It will debut next July 26 on Prime Video The Boys, an eight-episode television series based on the comic book saga by Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson. The series intelligently fits into an entertainment context like the current one, where just saying the word superhero is enough to call upon crowds of spectators and fans.
Certainly thanks to the Marvel Cinematic Universe which, with the cycle of infinity gems and the Avengers trilogy, has somehow dictated a new way of perceiving the figure of the superhero. No longer a representative figure of all the most positive values, but light-hearted people, sometimes arrogant and with more or less extensive gray areas. Characters who, before reaching the point of doing good, face the most selfish part of their desires.
But what if superheroes turn to the dark side?
What happens when those who receive a power that adds the "extra" to the ordinariness of existence decides to abuse it? And it is from this assumption that The Boys starts (here the violent trailer).
The America you describe is a country that looks to seven superheroes to solve any problem or crime. But behind the facade of the drawn smiles, the high-sounding names and the brightly colored uniforms, are hiding narrow-minded characters, sometimes cruel, who think they can act as they see fit because, in fact, they consider themselves unbeatable. Because they are superheroes. And who is in charge of ensuring that superheroes don't make mistakes?
It will then be up to The Boys of the title to try to stem the almost dictatorial madness of superheroes, defeating them with cunning. This is a theme that in the literary field had already been addressed by Brandon Sanderoson's Trilogy of The Eliminators: but The Boys is not content to make the viewer reflect on the less visible side of fame and popularity.
The Prime Video series, with its black comedy tones, with all the imaginable shades of politically incorrect, shows the most excessive level of power intoxication, filling the screen with blood and more.
The result - at least for the first two episodes that we previewed - is a television series that does not hide itself, that does not aim to have a large audience even at the cost of distorting the more irreverent nature of the work. A series that gets dirty, that launches itself between the vulgar and the violence.
The Boys presents itself from the very first frames as a cheeky and raw series, which even in its most light-hearted tones - which are probably due to the typical British humor of Garth Ennis - never gives up showing how the superheroes outlined in this television saga are not other than the exasperation of the most shameful side of the human being.
In describing the dark side of these superheroes almost listed on the stock exchange as mere valuables, The Boys seems on the contrary to face the human and the human tendency to want to prevail over the weaker as soon as the opportunity arises. Superheroes, then, become the evil to be defeated, the villains to be defeated, in a reversal of the perspective that immediately establishes one of the strong points of the season.
If in Avengers: Infinity War we had witnessed a mild attempt to humanize Thanos, giving him almost shared reasons for his genocide, with The Boys we are on the opposite side.
There is no longer a need to humanize those who go beyond the ordinary: superheroes are already deeply human in their being greedily anchored to their desire to prevail and to the total lack of empathy towards the rest of the world.
Even on an aesthetic level, however, The Boys is a series that works and immediately catches the eye.
Thanks to a good cast, dominated by Karl Urban's Butcher and Antony Starr's Patriot, unrecognizable after having given his face to the protagonist of Banshee. The two characters sit on opposite sides of the barricade: a feeling that is perfectly rendered also on an aesthetic level. The first is dark and with chromatic clothes tending to black, so much is the second blond and gaudy, in a sort of staging of transparency and honesty.
Added to this is an excellent use of the soundtrack, which although limited to the role of accompaniment, always manages to marry very well with the sequences, increasing the involvement of the public and giving the story a third dimension to be experienced.