The Boys is an ongoing buzz and a major iconoclast series in the superhero genre shown on the OTT platform Amazon Prime.
This show is mainly adapted from the comic book series of the same name by Garth Ennis, who also happens to be the mastermind behind the current antihero form of ‘The Punisher’ that comic book fans know today.
Though published in 2006, the adaptation of it perfectly mirrors the present societal problems in America and around the world by portraying the Machiavellian side of humans.
Like Watchmen, The Boys also explores the grey area of superheroes’ morality. In The Boys, the superhero charade is about maintaining their public image and continuously feeding corporate greed.
In this universe, American capitalism has a strong influence on superheroes. They can’t save the world without their corporate bosses’ permission, and they must work in the corporation’s best interest.
The evil corporation here is ‘Vought,’ led by Madison Stillwell, which aims to influence the business and politics of America and often make superheroes do their dirty jobs.
This show parodies many popular comic book series and their shows. Like Justice League, The Boys have The Seven, owned by Vought Corporation.
The group is led by Homelander, the strongest member of this group. He may have Superman-like powers, but he has no sense of honour or care for humanity.
Being the most powerful human in the world creates a God complex in him, dangerously paired with abandonment issues created in childhood. As the show progresses, he becomes more ruthless and self-centred, earning much hatred from the rest of his colleagues, and they even plot against him.
Their foolproof charades ultimately get noticed by someone. The eponymous The Boys is a group of anti-superheroes or ‘anti-supes’ led by Billy Butcher, a former British SAS operative.
Fueled by revenge against Homelander, he leads the group with an aim - “spank when they get out of line.” He enlists many of his former colleagues and new members, waging war against supes and the evil corporation.
Since the first season, this show depicts continuous fights between The Boys and The Seven. The battles are not the typical good vs evil, as both leaders Billy Butcher and Homelander resort to dirty tactics to secure a win, even if it has to sacrifice innocents.
Butcher also enlists help from the newest member of the Seven Starlight, who initially wanted to do what a real superhero does but ends up in the war.
The Boys also tells the backstory of members from both sides, possibly to gain empathy from the audience. The stories are often traumatising, but their present wrongdoings always outweigh their seemingly earned compassion.
The third season presents the audience with a solution to defeat the ruthless Homelander, Soldier Boy, a superhero from another time. But the season ends with a twist that gives Homelander a win and also patching up with his super-powered son Ryan, introduced in the 2nd season.
With Victoria Neumann running as Vice President with Homelander on her side, will The Boys have a final solution to defeat him? Only season 4 can answer that.
The show leaves no stone unturned to depict the current world’s political and societal problems. Predatory corporations, American gun problems, greedy and hypocritical televangelists, and people with power only caring about public image - are all shown in The Boys in the darkest and the goriest possible ways.
The cast in this show is perfect; Antony Starr and Karl Urban play their roles of Homelander and Billy Butcher spectacularly. No other actor can ever portray the ruthless and power-hungry side of Homelander that Starr perfectly managed to do.
Nevertheless, The Boys is an exceptional superhero series certainly not for the weak-hearted.