FILM & TV
Have you seen The Boys?
Words by Nathan Irvine
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Amazon Prime’s original series completely flips the script on the superhero genre. Instead of the goody two-shoes portrayal of death-defying heroics, The Boys paints them as deeply flawed and rather sinister beings. And I love it.
It’s based on a graphic novel series of the same name, which was created by Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson back in 2006. The titular “Boys” is a rag tag group of superhero hunters, hell-bent on uncovering their dirty side for the world to see. They’re regular humans who do not possess special powers. Basically, they rely on their wits to try and get one over on the “Supes”.
The gang leader is the grizzly Billy Butcher who’s played by Karl Urban (Judge Dredd). His British accent is Dick van Dyke levels of awful, but doesn’t make the character any less intriguing.
Butcher’s team consists of Hughie (Jack Quaid), Frenchie (Tomer Capon), the Female (Karen Fukuhara) and the interestingly named Mother’s Milk (Laz Alonso). The way the squad comes together plays out perfectly. You’ll find yourself rooting for them and their seemingly impossible task from the off.
The Boys are trying to reel in The Seven. Led by the invincible Homelander (Anthony Starr), a Superman-esque character, the septet is supposed to be the saviours of the world. The arbiters of truth and justice. You know, the heroes? But behind the scenes they’re just puppets for a corporation that dictate every aspect of their public image in return for billions of dollars. They’re essentially influencers controlled by the quietly terrifying Madelyn (Elisabeth Shue). It’s quite the concept.
The Deep (Chace Crawford), Black Noir (Nathan Mitchell), Translucent (Alex Hassell) A-Train (Jessie T. Usher), Queen Maeve (Dominique McElligott) and newcomer Starlight (Erin Moriarty) make up The Seven. All of which have troubling issue that they can barely conceal when the limelight is off them.
What’s great about The Boys is its unflinching approach to on-screen violence. Every blood splattered fight scene carries weight in a unique fashion. They’re also chock full with shocking moments – escalating in gruesomeness and hilarity in equal measure. I won’t spoil it here, but the weapon that Butcher uses during the fight in a hospital made me erupt into laughter.
There’s a tonne of depth to each character in the roster, which a rarity in modern TV. While you could easily make a spin-off shows on each of them, the fact we have it all in one neat bundle is exceptional. Sure, some scenes needlessly drag out a point or provide unnecessary juxtaposition for the plot, but The Boys is mostly lean like a prime filet.
If you need a superhero fix now that the cinematic Marvel run has come to an end, then give The Boys a try. Just don’t expect too many happy endings here.
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