Review: Amazon’s “The Boys” is a unique experience in a world oversaturated with superheroes

Warning: This review contains spoilers for the first season of “The Boys.”

The world loves superheroes. That is pretty obvious, looking at box office records and Disney’s release schedule for the next several years. However, one thing remains the same: The superheroes are the good guys, and they always save the day. Amazon’s “The Boys” takes this concept and throws it out the window.

“The Boys” is a blatant critique of modern culture, pointing out facets of capitalism and social media influencer culture, as well as problems that come with celebrity worship and political figures who can get away with anything.

The superheroes in “The Boys” are obvious copies of current popular characters featured in big budget summer blockbusters, and they serve as the antagonists of the show. Their actions are deplorable, and the characters know that they won’t have to answer for anything they do.

The writers, however, are a different story. While women in action movies are often dressed more for sex appeal than convenience, the female characters in “The Boys” are given agency over their costumes.

There is a scene in “The Boys” when one of the major superheroes is given a new costume to wear, and she expresses concern about the costume being too revealing. After a while, the people in charge of dressing the heroes listen to her and let her use her old costume. I am glad that the show’s creators decided to include that moment, since functional female costumes are rarely seen.

The actors’ performances throughout the show were superb, with a cast led by Karl Urban (“Star Trek,” “Thor: Ragnarok”), Jack Quaid (“The Hunger Games: Catching Fire”) and Erin Moriarty (“Jessica Jones”). It doesn’t hurt that they are supported by a great story and a terrific script.

Though the acting was great, I sometimes found the characters a little agitating to watch because of their warped moral compasses. I typically like a morally gray villain — I find them more compelling — but there were times in this show that I wasn’t really rooting for anyone. I was caught up in the story’s drama, not in the individual character arcs.

Many of the characters didn’t really grow between the beginning of the show and the end, though the season finale cliffhanger definitely left them room to grow in the second season.

Another aspect of the show I didn’t really enjoy was the extreme levels of gore and nudity. While the gore was outrageous and unrealistic, it was a bit much for me at times. The same goes for the nudity. Full-frontal nudity is rarely necessary for a plot to move forward, and a creator can just as easily obscure the genitals of the actor and imply nudity. 

Viewers should be aware of a scene containing a coerced sexual encounter present in one of the early episodes of the show.

Overall, “The Boys” was enjoyable, and I patiently await the second season, which is set to release in 2020.