“People love Superheroes, but if you knew half the shit they get up to…fucking diabolical.”
In Amazon Prime’s upcoming show, The Boys, based on Garth Ennis’ and Darick Robertson’s comic of the same name, Superheroes have gone commercial.
Vought, a multi-billion dollar corporation who manages a collection of Supes, their merchandise, their films and most importantly, “The Seven.” “The Seven” a group of Justice League-like Superheroes who are the best of the best. They are the Captain America’s, the Superman’s and Wonder Woman’s of their world. Unlike the glowing optimism and Nazi-punching of your traditional Superheroes though, “The Seven” shows a cynical take on what happens when Superheroes lean too far into the fame, power and money available to them.
Starlight (Erin Moriarty) a young hero who was recently inducted in as the newest member of “The Seven” helps give the audience a window into the world. Moriarty’s performance stands out and I have hopes for her character, even if she was the victim of a rather clumsily executed #MeToo moment in the pilot episode.
Our other gateway into this crazy world is Hughie, (Jack Quaid) a completely normal guy whose life is upended by the carelessness of a Supe. Quaid (the son of Meg Ryan and Dennis Quaid) is very likable and believable as the somewhat meek and mild-mannered Hughie, whose tragedy helps him find his backbone.
Billy Butcher, played with scenery chewing enthusiasm by Karl Urban, a (kind of) FBI agent who approaches Hughie to help him in his quest to bring down shady and unethical Supes. Urban is always a delight to watch onscreen jumps into the role with full force.
Despite a pretty loaded first episode, The Boys was highly entertaining and definitely left me excited for the rest of the episodes to drop. If there is a complaint it’s that there’s just so much material needed to set up this world, that some of the characters get a little short shifted. Queen Maeve (Dominique McElligot) the Wonder Woman stand in has barely two lines in the whole episode. The Homlander (Anthony Starr), this world’s leader of “The Seven” and and obvious play on Superman, also only makes scattered appearances throughout, but what we do see is intriguing.
There is a lack of subtlety in everything. The violent moments are overly violent. One scene in a secret club for Supes features flying sex, a tiny Ant Man-esque character literally diving into a woman’s vagina, and other various scenes of depravity. Another scene, involving one character fighting an invisible man had him spitting blood to make the invisible man visible. The effect was actually pretty cool. It’s a smart move because it let’s the audience know exactly what kind of show they’re watching.
Anyone expecting a more traditional Superhero show is going to be sorely disappointed (and possibly alarmed when you realize that this world’s version of the Invisible Man is often naked and we get a full frontal shot of him most certainly not invisible). The excessive violence and gore is something you would expect from Deadpool or Kick Ass. The Boys is messed up, and that’s why it’s fun. This is not family friendly superhero time.
Given the current state of the world it’s actually not hard to imagine that if Superheroes were real, Disney would find away to commercialize them too. The Boys gives us the Superheroes we deserve right now. Morally bankrupt and corrupt.
The Boys premieres on July 26th on Amazon Prime.