The Boys: The Cynical Cultural Critique Has Never Been More Fitting
Well, I binged on The Boys yesterday. I was looking forward to watching this show for months now, and now that it’s here… well, I can honestly say that I love it. My fiancée had reservations regarding the TV show, especially because it’s produced by Seth Rogen Evan Goldberg (he has a heavy disdain toward the duo after they butchered his Preacher) but hey. He was willing to at least try it. We’re both fans of Karl Urban so we thought… Hey, how bad could it be?. Well, again he found fault with the show (many of them) but he was pleased with The Boys overall.
As was I to be honest. The comic books were created I time of history where their consumers and fans even were fed up with super-hero comics. The Boys was a direct response to that over-saturation. The super-hero culture had to be crushed and The Boys is the direct product of that rebellion. And in 2006, the year that the first comic book was published the comic book fans were fed up with them. Super-heroes I mean.
And in the Boys, superheroes are not just there to serve and to protect. No. They’re real-life celebrities that give speeches, attend make-a-wish charity events and pose for selfies with fans on a daily basis. Rings any bells?
Little that we know that in 2019, more than a decade after the first Iron Man was released and the MCU started their cinematic dominance, we would be fed up with super-heroes again. And we are, to be honest. Although the current box office numbers don’t show it, there’s an overall notion of MEH when it comes to the super-heroes movies. Most of our excitement is starting to fade away when it comes to the upcoming movies from the next Marvel cinematic phase. Or the recent reboot of the Fantastic Four franchise. Or whether or not The Rock delivers a decent Black Adam.
The Boys couldn’t encapsulate our over-saturation with super-heroes better, to be honest. It’s the perfect TV metaphor for the state of today’s super-heroes. Yes, I’m well aware that caped super-heroes are not among us. They may not fly around us, and they do not save people. But the super-heroes (the movie super-heroes) that generations and generations grew up with may as well be alive and well among us. We see them almost daily in the movie theaters, we read about their upcoming movies, and there’s an entire PR/corporate machinery behind them dedicated to maintaining their perfect wholesome image. And it’s been the case for 11 years now.
And I’m also aware that we’ve seen our fair share of bad super-heroes. Super-heroes like Deadpool who despite being morally corrupt and totally inept, have some redeeming qualities that make them bearable, to say the least. Likable is a stretch, but I’m gonna roll with it.
But aside from being a cultural critique, The Boys is social critique as well. It’s aimed at the ones who abuse their power; it’s aimed at the corrupted, the ones pulling the strings with their dirty and the manipulating tricks. And although we’ve seen some super-heroes that transitioned to anti-hero archetype, almost none of the super-heroes in The Boys have any redeeming qualities.
They remain douches and none of them has any conscience, guilt or remorse. I couldn’t help but bring up the scene in which the A-Train (played by Jessie Usher) doesn’t even remember meeting Hughie (Jack Quaid) just hours prior in order to APOLOGISE for the death of his girlfriend (which A Train caused by the way. That 5-second meeting was an obligation that he had to complete and after those 5 seconds, he doesn’t exist anymore. He erases the ordinary person from his memory.
No. The Boys explores the dark side of the super-heroes. The one that we rarely get to see in the PG movies. They’re raging narcissists, full-blown sociopaths that are either in the closet or addicted to hard drugs in order to maintain that façade of all American wholesome image. Here in The Boys, we get to see that with great powered really comes great responsibility, but all heroes abide by that rule.
The acting is really good ( I loved Laz Alonso, Karl Urban and Tomer Kapon’s input in the acting department), the CGI is excellent and I really appreciated the addition of Simon Pegg in the cast.
The Boys is deep, dark, and at times bizarre take on the super-hero genre on the surface but underneath the surface is a cynical cultural critique about the people who do more than abuse their power. I can’t wait for Season 2.