There is a scene in The Boys Season 3 that perfectly illustrates the current state of our movie-going audience. It comes when Frenchie (Tomer Capone) and Kimiko (Karen Fukuhara) visit Vought’s theme park à la Disneyland. She excitedly absorbs the scenery with a smile and wide eyes while he is exasperated at this superhero-themed surroundings. Kimiko represents those who still have an appetite for Marvel/DC superhero films, while Frenchie looks like those people showing signs of superhero fatigue. The Boys satisfies the needs of both types of audiences (it has superheroes in it, but it’s not obsessed with CGI shenanigans). The series might have germinated from a simple idea: What if your favorite superheroes, like Superman, were actually villains? But it has only grown more complex, more mature, and more entertaining with every new season.
In The Boys Season 3, the Boys are seen working for Victoria (Claudia Doumit) at the Federal Bureau of Superhero Affairs. The team, consisting of Butcher (Karl Urban), Kimiko, and Frenchie, take orders from another one of their team members named Hughie (Jack Quaid). Butcher would love to butcher the Supes (this is what the superheroes are called in this show), but now he has to act according to rules and regulations. Obviously, he is not happy with the bureaucratic method of dealing with the Supes. Hughie and Starlight (Erin Moriarty) are dating, but their relationship comes into contact with slight friction when Starlight’s ex-boyfriend Supersonic (Miles Gaston Villanueva) makes an entrance. For a moment, when Supersonic comes close to Starlight and confesses she has changed and transformed into a bold and influential figure, you suspect these two would make out and start an affair with each other.
However, The Boys Season 3 has a habit of subverting your expectations. It leads you to expect something and then does something else altogether. For instance, the scene where two characters consider running away to Marseilles is so sentimentally shot that you await one of them to die any minute. The show even puts them in danger by having them kidnapped and gravely injuring one of them in Russia. It’s all misdirection, as deaths in the show happen without any prior warning or indication. This makes them more affecting, shocking, and real. Take that moment where Homelander (Antony Starr) flies with Starlight to show her a pretty view. It’s not pretty, but it definitely leaves your mouth open.
While the Marvel tent-pole is obsessed with green screen magic, The Boys – apart from focusing on a solid story – puts its energy towards sex and gore and produces both funny and disturbing results. The sex is wild and gross, and the blood is splattered across the screen unapologetically. Superheroes, with their tight spandex clothes and lusty figure, must feel a strong desire to copulate with someone or each other. And, of course, with all their mighty powers, their kills would appear gorier than a knife cut or bullet wound. The Supes in The Boys can be misogynistic, racist, jealous, and self-centered. The Deep (Chace Crawford) doesn’t acknowledge that he is becoming successful because of a woman. Homelander continues to think of himself as superior and mocks others. Then there is Blue Hawk (Nick Wechsler), who has been killing many Black people. Some Supes can be well-intentioned. A-Train (Jessie T. Usher) wants to do something for his neighborhood, but his approach does not yield the desired result. When Starlight picks up Hughie after a temporary fallout, she yearns to scream, “I told you so.” In other words, the Supes in The Boys can often register as humans. To achieve this similar objective, other superhero shows/movies tend to hit us with gloom (The Batman) or melodrama (Thor: Love and Thunder). Yet, they don’t become as successful as The Boys (though they are enjoyable in their own sense).
The creators of The Boys do listen to fan theories online. I am sure they heard people saying Ant-Man would go up Thanos’ butt. That’s why you get that scene where an Ant-Man-like superhero goes inside a man’s penis. They also know about those rumors involving Jensen Ackles auditioning for the role of Captain America, which is why he has been cast as Soldier Boy here. Soldier Boy is more wicked than Homelander. Due to the former’s presence, the latter gets to be (or perhaps appears a little more) vulnerable. When Black Noir (Nathan Mitchell) describes Soldier Boy as BAD and underlines the word on the paper, Homelander responds by saying, “Nobody’s all bad.” Homelander’s reflection talks to him and reveals that there is a kind and caring human within him, residing like cancer, that needs to be taken out. That cancerous part craves love and attention and has prevented him from turning into a full-fledged psycho. But what if people start cheering him for his wrong behavior, like shooting down a protestor with his laser eyes? Apparently, if the public can put you on a pedestal, they can also make you a criminal. And Homelander is someone who is swayed by people’s appreciation. The Boys continues to take a dig at the celebrity culture. Fame depraves you, and the PR does its best to whitewash your disturbing aspects. Some revel in this exposure, while some get repulsed. Those who get a taste of power seek to chase it repeatedly – a point made using the new version of Compound V, which temporarily gives you superhuman abilities.
Soldier Boy, though, currently does not want to be worshiped by the American citizens. He is ruthless and wants revenge. Butcher strikes a deal with him to kill Homelander. When the two Supes confront one another at Herogasm, a thrill of excitement runs through your nerves. You eagerly anticipate their next confrontation, which is spiced up with a jaw-dropping revelation. Apart from blowing your brains out, it assures you that the show’s creators have plenty of surprises up their sleeves and know how to wield and when to release them. Their confidence exudes and sustains infectious energy, which charges the show and leaves you asking for more. The Boys Season 3 is like an addictive drug. When it ends, you wish to inject yourself with Season 4. However, you have to wait a little longer for the next dose.
The Boys Season 3 is now streaming on Amazon Prime Video.