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Series Review: The Boys

Written by tha - bang from the blog Movies and Things with Thabang on 19 Aug 2019
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2019 has been a great year for comic book fans on the small screen. The year has given us Umbrella Academy on Netflix, which was well executed. We have HBO continuing the story of the comic book series with the upcoming Watchmen.

Now the guys who gave us Preacher on Amazon have been tasked with another series that has Preacher sensibilities but in the comic book universe.

Does it work? Let's dig in... 

In 2006 Garth Ennis, the same guy who wrote the story for the Preacher graphic novel, released his new graphic novel The Boys aimed at the superhero genre, with Darick Robertson on the artwork.

The graphic novel was profane, violent, you name it... as he satirised the superhero genre before the MCU was to become a thing. Ennis took pop shots at the amalgamation of the DC Justice League team, the Avenger crew and the Bush administration.

It's fitting that Eric Kripke (the man behind Supernatural - the series) would team up with Seth Rogen (the guy behind Garth Ennis' other adaptation) to keep to the tone of The Boys comic book whilst skipping some storylines to make one hell of a comic book satire series that says a lot about celebrity, church and sporting culture and how overly commercialised they are.

In one corner you have Homelander, who is basically a mash-up of Superman and Captain America but without any of those character's virtues.

The series makes us imagine what would happen if such a being existed in this world... how would big business and government exploit their existence? How would humanity deal with their god-like abilities?

The Boys gives us a harsh answer to all those questions, all covered in laughter of course, but which still cuts deep. It reflects on how sports has turned athletes into comodities and products to be traded and sold e.g. A-Train, the speedster of the group, showcases the pressure that a world class athlete faces today.

The character of Starlight showcases how the commercialization of church has not just perverted the message but how it lends itself to hyrocrisy. Starlight's story also touches on the topical #MeToo movement as it relates to sexual exploitation in the world of entertainment.

The Boys makes these clever comments with each of the Seven heroes' story arcs and their nemeses, the aptly named crew "The Boys",  led by Billy Butcher as Karl Urban.

Karl has a hell of a time as an ex-CIA operative who incorporates Jack Quaid's Hughie Campbell character on a mission of vengeance.

There are no outright good guys in this series, Billy and Hughie are morally compromised with each step as they take revenge on the supes behaving badly. The laughs are diabolical whether it be jokes based aound sexual harrassment to infants being used as weapons of mass destruction. The humour is dark but enjoyable.

Antony Starr is brilliant as the psycopath Homelander, who on the outside is the perfect classic super hero with blonder hair nogal. Starr gives him menace and a don't care attitude that's charming and scary at the same time.

Erin Moriarty as Starlight is the perfect white girl next door without coming across as cheesy. Jessie T Usher as A-Train clearly enjoys the dramatic beats. He's able to flex more than his comedic timing. And Jack Quaid can give Edward Norton a run for his money when it comes to playing the loser average guy.

Yes, the series is violent, yes, it is grossly funny but, like The Boondocks, it is easy to miss some of the gems that it delivers about modern day USA.

What it points out about the underbelly of celebrity culture and the commodification of it, whether it be in church, politics or sports, is aptly commented on through the action and humour.

It's a good thing that Amazon is already shooting Season 2 because the series ends on one great cliffhanger, just like Umbrella Academy that leaves one wanting more.

Makes me wonder if Watchmen will be able to match up or supercede what Umbrella Academy and The Boys have done.

It felt like: a more pop Watchmen, littered with dark humour that's actually funny

Trivia: In the comics Hughie Campbell is modeled on Simon Pegg who plays Jack Quaid's dad in the TV series. The infamous plane crash was actually a 9/11 event in the comic book which the seven messed up.

* Trash **You are on your own ***ja nee ****Almost Perfect *****Classic

Actors in this post: Karl Urban, Simon Pegg


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