'The Boys' examines what superheroes would truly be like if they really existed.
Garth Ennis is one of my favorite writers. Writing works such as ‘Preacher’, ‘The Punisher’ and the eponymous ‘The Boys’, he's proven to be an excellent writer. However, I did not think his Alan Moore’s Watchmen-esque deconstruction series could be done well as a screen adaptation. His previous adapted works have most been so-so (I am looking at you, Punisher), and I was expecting the same with 'The Boys.' It turns out that any expectations I had of this show were knocked out of the park.
The basic gist of ‘The Boys’, created by Ennis and Darick Robertson is that superheroes are awful (sort of like Watchmen), yet more realistic-feeling people. The idea of a superhero is corporatized for financial gain, and while appearing to be an idealized set of heroes, ‘The Seven’ are an awful group of people, and are really just tools of a corrupt bureaucracy. There is Homelander, the Superman stand-in played phenomenally by Antony Starr, new idealist member Starlight (Erin Moriarty) and several others. This cast is huge, and I cannot think of a performance that isn’t awesome.
Sick of the ‘supes’ crimes, a group of misfits band together to put the supers to a stop. Protagonist Hughie Campbell (Jack Quaid), is a normal dude who gets thrust into the group after tragic events affect him. He's joined by Billy Butcher (Karl Urban), some sort of government spook that is deliciously crass, as well as Mother’s Milk portrayed by Laz Alonso, ‘The Female’ (Karen Fukuhara) and ‘Frenchie’ (Tomer Capon). All of these characters are incredibly fun to be around.
At this point it couldn’t be more obvious what my favorite aspect of the show is: the writing and the cast. I do not exaggerate when I say every actor in this series is perfect in their role. While very unlikable, Homelander especially has so much depth and complexity, and every effort to humanize the villains is done incredibly well. The audience actively cares about so many of the characters. Without a doubt, Starlight (Annie January) has to be my absolute favorite, as well as Hughie and Butcher.
The writing, and especially pacing, I have to say, may have exceeded the source material. There are certain changes that are excellent, but there is one single glaring absence (which I will not spoil). It is paced so darn well, and is so satisfying. It had me belly laughing, then it had me crippled with anxiety and tension, and I enjoyed every minute of it.
Honestly, it is really hard not to toot this show's horn. It has everything going for it. It has wonderful characters, a satisfying story, an adaptation that exceeds the source material, and a crazy ending that leaves you wanting more. I can honestly say that this is one of the greatest first seasons of a series I have ever seen (up there with Westworld, True Detective), and it is no doubt some of the greatest graphic novel adaptations ever made. I highly recommend this series, and it deserves every bit of your time.
Edited by Adam White, Shelby Hanson