With the current proliferation of comic book superheroes on film and television, the timing is perfect for Amazon Prime’s The Boys. Produced by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, the show is based on the controversial comic by writer Garth Ennis and artist Darick Robertson. Originally published by Wildstorm (an imprint of DC), The Boys quickly switched to Dynamite Entertainment due to the parent company’s unease with the book’s content.
In the world of The Boys, superheroes are hedonistic deviants who are more interested in sex and drugs than saving the world. Their origins and adventures depicted in comic books are merely propaganda woven by their corporate masters Vought International. The worldwide conglomerate created the supes using Compound V, a serum originally developed by Nazi scientists. While Vought reaps lucrative rewards from merchandise and licensing deals, the real money is in the military-industrial complex. The company has long sought to sell superpowered individuals to the military.
The only ones standing in the way of total Vought supremacy are a group of clandestine individuals led by the acerbic Billy Butcher (Karl Urban). For his team, Butcher has recruited Mother’s Milk (Laz Alonso) and Wee Hughie (Jack Quaid), both of whom lost loved ones due to the careless actions of supes; Frenchie (Tomer Capon), a reformed criminal who previously had his hands in weapons, drugs, and assassinations; and Kimiko aka The Female (Karen Fukuhara), a mute victim of experimentation with Compound V.
On the opposite side is Vought’s premiere super-team, The Seven, led by the ruthless Homelander (Antony Starr), alongside Queen Maeve (Dominique McElligott), The Deep (Chace Crawford), the speedstar A-Train (Jessie T. Usher), silent but deadly Black Noir (Nathan Mitchell), and new recruit Starlight (Erin Moriarty). Real name, Annie January, Starlight began as a wide-eyed and naive rookie, but quickly learned about the depravity and cover-ups behind the curtain.
Complicating matters are the fact that Butcher’s late-wife Becca turns out to be alive and in hiding with her son Ryan (Cameron Crovetti), who was fathered by Homelander. Meanwhile, Hughie has entered into a romantic relationship with Starlight, which puts them in an awkward position from both sides.
Season 2 of The Boys introduced us to a new antagonist in Stormfront (Aya Cash), a rival/romantic interest for Homelander, who turned out to literally be a Nazi. Season 3 deals with the ramifications of this shocking reveal. Stormfront’s defeat leaves Vought’s CEO Stan Edgar (Giancarlo Esposito) scrambling to clean up this PR nightmare. The Homelander is humiliated and forced to embark on an apology tour. However, this backfires as Homelander lashes out and gains support from a small, but fervent band of angry and disaffected heterosexual men. In order to take on an emboldened Homelander, Butcher and his crew investigate the mysterious disappearance of Soldier Boy (Jensen Ackles, reuniting with Supernatural creator Eric Kripke), who may hold the key to beating the ultra-powerful Homelander. But, does Butcher run the risk of unleashing something even worse?
The episodes included are:
“Payback” – One year after the events of Season 2, Hughie is working with Congresswoman Victoria Neuman (Claudia Domit) in the Bureau for Superhuman Affairs. Butcher, much to his consternation, is now subordinate to Hughie and must rein in his more violent impulses.
“The Only Man in the Sky” – Hughie is forced to investigate his new boss after discovering she has superpowers. Kimiko and Frenchie have a violent encounter with the Crimson Countess at the Voughtland theme park while Butcher takes on Gunpowder, Soldier Boy’s former sidekick.
“Barbary Coast” – After learning his approval ratings are sky high with angry white guys, Homelander makes life miserable for Starlight, who was recently promoted to co-captain of the Seven. Butcher learns from Mallory (Laila Robins) that Soldier Boy went missing after his team, Payback, battled Communist forces in Nicaragua.
“Glorious Five-Year Plan” – Butcher and the team bust into a Russian facility and find Soldier Boy alive and well, the victim of further experimentation by Russian scientists. Starlight attempts to gain allies with Maeve and former boyfriend Supersonic to fend off Homerlander.
“The Last TIme to Look on This World of Lies” – Soldier Boy tries to acclimate himself to the modern world, Frenchie is forced to deal with his former boss Little Nina, and A-Train is tasked with helping Blue Hawk, a hero accused of racism and excessive force.
“Herogasm” – Soldier Boy confronts his ex-teammates the TNT Twins at their annual orgy for supes, but Homelander’s unexpected arrival throws everything into turmoil.
“Here Comes a Candle to Light You to Bed” – Soldier Boy, Hughie and Butcher battle one of Payback’s most dangerous members, Mindstorm, while Frenchie searches for a vial of V24, a variation of Compound V that could save Kimiko’s life.
“The Instant White-Hot Wild” – After a shocking revelation, Homelander faces off against Soldier Boy with Butcher, Starlight, Maeve, and Ryan caught in the middle. Victoria Neuman makes a play for the White House as the new candidate for VP.
The video is presented in 1080p with an aspect ratio of 2.35:1. Picture quality is exceptional and spotlights fine details such as the texture of the superhero costumes and the viscera of exploding bodies.
The audio is presented in DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1. The surround sound shines really well when it comes to action sequences and superpowred fights while dialogue comes in crisp and clear.
The Making of a Giant Urethra (1:58) is a behind-the-scenes look at the infamous sequence with the size-changing supe Termite.
The Blu-ray set also includes 2 gag reels and a collection of seven deleted/extended scenes.
Film Value: 8
Anyone familiar with the writing of Garth Ennis knows he loves going for shock value as evidenced in the creator-owned Preacher, perhaps his most popular work. The Boys is rife with gruesome violence and depictions of sexual assault that were sometimes played for laughs. Rogen and Goldberg deftly found a way to balance their adaptation with over-the-top situations without the crass detours the source material often took. Even better, the show manages to incorporate current socio-political issues with timely pop culture references. Season 3 is the best run The Boys has had to offer, thus far.