The Boys

The Boys

Jul. 25, 2019
Your rating: 8
8.8 6 votes

Creator

Cast

Karl Urban isBilly Butcher
Billy Butcher
Jack Quaid isHughie Campbell
Hughie Campbell
Antony Starr isHomelander
Homelander
Erin Moriarty isAnnie January / Starlight
Annie January / Starlight
Laz Alonso isMother's Milk
Mother's Milk
Tomer Capone isFrenchie
Frenchie
Karen Fukuhara isKimiko / The Female
Kimiko / The Female

Video trailer

Synopsis

A group of vigilantes known informally as “The Boys” set out to take down corrupt superheroes with no more than blue-collar grit and a willingness to fight dirty.

A modern David vs. Goliath battle was born (based on the graphic novel by Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson), but “The Boys” was never purely the meek vs. the mighty. Some heroes, like Starlight (Erin Moriarty) — a Christian supe who can absorb and unleash electricity (and also becomes Hughie’s love interest) — are good, actually, and even the bad ones find reasons (just and otherwise) to squabble with each other. Good or bad, super or not, fights in the Amazon Prime Video original are well-choreographed spectacles, separated from Marvel and DC’s PG-13 friendly brawls by their extreme (though arguably accurate) violence. Showing the brutal consequences, both likely and outlandish, of heat vision and lightning speed allows the black comedy to question our collective fixation on spandex-clad gods while still smiling as their versions smash together like action figures with a healthy VFX budget.

When “The Boys” burst onto the scene three years ago, creator Eric Kripke’s superhero satire thrived, in part, by having its cake and eating it, too. Suddenly, caped crusaders weren’t benevolent helpers, flying in from on high to save pedestrians in peril. They were drunk on power, propped up by corporations cashing in on their image, and disregarding innocent people who get in their way — literally, in the case of A-Train (Jessie T. Usher) and Robin (Jess Salgueiro). The latter’s accidental annihilation sparked Hughie (Jack Quaid), her boyfriend, to seek out the titular Boys — a small batch of vigilantes looking to bring down Vought International and their super-group, The Seven — and have his vengeance on the heroes who, in almost every other cinematic iteration, are here to help.

For the most part, “The Boys” wields its double-edged sword with focused finesse over two increasingly ambitious seasons, and Season 3’s use of orgiastic bloodshed (and one actual orgy) to punch up at its targets is still consistently satisfying. Kripke, serving as showrunner, sets his sights on the widely cited issue of toxic masculinity, embodied by Antony Starr’s narcissistic supervillain Homelander and flashbacks to his predecessor, a worst-case-scenario Captain America called Soldier Boy (played by Jensen Ackles). (There is also an actual toxin, which glows green like nuclear waste, but more on that later.

Using these two “classic” symbols of American patriotism to connect past and present, “The Boys” Season 3 examines how forming a country around the white male ego — and its predilection for lashing out over looking inward — has created quite a few problems. As in the past, the series still enjoys its macho perspective a little too much, producing a few nagging blind spots (in addition to some extremely blunt real-world references). But hey, Season 3 isn’t pulling its punches, and most of them land with an outsized wallop.

The Boys Season 3 Jack Quaid Laz Alonso Karen Fukuhara
Laz Alonso, Karen Fukuhara, and Jack Quaid in “The Boys”Courtesy of Prime Video
Following the events of Season 2 — when Homelander fell in love with Stormfront (Aya Cash), only to discover she’s an actual Nazi hellbent on spreading white supremacy through her massive online community — The Seven and Vought are in damage control mode. Homelander has taken a reputational hit. His all-important approval rating is so low, Starlight has to support his agenda and any promotional spots. She and Hughie are doing well, though it’s a little too easy to spot simmering resentment every time she opens a stubborn jar of jelly for her powerless boyfriend. During the day, Hughie is still working with secret supervillain Victoria Newman (Claudia Doumit) at the Federal Bureau of Superhuman Affairs, where they’re seeing results: Certain errant supes are being held accountable. Collateral damage is down 60 percent. The system appears to be working.

But, as evidenced by Homelander’s beaming smile as much as Hughie’s seeming helplessness, appearances are often deceiving. Behind the scenes, Victoria is working with Vought CEO Stan Edgar (Giancarlo Esposito), who’s pushing a new version of Compound V. The drug that made so many superheroes is now available as a 24-hour hit — one dose and you’ll have powers for a day, before returning to your old, normal self. That’s the idea anyway, and it’s enough for one unlikely customer to cut the line. Billy Butcher (Karl Urban), harboring the mother of all grudges against Homelander, can’t help but wonder what it would be like to land a punch that actually hurt his typically invincible nemesis. Combined with a desperate need to protect his wife’s son Ryan (Cameron Crovetti) and the swearing Brit’s own longstanding, well-documented, all-consuming rage, Billy makes some bad choices in Season 3.

Meanwhile, Kripke & Co. continue to up the ante, if “ante” means “barrels and barrels of fake blood.” Season 2’s snake-penis reappears in later episodes, though it’s upstaged in spectacular, horrifying fashion during the premiere’s opening scene. Sound effects feature an extra squish. Explosions blast limbs an extra mile (or 10). Beatings are so regular they’re actually used as reference points. “The Boys” has never been an action series for the squeamish, but Season 3’s savagery both raises the bar and begs the question how much higher it can (and should) go.

The Boys
The Boys
The Boys
The Boys
The Boys
The Boys
The Boys
The Boys
The Boys
The Boys
Original title The Boys
TMDb Rating 8.472 8,506 votes
First air date Jul. 25, 2019
Last air date Jul. 07, 2022
Seasons 4
Episodes 26
Average Duration 60 minutes

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