Review: Edgy Amazon original, ‘The Boys,’ brings a dark, unique relatability

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

By DJ Ramirez | Sports Editor

If you’re tired of the predictable, cookie-cutter superhero action story line and are still nursing your disappointment from “Deadpool 2,” then Amazon Prime’s “The Boys” is definitely the show you need.

Based on the Garth Ennis/Darick Robertson comic of the same name, the show was brought to life by executive producers Eric Kripke (“Supernatural” and “Timeless”), Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogen follow a mismatched group of vigilantes as they try to bring down The Seven, the world’s most elite superhero squad, and the mega corporation behind them. In this reality, the good guys are worse villains than the bad guys and The Boys are there to knock them off their pedestal.

Jack Quaid plays Hughie Campbell, who begins the story living a timid, quiet life programming people’s TV remotes. When the only good thing in his life, his girlfriend Robin, is (literally) ripped apart, Hughie’s world is changed forever.

Enter Billy Butcher, former CIA operative with a thirst for vengeance. He convinces Hughie to join him into helping him uncover what The Seven and the company that represents them, Voight International, are hiding in order to destroy them and get revenge for Robin.

Hughie is all in until he meets Annie January, AKA Starlight, and realizes that maybe some superheroes actually want to do what their job description calls for.

Without the restrictions of Primetime TV, “The Boys” is Kripke unrestrained, uncensored and unruly. It’s racy and graphic throughout all nine episodes but not to the point where it’s untasteful.

The show is not afraid of making a statement through social commentary as it explores the “seedy intersection of celebrity and politics” and delves into the topic of sexual harassment in the workplace in a way that parallels Hollywood’s #MeToo movement.

Many superhero stories have attempted to show the dark side of having too much power and letting that power go unchecked. Kripke’s show doesn’t just try to hold the powerful corrupt under the magnifying glass, but also everyone who becomes complacent to that corruption along with them.

Quaid brings a familiar charm and quirkiness to the character of Hughie and his character development is evident from episode one as he grows from a timid guy into a more confident and brash version of himself. That ability to grow directly contrasts the rugged stubbornness of Urban’s Butcher and the dark, cynical bluntness that Antony Starr brings to Homelander, the leader of The Seven. A cross-breed of Captain America and Superman but with none of the empathy or self control, Homelander takes the phrase “don’t meet your heroes” to a whole new level.

But the real “star” of the show is Erin Moriarty’s Annie/Starlight. Annie proves that there are still people out there trying to do the right thing and that “hopeful and naive don’t have to mean the same thing.”

Despite facing one obstacle after another, having her faith tested and challenged and being betrayed by the people that she trusted most, she still decides to stick to her true self. While this type of character can become a joke relatively quickly in most other stories, “The Boys” does a good job at not turning Starlight into the girl that becomes annoying and self-righteous.

With a well written script and premise and a plot that is mostly bulletproof, “The Boys” pushes the anti-hero genre to another level and the finale will leave you in wanting more. But don’t worry, season two is already under production.

The first season of “The Boys” is now streaming on Amazon Prime.