This article contains mild spoilers for the most recent season of Amazon’s The Boys.
Recently I finished the Second Season of Amazon’s The Boys, and while I for the most part enjoyed it, I also found it somewhat infantile, which is odd because if you’ve read any of the work of Garth Ennis – the writer of the comic the series is based and numerous others, like Hellblazer, The Punisher, Judge Dredd and many others – you’ll get the violence because Ennis doesn’t exactly shy away from that but beyond a very surface-level treatment of some very serious themes he typically deals with it the series comes off closer to a children’s show than something meant to be enjoyed by adults.
For example, this season we learned that the latest member of The Seven, Stormfront (Aya Cash), is a Nazi. I mean literally, not what we might call someone when we disagree with politically.
You’d think that this would be a show that would go deep on ideas like nationalism and racism and how people of good intent could be taken in – yet it doesn’t to any significant extent.
We learn that Stormfront was a Nazi, she eventually gets the stuffing beat out of her, end of storyline, almost as if it never happened in the first place.
Another really odd thing about this is that Stan Edgar (Giancarlo Esposito) is the head of Vought International, is a black man.
Might he not have a problem with a super-powered Nazi in his employ?
Especially since there’s was little chance he was unaware of Stormfront and her past though he give little if any indication.
Though to be fair Edgar has more than enough to worry about because the most prominent member of The Seven, Homelander (Antony Starr) is a bit of a psychopath with the power of a superman who apparently can’t be controlled, so there’s that?
The series never seems to confront the repercussions of super-human characters beyond doing so in the most obvious way possible, though we get that already.
There’s a sheen of being concerned about issues, but like an oily film on the surface of a lake, that concern goes no deeper.
In some ways it reminds me of Paul W.S. Anderson’s Event Horizon (1997) which revolved around a lost space ship that returned from somewhere alien.
Supposedly this place it returned from was akin to Hell though the movie took typically the most obvious route to illustrate that fact, namely physical violence.
This type of approach has always bothered me because while there’s something to be said about a depiction of physical trauma and violence being associated with one’s interpretation of Hell, its also a childish one because if one has lived long enough you’ve likely considered more horrific things than physical violence.
In fact, I’d argue that most people’s scars a psychological, not literal yet the movie barely touches on such issues. Hughie Campbell (Jack Quaid) who’s girl friend was killed by A- Train you’d think would be a good opportunity for just that.
It wasn’t but you’d at least think so.
And that’s The Boys in a nutshell: It touches on the satire of Garth Ennis’s work, but end the end is mainly a vehicle for snark, innuendo and physical violence of various sorts.