As a dad of small kids, I’m not in the binge streaming world, I just don’t have the time. I love Daredevil and haven’t watched the Defenders or Season 3. Black Mirror…..let’s just say I’m severely behind, and don’t ask about the Walking Dead. And I say all that to say that I inhaled the first four episodes of The Boys, and only my wife and mortgage prevented me from taking the day off to finish the series. The Boys is the perfect antidote to the creep of superhero fatigue that is starting to set in. That might be in large part cause besides Annie January/Starlight (Erin Moriarty) there aren’t really any heroes in the Boys.
When Hugh Campbell’s (Jack Quaid) girlfriend Robin is killed by an out of control A-Train (Jessie Usher), Hugh finds himself teaming up with Billy Butcher (Karl Urban), Mother’s Milk (Laz Alonso) and Frenche (Tomer Capon). Hugh discovers that the public perception of superheroes, especially the Seven (The Boys take on the Justice League) is profoundly different than what people are led to believe. Simply the superheroes are a collection of rapists, drug users, peeping toms, and more than willing to commit murder by accident or on purpose. But if the superheroes are deplorable, their employer Vought International lead by Madelyn Stillwell (Elizabeth Shue) is downright diabolical. Stillwell’s goal is to ensure that Vought is able to place their superheroes in every city willing to pay with the ultimate goal of them replacing the U.S. military.
Erin Moriarty’s Starlight is the only actual hero we encounter. The newest addition to Seven unlike the other super powered characters she genuinely wants to use her powers out of a sense of altruism. Early on the character is a victim of a sexual assault that was unsettling but not having read all the source material I’m not sure whether it was part of the original story. While nothing graphic is shown it may difficult for some viewers to watch. Moriarty’s acting ability shines in this role as she makes Starlight a character with depth, intelligence, compassion, and heart.
One of the major surprises of this show is the quality of the casting. In what might be Karl Urban’s best role (at least my favorite) he chews up the screen as Billy Butcher. Urban’s Butcher is charismatic, narcissistic and self-righteous. But Urban shines the most when conveying Butcher’s remorse and pain over the failure to take down the superheroes before tragic struck his original team. Anthony Starr as Homelander is everything you could want in a villain. Essentially Superman gone bad Starr excels in showing both the heroic persona that Homelander wants to project in addition to showing his depravity. Laz Alonso and Tomer Capon add much needed humanity and humor to what otherwise might be a darker show.
Amazon was willing to spend the money necessary to make this show works and it shows. As a television show and not a feature film it could be expected that the special effects would be underwhelming, which is most definitely not the case here. From major scenes like Homelander dealing with a hijacked airplane to A-Train’s world’s fastest man race the special effects never disappoint. I know Amazon has a deep treasure chest use in creating its shows, but I give them credit for committing the necessary resources to bring the world of The Boys to life. If you already have Amazon Prime this show is a must watch.
Five out of Five.