Amazon Prime Studios
In movies and television, the superhero genre feels that everything the viewer watches blends together — Once you see one, it feels like you’ve seen them all. And with major comic book companies like DC and Marvel having unlimited stories to adapt in both movie and television, it might be time for something new. That’s where the Amazon original “The Boys” comes around — They take everything you expect to see in a typical superhero archetype and throw it out the window, because this has none of it.
Adapted from the comic book series with the same name, “The Boys” takes the viewer to a more realistic world in which superheroes actually exist. Imagine the purely heroic stories of heroes like Batman, Aquaman, Wonderwoman, and the purest one of them all, Superman. Mix that with the scariest, scum-of-the-earth people, and you have the supposed heroes of this universe.
“The Boys” answers the question of what would happen if the Justice League was real and they were under the control of a huge corporation akin to Disney. The heroes (also known as The Seven) are controlled under the huge corporation known as Vought — the corporation that decides which location the superheroes end up in, how they act, and even which movies they star in. Vought’s objectives are to make their heroes look good so that Americans will feel safe and spend money on them.
However, are those heroes happy to work and save the day every day because they feel like it is their duty, having been chosen “by God” to be heroic? Absolutely not. The heroes in “The Boys” have the biggest egos in believing that they can do whatever they want and can get away with anything as long as they have Vought on their side.
The team after which the series is named, The Boys, are all humans who were brought together by the CIA with one goal: to expose how corrupt Vought and The Seven really are.
Leading The Boys is Billy Butcher (played by Karl Urban), who purely hates any living breathing superhero that exists. He does not care whether or not the hero is actually good or not — He wants them all dead. And rightfully so — Billy knows that Vought has something to do with the disappearance of his wife, who he believes is still out there, alive. Billy’s seven-year-long vendetta takes a turn in his favor when he meets Hughie Campbell. Hughie (played by Jack Quaid) lived an average life until, in one the most iconic moments of the first season, he lost his girlfriend in a freak accident involving a member of the Seven. After that, Hughie went from an everyday fan to an enemy of the Seven.
The series takes advantage of their 18+ streaming rating — Every episode spares no expense when showing how violent heroes could truly be if they used these powers for evil. Even though it takes place in a fictional world, the series acts as a reminder of real-life issues. The series touches contemporary social issues: capitalism, corporate greed, racism, and the #MeToo movement.
Not only are the main human characters considered to be underdogs, but the series as a whole is a dark horse. It is competing with the giants that are Marvel and the DC Universe. It’s a series based on a comic book with an only 14-year history that does not come from a huge publishing company like Marvel and DC, and it’s streaming on Amazon Prime, which might not have the popularity that streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and more recently Disney Plus, do.
With what is going on in the world, it seems like the superhero craze has taken a pause. With new content taking longer than planned to come out, it might be time to check out something completely different.
“The Boys” offers both hardcore and casual superhero fans and viewers a very different kind of story. The superhero genre will probably never go away, but it is time for people to see a real dark and gritty side of it that the world has never been shown before.