Starring: Karl Urban, Jack Quaid, Erin Moriarty, Chace Crawford, Elisabeth Shue, Jessie Usher, Dominique McElligott, Antony Starr, Nathan Mitchell, Simon Pegg
Developed by: Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg, Eric Kripke
Directed by: Dan Trachtenberg
Based on the comic:THE BOYS by Garth Ennis & Darick Robertson
There are a shitload of comic book movies and adaptations. There aren’t many that show heroes for what and who they are. We have teams like Justice League, Avengers, X-Men, who try to make the world a better place. If you want to get downright ugly with who superheroes are, you need to look at The Boys. Amazon’s newest show is your new favorite anti-hero show. One that shows the depth of who superheroes are, the ones who clean up the mess with a straight punch to the gut from both.
The Boys starts its story with Hughie Campbell (Jack Quaid), an ordinary, soft-spoken, and sensitive guy trying to get through life. As he’s traveling home with girlfriend, a superhero named A-Train (Jessie Usher) runs straight through her, splattering her on the pavement. This leads to Hughie meeting Billy Butcher (Karl Urban) who offers Hughie the chance of a lifetime. On the opposite side, Annie January (Erin Moriarty) wants to be a superhero. She signs up to be a part of The Seven, a superhero group with massive celebrity. Once she’s in, she soon figures out that being a superhero isn’t what it’s all cracked out to be.
The Boys was one of my most anticipated shows for the year. I love nasty pieces of work that make its way on screen because I love to see the adaptations that follow (The Killing Joke is a problematic favorite of mine, but the adaptation of it sucks). To prepare myself, I asked my good brother from another, Justin Partridge to fill me in with a brief synopsis on the comics before my Tribeca screening. Even with his summary, I wasn’t prepared for anything this show was about to throw at me. I liked it that way.
SUPERHEROES ARE DICKHEADS TOO!
I was trying to find an eloquent way to describe how bat-shit this show is. I think the right thing to do is come out and say it. This show is bat-shit. There’s no way that this could have been made by anyone else than the partnership of Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg, and Eric Kripke. Rogen and Goldberg brought to life Preacher, the BEST underrated comic book show. It’s one of the best adaptions and captures the book perfectly. Eric Kripke created some great television including Supernatural, which love it or hate it, you know you watched at least SOME of it.
The Boys bring these three powers together to create a wild romp of a show that carries the heart and bonkers-ness of Ennis and Robertson’s book to a tee. All parties together are bound to make something spectacular, and holy fuck have they done it.
With Dan Trachtenberg as director, they capture that comic book vibe without thinking the audience is dumb. They lean on the zany but never let up on those uncomfortable moments that make you squirm in your seat. The Boys, even with its superheroes, seem like something that can very much happen.
Think about it. We’re oversaturated with heroes and villains. We look at Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman as these righteous heroes, when in reality they can be so much like you and me, but even more flawed. Your superheroes can very well be living this life, but that’s what’s brilliant about this first episode as well. They don’t sugarcoat anything. They tell you straight up that The Seven are pieces of shit and don’t let up on that.
“NOTHING GOOD IS ABOUT TO HAPPEN IN THIS SHOW.” – ME
This show is such a spectacular ensemble piece. You’ll either love or hate each of the characters because they’re so morally corrupt in their own spectacular way. Jack Quaid as Hughie is probably the purest thing in the show and should be protected at all costs. Quaid does an incredible job as the lead to this, showing a man who doesn’t have that fight but gains it. He’s such a tremendous leadoff into this world because you quickly identify with him. Another interesting tidbit, Simon Pegg, who Hughie’s character was based off of, makes an appearance as Hughie’s father (of course, he’s great, but you already knew that).
On the opposite end of the spectrum, Karl Urban is insanely good in this role. It reminds me of his days in Dredd, but its still a new Urban. He’s rough, rigid, manipulative, cunning, and super attractive? It works for him as Billy Butcher.
Sadly, we don’t meet the rest of The Boys in the first episode, BUT we meet The Seven, and they are just what you expect. Remember when I said that Ennis probably had a bone to pick with Justice League? I meant it. Each of The Seven represents each of the Justice League members but with a more morally fucked up and horrid personality at best. Each actor nails the character and does a great job in making you despise them. Chace Crawford plays a young Aquaman slimeball as The Deep. Jessie Usher deserves to be run over by a train as he plays the Flash equivalent of A-Train. Dominique McElligott is badass but unsympathetic as Wonder Woman. Nope, sorry, I meant Queen Maeve. The mighty and holier-than-thou Superman, The Homelander, is played by Antony Starr.
Erin Moriarty is the bright-eyed Starlight. She’s the newcomer to the Seven with a bright future and only wants to save the world. Moriarty is the second pure character that you, as the audience, identify with and know that 100% nothing is going to go right for her. You don’t want any harm to come to her. Honestly, most of the squirming that I did was because of everything this character has to go through. Just in the first episode, we see her harassed, and it will only go downhill from here.
The fun thing about The Boys is that you can go into this completely blind. You don’t have to read the comics before this. They lay out the groundwork for you in the first episode. You’re introduced to Hughie, Billy and The Seven, and the inciting incident comes at you like a freight train. You’re already so grossly immersed in this world that when the hour is up, you want it to go on forever. It never once makes you feel like you’re missing any bit of the action or plot. The dialogue is fun and snappy. It makes this world feel alive in a way no other show can do. I’m extremely excited about the rest of this show, but also will throw a comfort blanket over myself cause it’s going to get harder from here.
The Boys is set to premiere on Amazon Prime on July 26, 2019.