happen to him. The give and take between the two characters are legendary and easily one of the high points of the series. Every time the two meet we get the feeling that they would get into a fight-to-death scenario but that doesn’t happen until the very end of the show.
The fact that Butcher now has superpowers that can match Homelander’s only makes the situation that much more interesting. I loved the conflict that Butcher is shown going through. For the first time, we get a peek into his past and understand how he feels about Hughie. He finally admits to knowing what he is doing is the right thing but the path that he is taking to achieve that being wrong. This not only makes him an instantly more relatable and more likable character but also makes his survival an important matter for the audiences elevating the action sequences that he is a part of and rendering them more tense and thrilling.
Jensen Ackles as Soldier Boy is terrific. The deadpan mannerism that he carries to everything that he does willingly or accidentally is depicted and enacted with such conviction that it quickly gets under our skin. He is not only believable but also highly effective as this vain superhero that lives and dies for nothing but his own vanity and a misplaced sense of right and wrong. Jensen Ackles’s rendering gives us an idea of how it would feel if Captain America was evil.
I thoroughly enjoyed the performances of Jack Quaid and Erin Moriarty as Hughie and Starlight. They are able to infuse a sense of realism and awe in the relationship that they are shown sharing and make us care for their future as well as the characters individually. There romance feels quirky, sweet, and real. This leads to not only us getting invested in their story but also how they end up by the end of the series. The rest of the cast of the series is just as effective as they have been throughout the last two seasons.
As was the case with the previous two seasons, the action here is limited but whatever of it is there is bolstered by a sense of physicality, realism, and never seen before gore. Some of the sequences are not even action. They are just gory depictions of unthinkable things that one individual is shown doing to another. The introduction of a new character leads to atleast two of the goriest sequences of the series. Karen Fukuhara as Kimiko is back in her element and is shown murdering a host of individuals using nothing but dildos of various shapes and sizes. Jessie T. Usher as A-Train murders another superhero but this time we are rooting for him for doing that. There are innumerable such sequences that will shock you with its depiction of gore and physicality and will leave you asking for more.
The only flipsides of the series for me were the climax and some of the subplots that felt unnecessary. The subplot involving Frenchie, Kimiko, and Frenchie’s previous boss was unnecessarily pulled beyond a certain point. The subplot involving Victoria Neuman and Hughie was somewhat sidelined towards the end of the series. The same was the case with Stan Edgar’s character which was abandoned halfway through. The climax should have been a thrilling affair involving two of the most powerful heroes of the series but it fizzled out into a fight that gave us little more than what we had already experienced throughout the series. I was also not convinced with how Homelander left some of the characters alive going by how he was.
Having said all that, The Boys Season 3 is still one of the most entertaining and shocking superhero re-imaginings that you will see in modern times. It is totally worth your time and I am confident that if you are able to stop yourself from nitpicking certain aspects of it, it will definitely entertain and thrill you.
Rating 4/5 (4 out of 5 Stars)
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