Updated: Apr 9, 2020
First of all, I can't believe how minimal hype and attention this show has gotten. My initial hypothesis would be because the "superhero thing" has been done and redone by Marvel and DC.
Whatever you've seen, be it the Avenger movie franchise or Netflix's Daredevil ( <<<------ go watch this too btw), Amazon has delivered superheroes in a whole new spotlight. A gory, sexually fanatic light. I could compare the vibe to the GOT universe: realistic fantasy. There's dragons, but also a fresh look into the depravity of humanity. The Boys delivers flashy powers with an ego to match, and an introspective mind into corporate superhero-dom.
Now, before I begin to rabbit trail (I can feel it coming on), I'll generalize the show up for you. There may or may not be spoilers [DAENERYS DIES!]. Sorry, I had to. Don't get me started on that one.
Okay, so we're dealing with superheroes. Usually when this genre comes up, the first question is -- what are their powers? That defines a superhero, right?
Wrong. Batman is a superhero without powers. Stan Lee quoted Ironman as still being a superhero without powers. Now, these "supes" do in fact have powers, on a sliding scale of strength and usefulness. However, that is unimportant. In fact, The Boys doesn't embellish very much on what powers the supes do have. Why is this?
Because it doesn't matter. We love and hate Homelander, Queen Maeve and A-Train because of who they are as people. Immediately we see their roles as part-time superheroes, part-time PR advocates. These heroes cry, make mistakes and have equal part vulnerabilities as they do powers.
We'll use the Avengers universe to compare. Sure, they've got humans. Jane Foster, the girlfriend. Maria Hill, kind of tough but probably got less screen time than the Helicarrier. Wong, a comic relief. I'm not trying to bash any of these characters, but based on their visual presence in the films and therefore viable importance, well -- they were always meant to be extras.
Not the case, in The Boys.
The humans in this universe play on the same field, even killing off one of "the Seven", Translucent. And instead of purging a "Transformers-esque"superhero show, where all we see is CGI powers battling CGI villians, our heroes battle using their wits, experience and grit. Let's break them down, shall we?
his motivation -- dead wife
skills set -- killing people (especially supes), negotiating/manipulating, and leadership
why we love him -- sexy accent, dark humor, badass
his motivation -- dead girlfriend
skills set -- techy guy, connections with Starfire, adapts well under pressure
why we love him -- the 'new guy', relatable for us viewers, somewhat still redeemable compared to the rest of the cast
his motivation -- using his talents for the greater good, avoiding boredom, accepting challenges, solving puzzles
skills set -- muscle, detective skills
why we love him -- his name, his open love for his family
his motivation -- aiding Kimiko, lust for a challenge
skills set -- gunrunner, chemist, locksmith, vigilantism
why we love him -- he blows things up, is a bit of a romantic, swears in french
Now let's look at our Supes, the usual protagonists.
He's a psychopath. His costume is a-typical, comparable to superman's. He's a womanizer, hates babies and a possible rapist.
Her one authentic romantic interest is barely divulged or explained. And honestly the commentary between her and Elena is pretty juvenile. Maeve makes it clear she dislikes her own personality, and naturally so do we. She apathetically plays her role in the seven, consistently disagreeing with the corporation's missions but doesn't do anything about it. To sum up, she's a pussy. It's pretty sad when Starlight is more of a badass than the prime female figurehead.
I'm curious if anyone finds A-Train to stick out like a sore thumb as much as I do. His powers and position is so randomly placed. Ok, so he's the fastest man in the world...and? His character is so cut and dry, it's no wonder he's the supe chosen to be the marketed one. Because honestly, the lunchbox, t-shirt and billboard are more interesting than the actual supe. Here's hoping the heart attack did its job.
And enters the girl we all love to hate. Pageant queen, blond, naive. We all are aware our favorite characters are the smartest ones. And Starlight is dumb as a glowing rock. Even her fighting scenes are laughable.
Here's a supe with redeeming qualities. Immediately Translucent filled the comic relief position, stalking Starlight into the bathroom. His fight scenes were also comical, creating an enigma for our favorite heroes. Translucent is also the one supe who we see almost purely in-character, and not on camera.
Again, another redeeming supe. We can somewhat forgive The Deep because of his hilarious stupidity and love for fish. My own theory is that he plans on leaving the seven, if he can remove his tracker. Also, his body morphology is interesting, something new and different from his fellow supes.
I'm not sure what to recap about this particular supe other than his occasional humor, like his liking for the piano. My opinion will remain neutral for the moment.
I'm not going to add Kimiko to this list, given she's not part of the seven, but also not quite one of the boys. But ignoring that, we can see the obvious partiality to the boys compared to the supes. This is a new superhero genre, where the playing field is broad and powers are a second thought. There's real character development happening here, which is (in my opinion) the best kind of writing, and a story leaving viewers eager for more. Gone is the mind-numbing CGI battles and tacky one-liners, and hello creativity and a realistic super-universe.