We know that with great power comes great responsibility. But what if this great power is abused? The answer is a dark reflection of a society filled with scary circumstances and dire consequences. And The Boys does a great job of showcasing them.
The Avengers: Endgame going past Avatar to become the most successful film of all time is a fact good enough to jump to the conclusion that superhero films mean big business. And when it comes to Amazon’s new action satire, superheroes literally mean business. While the Marvel Cinematic Universe tries to occasionally showcase a realistic view of having superheroes in the actual contemporary world, for the most part, it only manages to touch the surface of the subject. Realism is toned down in exchange for a grander narrative of superheroes saving the day and to portray how they are always fighting for justice.
- What is The Boys about?
- Who are the supes?
- What does the show do differently?
- The Boys is here to stay!
This is where The Boys, Amazon’s brutally entertaining new series comes in. Based on Garth Ennis’s comic of the same name and brought to the screen by Eric Kripke, Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogen, The Boys is for those who love overdosing on great superhero content, but are also ready for a little sinister angle being introduced to their cliched stereotype. The Boys takes our very idea of blind superhero worship and places a real-world mirror around the existence of these god-like figures. This creates a narrative that is violent, darkly comic, uncomfortable even at times, while being extremely entertaining and well versed at taking perfectly aimed digs at our very perception about these superheroes.
What Is The Boys About?
The Boys is set in a world where superheroes are not only real but also corporate-backed narcissists, perverts, and drug addicts. We begin by entering the world of Jack Quaid’s character Hughie, a man who worships superheroes from comics and from his real-world like any one of us. His rainbow coloured outlook is shattered when he becomes an unlucky victim of their unruly powers. The moment when Hughie realises their darker side for the first time through the actions of one of the supes is gruesome, to say the least. This incident eventually leads to Hughie meeting Billy Butcher (Karl Urban), a man with an odd English accent on a mission to take down these supes or Earth’s mightiest heroes.
Who Are The Supes?
Who are these might heroes or supes as they are called in the show? Well, they go by the name of The Seven – a gang of lawless but supremely powerful individuals including spotless All-American leader the Homelander (Antony Starr), Amazon warrior Queen Maeve (Dominique), super-fast A-Train (Jessie T Usher) and underwater hero The Deep (Chace Crawford). Wondering where you’ve heard the descriptions before? Obviously, you are right in making the comparison and that’s entirely the point as well. But unlike the sugar-coated versions of The Avengers or The Justice League, the members of the Seven are a part of a corporate superhero team that sells its services to the highest bidder. They even lobby for the government’s military contracts and cover up the crimes of its member by whatever means necessary (that includes killing politicians and shipping misbehaving heroes off to Ohio where they can’t do any damage).
The highly interesting aspect of the series is the colossus corporate giant called Vought that funds the Seven. Madelyn Stillwell is the woman leading the activities of Vought. Elisabeth Sue brings a great level of intensity to a role originally written to be a man in the comics.
Her character is cold and calculating. She might not have any powers, but with the Seven at the mercy of her orders she’s the most powerful person at Vought, if not the world, who can order a kill by just snapping her fingers.
What Does The Show Do Differently?
The Boys gets increasingly fascinating and engaging with regards to its exploration on the subject of superhero existence and its twisted effects on the worst parts of society. The shows takes a hard look at highly relevant topics like Christian existence and its campaign against homosexuality and abortion, and what happens when super-humans support their beliefs. It reflects the consequences of corporate corruption, workplace harassment, politics, and even military-industrial complex, which in the case of the show turn out to be disastrous.
With that being said, the show does have its fair share of light and gentle moments, which usually come in the form of a budding romance between Hughie and new Seven recruit Starlight (Erin Moriarty). But for most parts, The Boys is unapologetically euphoric through spine-chilling murders and deaths, corporate manipulation, superhero sex (which can also turn violent), and some below-the-belt jokes aimed at The Deep, who is constantly made aware about how useless his fish-friendly powers are in the real world. The Boys also doesn’t shy away from creating uncomfortably hard-hitting scenarios to further establish their themes on abuse of power, and betrayal. The plane rescue scene involving Homelander particularly makes you uneasy establishing the chief of the supes as a terrifying antagonist. What’s brilliant is they use a scenario that many a films have used to establish the superhero as the ultimate saviour.
The Boys Is Here To Stay:
There is absolutely no denying the fact that superhero movies are here to stay. Marvel and DC will continue their quest for box office supremacy. But between the battle of the heavyweights, its great to see a show like The Boys throwing its weight around and making its presence felt. It successfully manages to throw light on our tendencies to blindly follow heroes, while forcing us to consider the consequences of their actions. Now if you think of it, Superman or Iron Man in the real world won’t really be a great idea.