The Boys; Demasking the “Super” out of Superheroes

By Mikayla Mondragon

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*Slight Spoiler Warning! Nothing too major yet you have been warned*

Courtesy of IMDB

Over the past decade, superhero movies have dominated pop culture, becoming the most successful franchises in cinematic history. The MCU have been churning movies back to back, creating a complex yet incredible timeline that has gathered a devoted fanbase. Superheroes have been popularly depicted as ones with remarkable abilities and relatable characteristics, going through a journey of saving the world as well as dealing with ordinary issues. Yet, as these characters continue to thrive on our screens, it does bring curiosity to think if heroes could ever be bad. Well, that curiosity has certainly been met in the form of Amazon Prime’s The Boys.  Inspired by the 2006 comic book of the same name, this series takes place in a reality where superheroes not only exist, but similar to our society, dominate the media. Yet, unfortunately these beings overall abuse this power, making them the real chaos of society. Let’s dwell more on how The Boys perfectly and chaotically invalidates the stereotypes of superhero culture. 

Courtesy of IMDB

The series focuses on “The Seven”, a group of superheroes that are owned by Vought International, a powerful corporation that literally factorizes babies into all mighty beings using top secret chemicals. Vought markets these “supes” by creating their own backstories and destinies. This fictional company has an extreme firm grasp on the media, going as far as having these heroes film commercials, reality-like shows, and blockbusters. Think of these beings as celebrities, yet because of their intense idolatry, society has blindly followed their authority, masking their imperfections. Homelander, the Superman-esque and leader of the Seven, is a prime example of a hero who abuses power. Although I’m not going to go into details to avoid spoilers, I will say that Homelander is the true villain of this fictionalized world. He is the most praised yet is secretly an egomaniac, making him the greatest threat, as he does terrible, TERRIBLE things. 

The Boys is more than just a show about superheroes; it’s a social commentary on the corruption of powerful beings in the world and how ultimately it’s up to society to stop that. So, after objecting the “supes” in this show, who are the true heroes? In this case, it’s the titular “The Boys”, a group of vigilantes destined to prevent the Seven and Vought from continuing their wrongful ways. The protagonist Hughie Campbell’s life is swiftly changed after the loss of a loved one due to the recklessness of a superhero and eventually seeks vengeance with the leader of the Boys, Billy Butcher. Together they struggle to gain the retributive justice in order to atone for their losses caused by the Seven, bringing other allies along the way. Another person who is considered a true hero is Starlight, the newest member of the Seven who is unfortunately oblivious to the truth of her job. It isn’t until tragedy occurs to which she realizes her dream of being a hero was nothing but smoke and mirrors. Yet, her character development overall brings a ray of hope that there can be true heroes in the world.

Overall this show is extremely grotesque and anything but family friendly, as it contains many jaw dropping scenes. Although it makes Deadpool look like a children’s movie, The Boys’ over the top mayhem sets the tone and perfectly captures its’ unique take on heroes as well as justice.