Amazon Primes The Boys takes place in a world where superheroes and capitalism are BFFs. Much like the real world where popular characters are, well, capitalized on, The Boys follows the lives of a group (or a League, eh?) of superheroes who are used by their agency to churn out money-making franchises. Sound similar? It’s like Marvel Studios making movies on their characters, but the characters actually exist in our world.
Superheroes are taking over the world. Both on the big screen with giant studios like Marvel and on the smaller scale with DC’s myriad of shows, the comic-book genre is more lively than ever. However, it’s getting harder to get fresh concepts based around the idea of superheroes. Thankfully, The Boys is here to deliver a tale like no other.
So what’s the catch? Well, to put it plainly, the superheroes here aren’t exactly well-intentioned. The Boys is an adaptation of the comic-book series by Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson. As such, the show largely follows the narrative laid out by the comics, albeit with some minor changes to the canon. We follow Hughie (Jack Quaid), who after witnessing the murder of his girlfriend at the hands of one of The Seven, vows to take revenge of the Supes by partnering with a mysterious ally in Karl Urban’s Billy Butcher.
At the same time, we also follow the narratives of the individual members of The Seven, each giving us a view of the corrupt world in which our superheroes reside. But not all of The Seven are evil. Most of them are dealing with their own demons, and the show takes it upon itself to make us aware of that.
Prime among these are the tales of Hughie and Annie January, Homelander and Billy Butcher. While I already mentioned Hughie and Billy, I think I won’t do justice to this review if I don’t touch upon Annie aka Starlight, and Homelander – Vought International’s public star and a pseudo-Superman for all intents and purposes.
As The Boys presents a world where superheroes are a normal thing, we start off with Annie’s (Erin Moriarty) naive ambitions of joining The Seven, the world’s best group of superheroes. It is through Annie’s eyes that we get a sneak peek into the ugly world of superhero consumerism. Hell, there’s even a dig taken at the MCU here with the show having its own in-canon cinematic universe churning out films for profitability. And with the show not exactly pandering to a teen audience, it gets dirty when it needs to. In fact, it’s hard to recount even a single sentence out of Kar Urban’s mouth without including at least one cuss word. But then again, it’s part of the show and the character’s charm.
Homelander (Antony Starr), on the other hand, is one of the most complex characters ever put on screen when it comes to superhero properties and their adaptations. On the surface, he may look like an obvious Superman caricature, but hidden deep inside him are a myriad of bottled up experiences that make Homelander a force to be reckoned with.
Aside from crazy superhero antics, there’s also a good number of surprises and heart-warming interactions in those surprises in The Boys. For one, Simon Pegg stars in it! And while his role here isn’t as big as you would expect, with him playing Hughie’s father, we fully expect to see more focus put on him next season.
With a good blend of dark meta-humor as well as tackling more serious topics, Amazon Prime’s The Boys does whatever it can to distinguish itself from its rivals in the comic-book adaptation genre. And fortunately, it passes with flying colors.