Warning: SPOILERS for The boys season 3.
Whereas The boys has no problem killing many characters, the choice to bring back Stormfront in Season 3 is a pretty pointed satire of the MCU’s treatment of death in superhero media. It’s sadly difficult to make death count in superhero movies, comics, and TV shows. While there have been moving, harrowing, and shocking deaths in superhero stories over the years, overall the fact that many superheroes are nearly invulnerable (combined with the fact that viewers want seeing them succeed) makes the deaths permanent. characters the exception rather than the rule.
However, the MCU has spent the last few years finding a way around this problem. As a result, the MCU’s satire of The boys season 3 also changed his approach to death. As evidenced by a shocking comeback at the start of The boys season 3, the series managed to make a character that doesn’t die as effective and unexpected as a character that is killed.
The MCU has learned how to make death count in a superhero franchise, a trick that’s hard to pull off when many of its characters have varying degrees of plot armor. In contrast, The boys has always had a much more cavalier and comedic approach to character deaths. For example, events in the series are triggered by The boys‘ parody of the Flash, A-Train annihilating an innocent civilian by running through her high up on Compound V. Now, however, to effectively parody the MCU, The boys season 3 needs to change its approach to major character deaths. The show succeeds with the return of Stormfront, who refuses to give Season 2’s biggest villain the dignity of a meaningful death. Instead, she’s a furious shadow of her old self and an embodiment of the show’s ethos – that superpowers (as well as fame and wealth) insulate these characters from real-life consequences, leaving them in a Golden cage.
What makes MCU death scenes so unusual in superhero media is their ability to bring viewers to tears over characters who are usually nearly indestructible. Whether due to their immense wealth and near-superhuman intelligence (in Iron Man’s case) or world-class survival skills (in Black Widow’s case), the MCU’s most significant deaths occur. in characters whose viewers implicitly assume cannot be killed. . In contrast, The boys season 3 bringing back Stormfront shows that the show refuses to kill off characters that viewers want dead for good.
A rabid white nationalist and monstrous Nazi, Stormfront is arguably the most reprehensible villain in the rogues gallery of atrocious characters that appear on The boys. Showing that his immense wealth, his privileges and his literal superpowers ensured his survival in the face of certain death allows The boys season 3 to emphasize the idea that nothing ever really hurts the super rich and successful celebrities and other elites that the show’s supers represent. Despite their powerlessness to appear in temporary defeat, the amoral MCU parodies of The boys can survive almost anything and never learn anything, as proven by the shocking return of Stormfront.
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