Everywhere you look these days, it’s all about superheroes – tv, cinema, comics, toys, cosplay… Every person on the planet has heard of Batman or Spider-Man, these fictional vigilantes are so embedded into pop culture that it’s hard to think of a world without these characters. Some websites and fan fiction even show we’re at the brink of worshipping these “gods”. When one of these superhero films becomes the highest grossing film at the box office and we get conventions dedicated to these group of talented individuals, that’s where The Boys would step in to shake things up. What would a universe with superheroes actually look like in this day and age?
The Boys is one of the most relevant TV series made in a while. Seth Rogen, Eric Kripke (Supernatural) and Evan Goldberg created the series, which was originally a comic series written by Darick Robertson and Garth Ennis. These “supes” (short for superheroes) have publicists who write apologies for the multiple mistakes these caped crusaders make, and believe me, there’s plenty of those. Accidentally running through normal citizens or not caring enough to save a by terrorists taken over plane, these situations are daily business and some of them are even set up by media outlets to raise their social media following. They look like your usual superheroes, fake and all smiles in your face, but when you look beneath the surface this group of entitled brats are nothing but monsters with too much power.
When the ordinary Hughie Campbell (Jack Quaid) loses his girlfriend in a very bloody way in the hands of speedy superhero A-Train (Jessie Usher), this shakes up his simple life and attracts the attention of Billy Butcher (Karl Urban). Billy used to lead a squad, “The Boys”, to keep an eye on these out-of-control superheroes. While this all develops, the cheerful and starry-eyed Starlight (Erin Moriarty) gets recruited by The Seven, the world’s most famous superhero team. Her team members are the fishy The Deep (Chace Crawford), silent killer Black Noir (Nathan Mitchell), femme fatale Queen Maeve (Dominique McElligott), the invisible Translucent (Alex Hassell) and their leader Homelander (Antony Starr), who looks a lot like the grown up version we recently witnessed in Superman-goes-bad film Brightburn.
Billy’s band of misfits fell apart when his wife tragically passed away after a range of personal events. He’s ready to bring the Boys back together, to fight evil and to expose the biggest conspiracy that could end the world of “supes” once and for all. Mother’s Milk (Laz Alonso) and Frenchie (Tomer Capon) need little convincing to come back from retirement, but soon find a new member in force-to-reckon-with The Female (Karen Fukuhara). The Boys isn’t just a superhero-tale, it’s comedy is so dark and realistic, Marvel Studios could never show this true side of what their heroes are up to behind closed doors. Eyes getting lasered out of skulls, superhero-orgies and lots of guts flying everywhere. Nothing is too crazy for this team.
The world we live in is ruled by pompous people as authority figures, with too much money and time on their hands. Every day we wake up with another celebrity scandal or politician screwing things up. This is exactly what the writers of the show wanted to stay true to, and used this idea but replaced it with superheroes and put them in a position that makes them almost untouchable. Almost I said, because this is about fighting back at those who lost touch with the real world.
The cast is phenomenal. Antony Starr as borderline psychopath Homelander makes your blood boil, while Erin Moriarty is bright and bubbly kicking ass and standing up for herself as Starlight. Karl Urban stands out as Billy Butcher, shooting at everyone who blinks at him and shouting every cuss word you could possibly imagine, while talking about the Spice Girls *chef’s kiss*. Not to forget Oscar-nominated Elisabeth Shue, who plays the icy and mysterious Madelyn Stillwell, Senior Vice President of Superhero Management at Vought. Her character rules the world with Homelander, smiling at the faces of helpless victims.
The Boys is awesome, explosive, gruesome fun that punches you in the gut when you least expect it. Just when you think you’ve seen the craziest stuff happening on screen, just wait until you watch the next episode. Good news, The Boys has been renewed for a second season, so why haven’t you watched it yet?
The Boys is available for streaming on Amazon Prime.
Review by Seth Eelen