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Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

Feb 21, 2021



‘THE BOYS’ is an Amazon Prime TV series with a unique concept about role reversals. Superheroes are now the abusive, arrogant villains in the show and their nemesis is a group of regular guys called “The Boys”. 

This is based on comic book series from Dynamite Entertainment. As babies, superheroes have been injected with Compound V engineered to give them superpowers. 

They are  now managed by a mega-corporation called Vought that monopolizes them, builds them up and earns big money from all their transactions and exploits. 

The most popular superhero is Homelander, the equivalent of Superman, while the leader of The Boys is Billy Butcher. 

Both roles are played by New Zealand actors who made it big in Hollywood, Karl Urban as Billy and Antony Starr as Homelander. 

Starr is also the lead star of “Banshee”, where he is projected as a hardhitting action hero doing so many slambang action set pieces in each episode.

Billy has an ax to grind against Homelander who he blames for the disappearance of his wife. 

Homelander is projected to be a noble superhero, but he is actually a sadistic asshole and doesn’t really care for other people who he’s supposed to protect, like when he causes the plane of a mayor to crash after the mayor learns of Vought’s use of Compound V.

But the show actually starts with Hughie Campbell (played by Jack Quaid, the son of Meg Ryan with Dennis Quaid who looks more like a young Colin Firth), who’s talking to his girlfriend, Robin, on a street sidewalk when a superhero, A-Train (Jessie Usher), touted as the fastest man alive, suddenly runs smack into her and she is killed in an instant because of the impact. 

Hughie is traumatized and refuses the $45,000 settlement being offered to him by Vought. Billy Butcher meets with him and asks him to help in his mission to expose the corruption of Vought and its superheroes who have gotten out of control.

Meantime, Vought has recruited a new female superhero, Annie January who they present as Starlight (Erin Moriarty.) She joins their group of heroes called The Seven, with Homelander as the leader. 

The other members are A-Train, Queen Mauve (Dominique McElligott), The Deep (Chace Crawford), Translucent (Alex Hassell) and Black Noir (Nathan Mitchell.)

A-Train, as the equivalent of The Flash, has actually become addicted to the drug called Compound V to maintain his speed as the fastest man alive. 

Queen Mauve is the equivalent of Wonder Woman and has super strength, but she has become disillusioned when she sees Homelander’s duplicitous acts. 

The Deep is the equivalent of Aquaman who can breathe underwater and talk to fishes. 

Translucent is the equivalent of the Invisible Man. Black Noir has superhuman strength and hides his appearance behind an all-black costume and mask. 

Their boss is Madelyn Stillwell (Elizabeth Shue), who’s in charge of hero management at Vought and they’re presented as brands for endorsement deals and the movies they make. 

She also has no qualms in manipulating even top politicians for her own selfish motives. The show is reminiscent of that movie about an evil superboy, “Brightburn”.

Annie-Starlight is raised to be a very religious Christian in Iowa and has very sincere motives in helping the public, but she has serious mommy issues. 

She also gets quickly disillusioned when, on her first day with The Seven, The Deep blackmails her into giving him oral sex. Slowly, she discovers their shortcomings and gets demoralized. 

By chance, she meets Hughie in the park and they become good friends and later, lovers. They are the truly good-hearted characters in the show that are later on smeared by the violence and duplicity of the people around them who you’d truly doubt in their motives to make the world a better place.

Hughie then meets the other members of The Boys: Frenchie (Tomer Capon), an arms trafficker of French origin who’s a weapons specialist,  and MM or Mother’s Milk (Laz Alonzo), a former Marine tactician who organizes their operations. 

A female member later joins them, Kimiko (Karen Fukuhara, Katana in “Suicide Squad”), who they rescued from the Triad (this sequence is hilarious as all the bad guys speak in Tagalog). 

It turns out Kimiko is a Japanese who was given Compound V and has superpowers. 

She cannot speak, but she’s very strong and, when wounded, she can regenerate very quickly. Frenchie befriends her and she eventually becomes very close to him.

The show is about superheroes in tights and capes but it’s definitely not for kids. Unlike in Marvel or DC superhero films that have dominated pop culture, the characters here liberally spew out cuss words and indulge in unabashed sex scenes which are definitely not kid stuff. 

It’s surely a very adult, satirical deconstruction of superhero stories and a very bleak look at how institutional power can be abused whether it is governmental or corporate, or even religious as a preacher/superhero here who is homophobic turns out to be a gay himself indulging in same sex orgies. 

They are definitely not just the usual comic book characters like Superman or Ironman.

The show can be very entertaining but can also be crass and violent. 

The villainous Madelyn, for instance, will not hesitate to use a shapeshifting superhero, Doppelganger, to pretend she’s a woman in a tasteless bedscene, just to blackmail a senator who she’s trying to convince to get contracts for her superheroes so they can officially be part of the U.S. military. 

The show is generally well acted, with Antony Starr looking every inch the idolized superhero he is meant to be, but with his very dark side lurking underneath his glamourized image. 

Karl Urban matches his suavity with cocksure swagger, vulgar charisma and nails every scene he is in, dramatic or comic, with a burst of profanities. 

Our personal favorite, though, is Capon as Frenchie, with his cute accent, his funny one-liners and his care and concern for Kimiko.

All in all, the show offers wide-ranging entertainment with wild tonal shifts in its theme and structure, featuring over the top violence, flawed characters, twisted comedy, thrilling action set pieces, a tender love story and even touching drama as Hughie tries to cope with grief and survivor’s guilt. 

We can’t wait to see Season 2.