I just marathoned both Seasons of The Boys and it was amazing. I did not expect it to be as wonderful to watch as it was. A friend recommended it to me and I went in with no expectations. Yet, here I am, blown away by how good the writing and cast of characters were. A lot of it felt so strangely realistic, especially due to how it just fits so snugly with real life politics. Probably because that is the point of the show. Superheroes are essentially treated like real life athletes and politicians combined; just as real life athletes can still play on the NFL despite credible accusations (and sometimes charges) of rape and murder, superheroes get away with a higher degree of a few hundred murders and rapes being completely silenced with non-disclosure agreements by the corporate handlers of the superheroes. Likewise, just as the President orders drone bombings to kill a terrorist with however many nameless, faceless innocent people as collateral damage; Homelander’s powers (similar to Superman’s) results in hundreds and thousands of more unnecessary deaths in the third world which results in social media firestorms and protests over Homelander being seen as a war criminal, but no meaningful legal judgments made or anything really done after the protests. In other words, completely realistic, especially in our current times.
Of the cast, I think my two favorite characters are the main leads; Hughie and Starlight. I liked their respective developments from victims abused by the corporate system to self-respecting adults who work to better the world from the monsters that continue to hurt people. This unfortunately causes them to do their own horrible behavior for what they believe to be the greater good from Hughie blowing up Translucent to Starlight killing a civilian to help Hughie get to a hospital to survive his grievous injuries. I loved their dynamic and relationship, especially in Season 2 when it seems like they’re just goody-two-shoes and slightly lame reflections of each other during the car ride with Marvin T. Milk. Somehow, their interactions are always interesting; either due to the tension regarding why Hughie chose to join The Boys, because he has clear differences with Butcher regarding their respective views on Superheroes, or because of how Starlight’s life shatters and changes once the big reveal happens regarding who Hughie is after she’d been so happy to meet someone who felt genuine to her in a hectic world that was inflicting so much pain on her. Their interactions after the truth is revealed are among my favorites because the chemistry is just so well done. In particular, Starlight’s storyline feels like such a strange meta-commentary that I really don’t know what to think of. The Corporate approved costume results in a narrative where Starlight is being sexualized in Season 1 . . .and yet, when googling Starlight the character of Amazon Prime’s The Boys you’ll find that exact costume on display in the images because obviously sex appeal works for young adult viewers. I liked how her narrative shows the challenges of dealing with a riled-up public in a very realistic way and how by Season 2, the “sex appeal” outfit later serves as Starlight’s mask to show her loyalty to Vought’s corporate interests and for Starlight to display her loyalty to Homelander so she isn’t in danger up until Homelander sexually assaults her in an elevator. Also, I couldn’t help but wonder . . . what is it like to be an actress who has to act a part by taking off fake hair that exists to accentuate the sex appeal outlook to show her “genuine real self” only . . . to probably have something similar done in real life? Or for actors to play as directors or a film crew . . . only for there to be an actual film crew and director behind them filming The Boys? It’s just such a weird meta-ness that I couldn’t help but think about after seeing the actress for Starlight take off her fake hair or the actor for the speedstar superhero A-Train speak what felt very realistically with the director character of the show. I mean . . . I would guess that all they’d do is just shrug and say it is part of the acting job, but I just couldn’t help but notice the weird meta-ness of it all.
Of the cast members that I love to hate; Homelander and Billy Butcher come out on top. Homelander for obvious reasons; he’s effectively all-powerful, he gets away with heinous crimes like rape (even bragging about it years later), his company hiding the fact he gave the Protein-V serum to terrorists to avoid a scandal, and – while he seems to dislike racism himself and displays visible discomfort when it is preached – he doesn’t speak out when it is being taught to children if it is from people who he personally likes. Billy Butcher has every reason to be the monster that he is; his father physically abused him and his brother so badly that his brother committed suicide and his father bragged that it’s “toughened” Billy up, even years after the incident with no remorse. His wife, the only thing that gave his life any meaning, was raped by a Superhero and vanished under mysterious circumstances. His whole life feels like a waste, but he can’t stop himself from the irresistible urge of revenge and he’s just as much of a hateful bigot as the Nazi of the show, but towards people with superpowers. He treats people with superpowers as if they’re monsters from the Cthulhu mythos that need to be eradicated. He encourages his friends and allies to commit violence for his cause; even approves of the murdering of innocents (people with superpowers or no) so long as it means reaching his personal objectives. I fully understand that he is completely justified in being the monster that he is, but I fucking hate him. To be clear, Billy Butcher of the show is an amazing character and I fucking hate him. He shot Starlight with a rifle repeatedly for absolutely no reason other than his paranoia, he physically assaulted Hughie because Hughie was trying to talk sense to him and then he mocked Hughie for wanting an apology for being assaulted, he constantly gets his fellow Boys into increasingly dangerous situations with no discernible payoff because he can’t keep his shit together, he leaves his teammates to die and for Hughie and Starlight to be forced to pick-up after him, and he was willing to use Kimiko’s brother as a chess piece if it meant obtaining his personal vendetta and it got Kimiko’s brother killed. Even after Hughie and Starlight prove to do more in exposing corruption than he does, he mocks their efforts in front of the other crew members because his personal goals are more important to him. Despite the horrible things done to him and his wife, he’s just as much of a monster as Homelander and Hughie is completely justified for wanting to leave and do something “the right way” as a change of pace because Butcher promised him independence and then treated him like a dog, it was no different than the bullying and intimidation that Hughie was forced to accept before his girlfriend’s accidental death or how Vought lawyers and employees treated his suffering.
In conclusion, every actor and actress is top-notch. Homelander’s actor must really struggle to fulfill certain scenes in particular and he does it wonderfully. I love every cast member and character; the characters and their actors / actresses are all incredibly amazing. In particular, I liked Stormfront, Hughie, Starlight, and Homelander’s actors. Both seasons of The Boys gets a 10 / 10 from me. I’m excited to see what happens next season and I’m genuinely blown away with how fantastic the plot, all the characters, the music, the acting, and all of the above are.