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The Boys Season 2 – Review

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Amazon Prime

We all love superheroes, right? The Boys season two is, now streaming on Amazon Prime, this is our review. It presents an inverted – and really perverted – take on the traditional superhero story.

In Season One…to put it one way, things got real. In Season two? Things get more real. And crazier. But ultimately more real. Hughie and Starlight’s relationship gets more intense. Then it breaks off. Then it gets back. A-Train wins but pays the price, then ultimately loses. The Deep…his life just keeps sucking, and then he finds salvation in a cult. And then that cult decides he isn’t worth it.

And Homelander? Well, Homelander keeps on doing his Homelander thing.

So let’s get back into the swing of things, dear reader. Let’s take a dive into Amazon Prime and its standout Season Two of The Boys.

SPOILERS: Just in case you aren’t sure: there are spoilers here. If you don’t want to know what happens, turn away now.

What happens? What’s it all about?

Guys…Homelander is a massive dick. Like for real. He is seriously the worst.

Homelander was supposed to be the best of all of us. He stood for truth, justice, and the American way! Or he was supposed to do that, right?

Well I mean…The Boys is essentially a satire. It’s a satire on superheroes, but even more so on the American Exceptionalism that pervades the milieu of the current world environment. And in that sense, he is what America is to so many other countries. We as Americans think we’re the great purveyors of peace and justice. We make things right. As such, Homelander also thinks he makes things right and what thinks is right is what’s best for everyone. But really he just pushes his agenda on everyone around him, sometimes to an incredibly violent and crazy extent. And as such, he – like the country he claims to defend and represent – is just a little bit of an asshole.

Sorry there. Went a little bit too far into the commentary piece. And besides, Homelander is getting his own article soon enough…so let’s backtrack.

Long story short, Homelander showed his true colours at the end of Season One. He and Maeve could have saved a plane full of civilians from a terrorist attack at the end of Season One, but because he couldn’t save everyone he decided to save no one. And he made Maeve save no one with him. Because of that, everyone on board the plane died…but Homelander spun it into a narrative that made the victims look like American Martyrs and turned the hijackers into the worst kind of terrorists. But the fact is, Homelander could have potentially stopped them but sacrificed the lives the many for the glory of the few. And by “the few” I mean “Homelander.”

But that’s not the only time he did that.

At the end of Season 1, we learned that Billy Butcher was right. He thought that The Seven were the villains and that Homelander was behind the disappearance of his wife. People thought he was crazy to believe that, but Homelander didn’t think twice about proving that he had kidnapped Billy’s beloved Rebecca and hidden her behind enemy lines with their son (!!). No one would believe that Homelander would have done something to destroy someone’s life as he did with Billy Butcher. But you see, he did. He destroyed Madelyn’s life by killing her off (and stealing her baby) when she didn’t serve a purpose for him. Just like he destroyed anyone who opposed his reign of terror and iron grip he had over The Seven and Vought Enterprises….

Who almost steals the spotlight from Homelander?

…but in Season Two, Homelander met his match in the form of two characters.

The first is Stormfront. She is the newest addition to The Seven and…basically just the worst. Like even worse than Homelander. She is essentially Donald Trump but less subtle and with a worse haircut and more charismatic. If Hitler was a pretty girl, it would be Stormfront…or as she was previously known, Liberty. Except she tests well with the public and threatens Homelander’s standing as America’s most popular superhero.

So of course, she and Homelander hook up. Like a lot. And even when she threatens his standing as America’s Favorite’s Superhero, they still keep going at it. Because she keeps drawing ratings and bringing up money, even if she’s a horrifying person who espouses divisive racial ideology. She tests well with the audience, she brings in money for Vought, and Homelander can’t keep his hands off her. And for that, she is essentially the second biggest villain in Season 2 of The Boys.

We’ll get to Threat #1 soon enough, though. But let’s focus on Stormfront for a little bit longer. As Season Two goes on, we learn that she is essentially in charge of a secret program to train new super…people. Not heroes, necessarily. But super-people. If they don’t meet the criteria she sets out, they’re destroyed by the recently-retired-but-somehow-still-active Lamplighter (who was replaced by Starlight in The Seven). When Stormfront and Lamplighter can’t contain the new supes after being confronted by The Boys…well, one thing leads to another, and Lamplighter kills himself in Vought Towers in front of Hughie. Hughie eventually saves the day and negates Homelander’s awful influence but…does he really?

Because we haven’t talked about Mr Edgar yet. He is the ultimate bureaucrat, yet evil. He is the man in charge of Vought, and he is played by the inimitable Giancarlo Esposito. If you don’t know who that is, watch Breaking Bad all the way through and tell me your thoughts about Gus Fring and “El Pollo Loco.” Giancarlo Esposito is, at this point in his career, a cheat code for “horrifying sociopath villain who doesn’t seem like it.” And he is the same way in Season Two of The Boys.

No one other than Mr Edgar is able to contain the danger that is Homelander. Mr Edgar is the ultimate terrifying bureaucrat. He gums up the system for superheroes to make an impact but gets results nonetheless. When he is on screen, you know that danger is afoot…but you don’t know all the details, because that’s in the paperwork and it hasn’t all been fired yet.

Superheroes may be all-powerful and can save the world…but if they don’t meet the approval of those in management, they can’t do anything. And that leads to the ending scene of Season 2 of The Boys, perhaps one of the most hilariously satirical moments in recent TV history. Homelander stands atop a building, like the Batmans and Supermans before him, stating his dominance. But he has no real dominance because Mr Edgar hasn’t approved it yet. And so all he can do is…jerk off into the night sky, proclaiming his dominance over nothing but his own member.

Are there any real negatives?

No. Season Two is essentially perfect. Maybe there could be less focus on the bureaucratic nature of being a superhero? Is all the red tape getting into the way of the crime-fighting? But really, that’s the point of this season: if superheroes were real, they’d abide by the same rules as the rest of us. And that’s what makes it both great and terrible.

A summary and rating

Season 2 of The Boys gets top marks. It’s amazing, satirical, full of action, but most importantly it focuses on the human side of the job. And in so doing, it makes someone like Homelander seem like a combination of sociopath and disgruntled employee: he wants to save the world, but only on his terms. But only if those terms are approved by management.


CULTURE CROSSING SCORE 10/10


Thank you for reading our review of The Boys Season Two. Do you agree or disagree with our points or have anything to add? If so, leave us a comment below.


Catch our review of The Boys season one HERE.

Read IMDB information about The Boys HERE.

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Cobra Kai Season 4 – Review

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Netflix

Cobra Kai season four is out now on Netflix and the All Valley is back and better than ever. Here’s our review.

SPOILERS: If you’re reading this then you’ve probably seen the show, but if not there are spoilers ahead.

It’s January, and new shows are popping up everywhere. This brings us to the show that I and my friends have been holding our breaths for: the fourth season of the hit Netflix series Cobra Kai! After three seasons, I wondered if there was anything left to mine from the Karate Kid lore or the Johnny/Daniel dynamic. I am happy to report that this might be my favourite season yet! It manages to not only expand upon the universe it has created, but to bring in a new villain, who is so bad that he threatens to outdo even John Kreese!

Alliance

Season four sets us off where the third left off, with Johnny and Daniel having joined forces to fight Cobra Kai. Their friendship arc is the glue that holds this season together. The story focuses largely on whether they will be able to pull it together and make their partnership work. As in previous seasons, their relationship has its ups and downs. The stakes are heightened, however, as the season leads up to the All-Valley Tournament. A bet between the three senseis – Kreese, Daniel, and Johnny – means that losing the All Valley is losing the title of sensei.

This season explores the ways that both Johnny and Daniel work with the kids. It also examines the kids’ struggles as they prepare for the All Valley while dealing with conflict within the ever-changing network of friends and enemies in the dojos. Robbie has left juvenile hall and decided to join up with Cobra Kai as a means of inflicting revenge on both his dad and Daniel. Tori and Sam continue their rivalry. And John Reese’s old friend Terry Silver (of Karate Kid 3 fame) shows up to kick Cobra Kai into high gear.

Daniel’s son, Anthony, who has largely been absent until now, faces his own dilemma when his friends begin bullying Kenny, the new kid in town. This soft-spoken middle school character brings us into the world of the younger kids, setting up yet another storyline. Kenny becomes the victim of a gang of kids (including Anthony), enduring round after round of bullying before Robbie takes him under his wing. After his induction into Cobra Kai, the formerly shy middle-schooler becomes a bully himself.

Shades of grey

This brings me to one of my favourite things about the show. The constant back and forth dynamic between characters makes us feel that anything is possible. There is no black and white in the world of Cobra Kai. Where the Karate Kid told us that Daniel was good, and Johnny was bad, this show gives us a very different point of view. It’s a world where we’re never sure who to root for. In this season, we even see Hawk make a return to the “good guys” side after giving up his spot at Cobra Kai.

With Eagle Fang (Johnny’s new dojo) and Miyagi-Do teaming up, the kids – and the adults – have to learn to work together. Of course, complications ensue. Johnny becomes jealous of what he perceives as Miguel’s preference for Daniel over him. Sam wants to learn both her dad’s karate style and Johnny’s, despite her father’s discouragement. Meanwhile, at Cobra Kai, Kreese is losing his grip on the dojo. His former war buddy, Terry Silver, puts off a rather benign appearance in episode one, growing more and more evil with each episode.

This season is lacking in many of the big fight scenes of the previous seasons, instead choosing to focus their energy on the characters. The All Valley Tournament features several great karate matches and offers a satisfying conclusion to Johnny and Daniel’s arc. In the end, Cobra Kai takes the tournament win, but Johnny and Daniel have reached an understanding.

New champions

Tori defeats Sam to take the women’s All Valley trophy but later overhears her sensei paying off one of the referees. It’s clear that Cobra Kai has pulled yet another fast one. But the season ends on an even more ominous – and unexpected – note. Terry Silver assaults the over-aged former Cobra Kai member, Stingray, sending him to the hospital. He then makes a deal with Stingray to blame the crime on Kreese. We end the season with Kreese in handcuffs, Terry Silver set to take over Cobra Kai, and the future of Eagle Fang and Miyagi-Do uncertain. In a last shocking twist, Miguel leaves town in search of his biological father.

Although some may miss the school hallway throw downs, I found this one satisfying in a different way. It just goes to show that the ever-expanding Cobra Kai universe can keep bringing surprises season after season.


CULTURE CROSSING SCORE 9/10


Thank you for reading our review of Cobra Kai season four. Do you agree or disagree with our points or have anything to add? If so, leave us a comment below.


Check out our Hawkeye episode one and two review HERE.

Read IMDB information about Spider-Man: No Way Home HERE.

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