The Boys is an Amazon Prime original show based off the Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson comic book series of the same name.
In a world of superheroes and super-villains, The Boys poses the question of how would these heroes work in a society run by corporate organisations. So basically, what if there were superheroes but in the real world?
It’s dark, gritty, and a lot of fun.
I had reservations about the show when Season One aired last year. I knew it was violent and grim so I made the assumption that the show probably wasn’t for me.
One and a half seasons later, I am hooked on the show. It is incredibly well-written, and poses some fascinating questions about just how realistic ‘superheroes’ are portrayed. What happens when they get managed by businesses and branding? What happens when superheroes decide not to play by the rules?
A lot of blood, that’s what.
So to help you answer this very pressing question, and to hopefully get you on board, I’ve written down a mini spoiler-free review about how great this show is and why you need to watch it.
What’s it about?
Hugh Campbell is nothing more than a timid awkward AV worker with a girlfriend, that is, until she is murdered on the street as ‘collateral damage’ by a superhero (dubbed ‘supes’). Hugh meets with Butcher (played by Karl Urban), and alongside some very likeable crew members, they work together to take down The Seven.
The Seven is basically this franchise’s version of the Justice league, only difference being that they’re run by a corporate organisation looking for profit and sponsorship deals. Lots of their interviews and news reports are staged to make them appear like heroes, and in return Vought (the company) gets everything from merchandising to film adaptations.
Also their version of Superman is a homicidal maniac.
How exactly does a ragtag team of mere humans go against over-powered ‘supes’? How do they take down a large and influential company?
Well, not very well. It’s mishap after mishap, but that makes for some binge-worthy storytelling.
So it’s a superhero show?
Well, yes and no. There are definitely superhero characters and the show has its fair share of superhero action sequences, but The Boys tackles themes not addressed in say a DC or Marvel property, the inherent evil in people and the corporate greed of companies. If anything, the show is more a satire exploring how a world run by superheroes is far from a dream.
But the real characters of the show are humans, the people with nothing more than their own fists and a mouthful of vengeance. Take Butcher for example. Due to a tragic backstory that costed him a loved one, he’s a man seeking revenge. He’ll do whatever it takes to take down Vought, even if it means costing the lives of other people and himself along the way.
How violent is it?
This was actually a fairly big concern for me, as someone who is not particularly fond of watching anything with too much gory violence. Let me just say that the show does not hold back. There is plenty of blood and guts spilled, not to mention broken bones and a lot of distressing sequences.
In fact, I’d argue it’s so violent it’s almost comedic.
But the violence serves a purpose. Homelander for example is this show’s evil Superman and terrifying main antagonist. Anthony Starr’s portrayal is horrifyingly unhinged and his two-faced character dynamic proves him to be an unpredictable villain. He also has the power to violently murder anyone at any second, so there’s that sense of threat too.
So to answer your question, yes it is violent. Very violent. But I definitely wouldn’t let this hold you back from what is otherwise a fantastic show. The violence, though gratuitous at times, definitely serves a purpose for the plot and further reinforces the gritty world that The Boys is set in.
So just how good is the show?
In a time period where screens are being dominated by superhero films and TV shows, The Boys provides a different perspective, forcing audiences to address another very real possibility that a world with super powers is in fact a nightmare.
It’s a breeding ground for corporate schemes and alleged ‘superheroes’ to take matters into their own hands when they don’t feel like playing by the rules.
The characters are likeable, the villains are terrifying and unpredictable. The script is well-written and the visual effects are fantastic.
Definitely check it out, it’s a great premise.
Season Two of The Boys is now streaming in Amazon Prime Video.