Ever wonder how superheroes might look in the actual world? Would they be the beacons of hope that groups like The Avengers and Justice League provide their various fictional universes? Maybe they would be selfish? The Boys answers some of these questions with more detail than you might hope for. Last Friday wrapped up season two of Amazon Prime Video’s popular series, based on the comic book series of the same name created by Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson of Dynamite Entertainment. In this world, we see the consequences of the commercialization of those with metahuman abilities, and the unhealthy fandom and ego trips that emerge.
The Boys center around Hughie Campbell and his mission to avenge his girlfriend’s death. Her killer is A-Train of “The Seven” (their version of the Justice League) who ran through her at super speed. From that point on Hughie teams up with Billy Butcher, Mother’s Milk and Frenchie, all of whom have their own personal vendettas with heroes (or “supes” as they call them). After a dramatic finish to season one, the boys are now some of the world’s most wanted criminals, but still hope to bring down the supe community, which is led by megacompany Vought International. Intriguingly, The Seven and Vought are the villains of this series. Despite masking themselves as working for the good of humanity, these superheroes such as Homelander (likened to Superman) are ruthless behind the camera.
Season two cements The Boys as the most interesting superhero show airing right now because of its real-life application. Vought isn’t just a superhero company, it’s a pharmaceutical company which exploits young children with a drug called Compound V which enables them to have superhuman abilities. This reveal of the series adds a deeper layer to the show, making it a war against Big Pharma rather than just another episode of defeating the same villains. Congress and the government get involved when the company messes up, just like how they’d do the major tech companies of today such as Amazon and Facebook. The story is gripping, and enjoyable throughout all of its eight episodes.
The cast is amazing, yet again. Homelander serves as one of the most menacing on-screen villains on any screen right now. His dominating powers over everyone else makes him the scariest of them all. The other members of The Seven shine as well, most particularly Starlight, who is in a romance with Hughie. Billy Butcher, who might be seen as the second leading man on the show, nails his lines and his snarky British attitude well, and his mission to look for his missing wife grounds him as one to empathize with despite his cruel nature. The new cast members make their mark as well. Giancarlo Esposito plays Stan Edgar, the CEO of Vaught. Introduced as well is a new member of The Seven, Stormfront, who’s electricity powers and hidden secrets make her a highlight of the series thus far. Overall, The Boys goes to show that real life application of superheroes would ultimately result in mass marketing, heightened ego’s and constant human rights violations.
What takes this show to the next level is the heights of craziness it’s willing to achieve. The violence in this show is unique to others. Heads and bodies get blown up as a result of superhuman abilities, arms get chopped off, and throughout all of it, it maintains its entertainment value. Ideas are brought to the table that are much more than for shock value purposes, but to truly prove how crazy this world would be if it had active superheroes. The only major downsides are that the show still seems to underuse Queen Maeve (who resembles powers of Wonder Woman). She is a great character but only seems to warrant attention for her personal story outside of hero work. Hughie is also a lacking lead character. Everyone else somehow always seems to be much more important than him. Regardless, The Boys remains a must watch yet again, especially to fans of comic book inspired characters.