Invincible Season 2 – TV Review

Invincible, adapted from Robert Kirkman’s comic by Amazon, emerged as another example of the realistic superhero narrative we yearned for after experiencing The Boys, also featured in Amazon’s catalog. Following the influx of Marvel and DC‘s super-charismatic and invincible heroes, viewers were eager for a project that would candidly address the question, “What if superheroes truly existed?” The Boys provided an initial response to this inquiry. However, while The Boys focused on the media distortion paralleling today’s world, highlighting the power imbalance inherent in the superhero phenomenon, Invincible, much like Uncle Ben’s timeless adage, centers on the responsibility that comes with possessing power. Nonetheless, both series, akin to what we’ve seen in X-Men, also emphasize the superiority of superpowered individuals over ordinary, sometimes feeble humans. Invincible, selecting this theme as its core subject matter, provided ample material for discussion through Omni-Man (J.K. Simmons) in its inaugural season.

The possession of superpowers inherently segregates the empowered from the ordinary citizen, burdening the empowered with a responsibility: should they utilize their power to protect the weak or to subjugate and shelter them? While Omni-Man and his race, the Viltrumites, believe in purging the universe of the weak, Omni-Man’s beloved son, Mark Grayson (Steven Yeun), following in the footsteps of Peter Parker, decides that the weak must be protected. However, the world of Invincible unfolds in a universe akin to One-Punch Man, where a new Kaiju attacks the city every week, with creatures to be vanquished emerging from the depths of the earth or the expanses of space, in a world teeming with never-ending adversaries. Though the heroes manage to save the day each time, ultimately, thousands, and sometimes even members of the hero team, perish. The second season squarely focuses on this issue: what is the price of heroism?

In my critique of the first season, I lavished praise on the series and felt compelled to expound upon its portrayal of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless. While the second season continues to explore this theme through the lens of the Viltrumites, its overarching theme primarily revolves around the aforementioned price of heroism. Throughout the season, Mark Grayson loses his girlfriend, friends, valiant comrades-in-arms, and even his father once again. Yet, he cannot halt this process. As Uncle Ben’s wisdom dictates, despite his reluctance, his power imposes upon him a responsibility, a responsibility that relentlessly haunts him like a recurring nightmare. Even though Mark wishes to focus on his life like ordinary citizens, the Viltrumites descending from space or Angstrom emerging from parallel universes refuse to grant him peace.

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The precise juncture that differentiates the first season from the second, in my view, lies precisely here. While the first season managed to address the power imbalance in the superhero discourse, a point often overlooked, I cannot assert that the second season succeeds in this regard. Despite effectively reflecting the cycle from which Mark cannot extricate himself, the season suffers from a notable absence of a compelling antagonist post-Omni-Man, leaving a significant void in the series. With no central antagonist, the series predominantly progresses through Mark’s personal life. Although Angstrom emerges as the adversary in the finale, I must admit he fails to fill the void. This is partly due to a saturation with the multiverse concept. While Invincible utilizes parallel universes to entertain the audience, ultimately, the finale fails to deliver on what I, at least, had hoped for.

Alongside the absence of a compelling antagonist, I also perceive a lack of action in the season. Of course, this deficiency arises from a comparison with the first season. Particularly, the moments where Mark reunites with his father and the team battles face-huggers in space seem notably weaker and devoid of depth when juxtaposed with the first season. Invincible set the bar exceptionally high, especially after the father-son duel in the first season. Naturally, as a viewer, one expects the new season to surpass this standard. When the producers teased the new season with promises of wild scenes in interviews, my expectations soared. Unfortunately, I cannot say these expectations were met.

In essence… While the second season of Invincible proves enjoyable, it falls short in terms of substance and action compared to the first. And while the first season provided ample material for lengthy discussions, the new season failed to excite me in many respects. Hence, I feel compelled to conclude my critique in six paragraphs because I cannot find any substantial topic to elaborate on regarding the season. Despite being a potent exploration of the responsibilities of superheroism, the series, with its weak central antagonist, lackluster action, and generally melancholic tone, failed to draw me in this season. It became a season I watched simply because it was there, not one I eagerly anticipated. To reignite excitement, the new season must address certain issues. Where is the rapidly growing baby heading? When will the long-awaited Viltrumite invasion occur? What is the drama behind Cecil? When will Mark open up to Eve? I hope the new season, particularly with Angstrom’s demise and Omni-Man’s escape, manages to become much more chaotic.

Cast & Crew

creators: Robert Kirkman, Ryan Ottley, Cory Walker

starring: Steven Yeun, J.K. Simmons, Sandra Oh, Sterling K. Brown

USA | 2024 | 8 EPISODES |


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