Damson - What we're watching... #5
We saw The Boys described as "The perfect therapy for chronic superhero fatigue", and we'd have to agree. While we love (most) superhero movies and series, you can't disagree that there are an absolute shit load to choose from, and it can sometimes get a little samey. That's where The Boys comes in.
This wickedly dark, hilariously funny, irreverent adaption of a comic book series of the same name is just what the doctor ordered. One of the co-creators, Garth Ennis, is also one of the minds behind Preacher, so if you are aware of that, you know roughly what to expect, especially in terms of extreme violence, gore, and sexual content.
The story of The Boys is that being a Superhero (Supe) is big business, and there is a group of the best and brightest that call themselves "The Seven", who are represented by a super corporation and have had their image commercialised in a way that would make Marvel blush. Talk show appearances, brand endorsements, and movies mean that these guys, these assets, must be protected at all costs. You'll recognise who "The Seven" are supposed to be. There's an Aquaman rip off, a Wonder Woman rip off, and best of all, a sleazy, perverted, narcissistic Captain America/Superman hybrid called Homelander, played by Anthony Starr, who may well just steal the show (Catch him in Banshee if you get the chance). The fact that the viewer is supposed to recognise these guys is part of the fun.
The titular "Boys" are a rag-tag bunch working to expose the Superheroes, as the corrupt, criminal, egotistical sociopaths that they are. It's not as easy as that though with the protection that these super-powered cash cows have though, and soon the best-laid plans go awry, resulting in all sorts of gruesome, ultraviolent and at times hilarious set-pieces. The backstories for The Boys are kept mostly mysterious, especially Billy (Played with a very Cockney accent by Karl Urban), at least until the last few episodes when you start to understand his motivation a little more. You can see that he is more than just a madman with a singular focus.
Karl Urban and Anthony Starr apart, the cast is pretty eclectic. Erin Moriarty, Elizabeth Shue, Chace Crawford, and Jack Quaid all play their parts fantastically well and lend so much to the story. Quaid especially, as unassuming everyman Hughie, goes on the biggest transformation. He starts the series as a wet-behind-the-ears home cinema salesman and ends it with a lot of blood on his hand and a pretty broken moral compass (I'm sure there's something in there we can relate to...)
The Boys is designed to be unapologetically blunt with an undercurrent of social commentary, and it delivers on both fronts. It has the potential to be a long-running series, just like Ennis' previous creation Preacher. The fact that it was renewed for season two the day season one was launched. Operating on a few different levels, The Boys is the classic "Getting the band back together" story, but at the same time also a love story and also a huge conspiracy thriller. Whether you think the comparisons to Preacher and Watchmen are good or bad things, none of that really matters as The Boys really stands up on its own and is well worth 8 hours of your time.
October 19, 2019