Monday, August 12, 2019

If you are looking for a different kind of superhero movie I highly recommend checking out The Boys on Amazon.

I'm about four episodes into Amazon's The Boys, and the first words that come to mind when thinking about this show are, "It's just too real." It is worth watching, and it's an open critique on how modern capitalism begets modern "crapitalism," and ruins just about everything it touches. Capitalism does have a proven means to drive success and invention. But it's also a mean, cruel, and unforgiving system, and its "cruelty" seems amplified when you have super-powered beings living among regular mortals on this planet we call Earth.

The premise is at first deceptively simple: these super-powered beings are not interested in being tyrants or gods. Rather, they are heavily invested in society. Just like the Kardashians or other kinds of famous people, they don't want to rule. They want to be a part of the "elite" members of society, the .01 percent, the people who are admired and looked up to as beautiful, strong, just, and wonderful. The people that us normals out here fantasize about sexually and emotionally and think, "Oh those people have got it so good. I want to be just like them." The "supes" of The Boys are "social media influencers" to the nth degree, and there's a profound narcissism about it all...the need to be willingly worshiped. And that's the noose that capitalism has around all of the super-heroed beings I've met so far in the series. And why do I say it's a noose? Simple: the lust for fame and fortune.

Corporations in The Boys drive the narrative, and in particular one called Vought. Vought's ultimate goal is to have superhumans adpoted as the primary form of national defense in the United States, which would allow them to gain a monopoly on defense contracts, given their dominance of the superhuman industry. In the show, the character we deal most with is played by Elizabeth Shue (it's nice to see her again as I enjoyed the works she did earlier in her career). She's an unlikeable corporate shill pumping breast milk in her office to feed her child, and treating all of the superheroes as the property of the corporation. Vought controls public appearances, team-ups, and stages battles. Everything boils down to making money for shareholders.

Where the show gets interesting is in how the superheroes adapt to the trauma of being corporate shills (slaves to greed and fame). Because they want the fame and fortune and exposure that Vought promises, they are willing to compromise on every single one of their virtues in order to obtain it. Women who become part of the seven are expected to service the men who are already there in sexual ways, and they must put up with an invisible man watching them use the bathroom while he jerks off. If they don't, they'll be kicked off the very precious team (which is the equivalent of The Justice League of America).

The most powerful superhero (with abilities clearly inspired by Superman) is an unscrupulous white man who feels deeply unappreciated for his contributions, but who ultimately is not ready to rock the boat too much at Vought. However, his incredible dissatisfaction with himself and the years of compromising his own morals for the corporation (which includes killing people who threaten to expose the superheroes for using dangerous performance-enhancing drugs) has made him treat all of his co-worker superheroes like utter crap. Homelander's become a nasty grandiose narcissist who has by episode 4 clearly lost every bit of humanity that he once possessed.

If you are looking for some non-traditional superhero fare, I would recommend checking The Boys out on Amazon streaming. As I said before, it's worth your time, and it validates a lot of what I think happens in our society once we embrace the evils of unfettered capitalism and allow corporations to rule our lives.


  1. I'm watching, but almost every character is deplorable, so it's proving difficult to continue with each episode.

  2. I'm also talking about that show Monday and Wednesday so I won't say much about it here other than I liked it.

  3. I read somewhere that this is a good show, and the irony of it being on Amazon. Or maybe irony is the wrong word. It was a dig at Amazon, anyway.

    I don't have Amazon prime, so I won't be able to see it. But it sounds interesting.

  4. I don't know - I'm not a Deadpool fan either.