Based off of Gath Ennis’ and Darick Robertson’s comic series “The Boys” explores the concept of corporatized superheroes in a world where billions of dollars fund the production of heroic feats, red carpet events, and guest appearances that force superheroes into the hearts of Americans.
Fans anxiously await the latest Homelander movie and parents pray their children are born “Supes,” but hidden beneath the flashing lights and showmanship lies a much more sinister reality where casualties are covered up and the Supes’ selfish impulses destroy lives.
With superhuman abilities and the influence level of politicians, Supes run almost unchecked. Fighting against them are the Boys, a group dedicated to taking down Vought, the corporation that owns superheroes. They have no powers, limited resources, and a personal vendetta. Their leader, Butcher, lost his wife to a Supe and will stop at nothing until he has revenge while
newcomer, Hughie, finds himself romantically drawn to the newest of Vought’s heroes.
Superhero fans can enjoy a sinister spin on some of their favorite characters as many of the heroes bear resemblance to those we know and love. At center stage of the Supes is Anthony Starr’s Homelander. He flawlessly alternates between a confident and charismatic front and an
insecure and homicidal persona hidden underneath. The multidimensional qualities of his character highlight Starr’s ability as an actor while also creating an unexpected villain. With the powers of flight, superstrength, laser vision, and invulnerability, he resembles Superman in all ways but personality. Imagine if Superman was a narcissistic psychopath with mommy issues.
The other cast members performances are strong and believable as well. Viewers can feel Butcher’s anger through the screen and sympathize with Starshine’s innocence. The dialogue is well written and does not rely on cheesy one liners to ease tension. Character development is another strong point of the show. All of the main characters are dynamic and viewers can see their story arcs progress through each episode further adding to the realistic quality of the show. The Boys’ strong script paired with its top-notch acting creates an original and exciting show worthy of binging.
Viewers should be prepared for violence and blood as extremely graphic injuries and deaths accompany nearly every episode. Although intense, these scenes do not overwhelm the show due to dark and shocking humor coinciding with and/or occurring after the blood filled scenes. Satirical and heart-warming side stories also work to provide a balance to an otherwise intense and gloomy tone. The Deep, played by Chase Crawford, adds a level of more lighthearted humor with his ridiculous antics. Fans of Seth Rogen’s style of comedy will be pleased to know that he is one of the show’s producers. Furthermore, the comradery and relationships between the Boys as they fight against the Supes offers moments of triumph and story lines to root for.
The Boys displays a starling level of reality in its conceptualization of superheroes. Frequently, superheroes are portrayed as individuals driven by a strong moral compass. From the muscle bound fighter to the joke-cracking nerd, superheroes always serve society and often the greater
good. Even the anti-heroes save the day in the end. Twenty-first century America functions as a material based, capitalistic society, and these depictions are far from the world we are living in. Corporate greed, a self-serving nature, and a disregard for life deemed below oneself are much more characteristic of it. Though jarring and uncomfortable, The Boys counters our expectations of what superheroes would be like in today’s society.
Season 2 of The Boys premiered on September 4th with a new episode airing every Friday. Check out The Boys on Prime Video.