The Boys (Seasons 1-2-3) ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Review by Andrea Carnevali
A group of vigilantes set out to take down corrupt superheroes who abuse their superpowers. Available to watch on Amazon Prime.
Warning: this review may contain harsh language, in keeping with the series.
With the superheroes fatigue we’re experiencing, both on TV and on the big screen, one might be excused for thinking “Do we really need another series about people in silly costumes and capes?” Well, having just finished watching all the three available seasons of The Boys, my answer is a resounding “Yes!”
I am also VERY aware that this might not be for everyone: if you’re particularly squeamish, if you’re disturbed by foul language and sex on screen, if you are a bit uptight and if violence (albeit, over-the-top violence) is not for you, then you might want to skip this.
However, you’ll be missing one of the most provocative, outrageous, shocking, clever and funniest things I’ve seen on TV, probably ever.
Adapted from the graphic novel with the same name by writer Garth Ennis and artist Darick Robertson, The Boys puts a pretty dark spin on your typical band-of-superheroes storyline. The hook is pretty simple: what if the likes of Superman, Aquaman, the Flash and so on (or the equivalent of those in this case) were complete and utter arseholes? After all, why should villains always get to have all the fun?
In an imagined world run by greedy corporations (not too much of a stretch there), from the outside this group of individuals with amazing powers might look like your average X-Men or Avengers, but in fact they are a bunch of liars, egocentric, chauvinistic, misogynists, obnoxious, cocky and mostly rather dumb characters.
But this is not just a parody for its own sake. The beauty of The Boys is not just how it manages to deconstruct both superheroes and superhero culture (including its crazed fandom), but also how it is a sharp satirical commentary on corporate power, religion, military, greedy pharmaceutical companies and exploitation of all of the above, seen through some undiluted and harsh cynicism.
This series assumes Marvel and DC are basically for kids, so here is finally something for real adults and if you have a problem with that “You can fuck right off”.
The show starts with a bang (literally) and never lets go after that. Within the first few minutes of the first season a young girl explodes right in front her boyfriend’s eyes, as superhero A-Train literally runs through her at super-speed just when the two are about to kiss. Poor Hughie, the boyfriend, is left in shock standing on the pavement still holding her hands as the blood splashes everywhere.
It’s a typical shocking, outrageous and creative death, the likes of which fills the show.
In season three Termite shrinks down and jumps into his partner’s penis to give him pleasure (yes, you heard me right). When he suddenly sneezes (irritated by the cocaine he’s just snorted), he regrows in size making his partner’s body explode.
Also in season 3, an episode called Herogasm features a massive party/orgy among superheroes, including somebody with a three metre long penis, the memory of which will probably scarred me for life.
And these are just three tiny example in some of the wildest, most visceral and entertaining 24 hours I’ve ever seen in my life.
Now you’ve been warned.
The Boys indeed dares to go not just where no other show went before, but where you never thought it would be possible even to conceive anything like this.
And yet, beyond the provocation, the ultra-violence, the gore, the profanity (one character utters so many C-words per episodes that after a while you almost become desensitised to it), this is actually a lot more clever that you might think: a real breath of fresh air and an utter delight from start to finish.
It may not always hit the mark, but it gets bloody close most times.
And this is without even mentioning the great acting from some of the cast (the guy who play the archvillain The Homelander really deserves some awards), the astonishing production values, especially the visual effects and the sharp, witty, audacious and insanely creative script.
This quickly moved from “Guilty Pleasure” to “Must watch” within a few episodes, and three seasons in, it doesn’t seem to have lost its edge.
The perfect antidote to unwind from the madness that surrounds us all in the real world.
Andrea Carnevali is a Bafta winning film maker who lives in Chiswick.
The Boys is available to watch on Amazon Prime.
See all Andrea’s film reviews here: Film reviews by Andrea Carnevali
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