I had no idea what to expect when watching The Boys, an Amazon Prime series which I’ve just finished in 2 days. It was briefly sold to me as being a dark show about superheroes, and hearing it was a combination of two of my favourite kinds of media combined into one, I was immediately excited.
This series definitely didn’t disappoint. It’s so original, so full of comic-book brilliance from start to finish of all 8 episodes that it quickly became one of my all-time favourites. I read and watched Umbrella Academy recently, and I got exactly the same vibes as in The Boys; the superhero genre, twisted and bent out of place to create a glorious, dark side of the superhero tropes. It’s perfect, and just the sort of show that I hadn’t realised, wished existed.
Essentially, this show is about a group of superheroes who are the public’s sweetheart, commercialised, superpowered, lifesaving heroes who are controlled and every move dictated by the company that owns them, Vought. We quickly discover that these superheroes – of whom there are seven, hence the group is aptly named ‘the 7’ – have a much darker side, and are not as pristine as the public is led to believe. A group of vigilantes are working to uncover this conspiracy, who are affectionately, and unofficially, known as ‘the boys’.
Every part of this show is great – the acting, production, writing, the graphic-novel stylisation (it’s based on comics, of which I haven’t read but plan to at my earliest convenience). The gory violence, for example, is sickeningly fantastic. It’s disgusting but so satisfying, proper comic-book style goriness. If you can’t stomach a lot of blood, this isn’t the show for you.
These are vivid, creative characters – most of them a clear satire of, or at least based on, more recognised superhero characters we see in the likes of Marvel and DC. Except we get to see further into the personality and psyche of these characters, rather than just seeing them saving the day. We see them in their everyday lives, behind the scenes, see them doing all the fucked up things the public doesn’t see.
The narrative of this film twists and turns, full of unpredictable moments and shocking revelations intersected with foreshadowing and intricate relationships which grip you and make you really invested in their outcome. Regularly you react with audible gasps, laughs, exclamations of awesomeness or shock.
For comic-book fans, superhero fans, fans of dark plots and surprising narratives… The Boys is for you. It’s immensely enjoyable, superbly well-made and addictive. Bring on season 2.