'The Boys' season 1 is a must-watch dark comedy that looks hard at everything we've missed while obsessing over superheroes
What if superheroes were not driven by their good intentions, but power? What if saving the world wasn't what they intended but use their superpowers to manipulate the world into believing the heroes out there would save the world from harm? Amazon Prime's 'The Boys', which received a renewal for season 2 even before the show premiered, delves exactly into this.
The show is rough on the edges, and the absurdity of the idea initially charms you enough to keep you hooked and then it gives us a morbid look at what could really happen if superheroes didn't fight for the greater good of the world.
Parallels could easily be drawn between the show's superheroes - Vought's Seven - who are corrupt, power-hungry and greedy, and the real-world politicians who succeed by marketing themselves more than anything else.
The corporate superhero company that owns the Seven - Homelander (Antony Starr), Deep (Chase Crawford), Translucent, Queen Maeve (Dominique McElligott), Starlight (Erin Moriarty), A-Train (Jesse Usher) and Black Noir (Nathan Mitchell) - uses them like they would a weapon of choice.
It is run by Madeline Stillwell (Elisabeth Shue) who packages the superheroes as a brand, puts a figure of worth, and controls them to perform for the camera. If and when each of them are out of control, Madeline has a sure-fire way of controlling them and that is by putting their reputation at risk.
If a superhero's reputation comes into question, his entire career goes up in flames and that is exactly what being a superhero means - a fast track route to attain fame, wealth and success. The superheroes we know of so far symbolize hope and dreams. When different heroes come together for a cause, there is a sense of brotherhood, maybe some friendly competition but at the end, when there is victory, there is a sense of jubilation but none of that will be a part of 'The Boys', at least not on the Superheroes' side of the story.
In 'The Boys', the heroes manipulate each other's position by going to Madeline with secrets about one another. Homelander, the leader of the Seven needs to be pampered, indulged and is struggling through insecurities.
He also has an unhealthy obsession with his boss that is disturbing to watch play out. This man is supposed to be a stand-up guy who would do anything to save the world, but what he really is, is a man who is sick and who heads an arrogant bunch of people.
Starlight is the only exception in this bunch of superheroes that live solely on marketing their brand rather than actually saving people. This is, however, only because she is a new addition who is idealistic about being a party to something that allows them to save the world.
The disillusionment hasn't set in yet and that's what puts her in the same boat as us in understanding Vought. While the superheroes are faking it all, we have a bunch of men working together to bring the Seven down because the series begins with a call for revenge.
Billy Butcher (Karl Urban) has manipulated a sales guy, Hughie Campbell (Jack Quaid), at an electronics shop into working with him in bringing the Seven down and claims to be a federal agent. Here is where it all gets twisted, and it is this twisted and dark journey you enjoy most. The morbid treatment of a mundane storyline adds a zing to this anti-superhero show and makes this satire a must-watch.
'The Boys' is set to premiere July 26 on Amazon Prime Videos.