What if the most powerful superheroes on Earth, under their golden cloak, actually hid the worst forms of debauchery and debauchery? To whom should we turn if the mythological halo of these semi-divine figures concealed a handful of selfish evildoers, interested more in popular consent than in concretely helping the needy? How can a practically invulnerable and almost omnipotent individual be stopped?
These are questions that have certainly bounced numerous times in the heads of fans in the last 70 years of comic production who have always painted superheroes as beings of pure light, always ready to sacrifice themselves for the good of the community.
And it certainly flashed also in that of the legendary cartoonist Garth Ennis when in 2006, in collaboration with the designer Darick Robertson, he brought to light The Boysa work whose main objective was to demolish, deconstruct and, in some ways, vandalize the archetype of the superhero, imagining a reality in which the latter are nothing more than the products of an unscrupulous multinational interested in capitalizing on the most possible on their deeds, hiding even their most vulgar wickedness under the proverbial carpet (reminds you of something? Editor’s note).
After all, it is also a recurring theme in the stories concerning the superman par excellence, Superman: when you are stronger, faster, more resistant, more unassailable than any other being on the face of the Earth, there really is a feeling strong enough to make you stay tied to humanity with all its imperfections? Is there really anything that can make you respect the rules if there is no one who can enforce them?
The Boys constantly revolves around these concepts by proposing a distorted, violent, adult and at times obscene version of the Super, placing them in a dystopian context in which only a small group of prison leftovers without powers but in the pay of the CIA are willing to stand up against the misdeeds of Vought International. The comic book by Ennis and Derrickson spared no gory details on the hidden lives of metahumans as well as scenes of unprecedented violence, far above the ordinary, and any amenity that can characterize a product intended for an adult audience.
Just the idea of transposing content of this caliber into a live-action series to be broadcast on one of the world’s leading streaming platforms would make any Hollywood producer sweat, but Amazon Prime Video has shown courage by producing two seasons of a show. which regularly runs on the fine line that separates what can actually be shown on any television network and what, according to the law, must be at least diluted to fall within the fees established by the classification bodies of audiovisual products.
The first two episode sets of Prime Video’s The Boys transposition were truly extreme, far more so than the vast majority of other productions currently in distribution, and knowing the unfolding of events in the comics, we wondered how far they would go with the inevitable. third season.
Well, after having previewed six episodes of the series that will arrive on the platform starting from June 3 on a weekly basis, we can tell you that everything you have seen so far will seem like just a slight autumn breeze compared to the authentic hurricane of violence, sex. and drug taking shape this season.
Let’s proceed in order but first a necessary clarification. This article will not contain any spoilers on the third season of The Boys but, although we will limit ourselves a lot in the analysis of the plot, inevitably there will be references to some key moments of the past two seasons. If you haven’t seen them yet, don’t continue reading!
About a year has passed since last season’s shocking epilogue. Homelander and the rest of the Vought superheroes are attempting to keep a low profile due to the planetary scandal involving the leader of the Seven, engaged in a romantic relationship with the heroine Stormfront who, as it turned out, hid a fervent past. supporter of Hitler’s Nazi party.
The Boys are taking advantage of the period of relative calm to put their lives in order: Billy Butcher (Karl Urban) is mourning the brutal death of his beloved Becca; Little Hughie (Jack Quaid) works steadily as a collaborator of Congresswoman Victoria Neuman (Claudia Doumit) and forms an enviable pair with superhero Starlight (Erin Moriarty); Kimiko (Karen Fukuhara) and Frenchie (Tomer Kapon) now live almost in symbiosis in a friendship that perhaps hides something stronger; Maternal Milk (Laz Alonzo), for her part, seems to have completely set aside the hunt for the Supers to devote herself to the family. All this, however, is destined to change radically.
The already shaky psyche of the very powerful Homelander (a character masterfully played by the New Zealand actor Antony Starr) is put to the test even more by the polls that reveal a drastic drop in popularity, without any precedent in history, and by some internal reorganization decisions of the multinational that seem destined to undermine his leadership among the Seven.
Meanwhile, Butcher, in perennial disagreement with the methods of Hughie who tries to prosecute the misdeeds of the Supers in purely legal ways, became aware of the potential existence of a weapon capable of eliminating any metahuman definitively, even those apparently indestructible. like the evil Homelander.
To recover it, however, he will have to embark with his allies on a high-risk mission on the trail of the first superhero in history, the legendary Soldier Boy, brought to the screen by the American actor Jensen Ackles, who became famous, among other things. , for the role of Dean Winchester in the cult TV series Supernatural.
Let’s not go any further so as not to spoil any kind of surprise but we can guarantee you that, on a narrative level, the third season of The Boys has several surprises in store, some of which are rather … disconcerting. The first episodes are characterized by a more staid pace, more oriented towards political games than actual action but, moving forward, like the best of diesel engines that takes a while to fuel and then explodes in all its power. , showrunner Eric Kripke indulges in breathtaking action sequences, as well as the much-discussed segment of the Hererogasm whose name leaves little room for interpretation and which, in the live-action version, has been reinterpreted to better fit the plot but has kept however the grotesque and rough essence that had distinguished him in the comics.
Just like in previous seasons, there remains a subtext of violent social criticism of the distortions of American society (and not only), too often committed to idolizing gilded figures built at a table, completely ignoring the rot they hide in the spotlight. There is time to touch on most of the hottest and most sensitive topics of current affairs such as racism, toxic relationships, the systemic sex that pervades the wealthiest companies, the maddening fiction of the entertainment world and much more.
Of course, most of these topics are only treated in a superficial way but it is evident that The Boys wants to be a sort of parody of everything that is wrong with the modern corporate structure and, if you read between the lines, you realize that he does with a shrewdness and an insight with few equals.
What about the acting rehearsals of the various performers instead? The work done by the cast of the third season of The Boys maintains the quality levels that had already convinced us in past editions, with the never too acclaimed Homelander by Antony Starr that here appears even more disturbing and relentless than in the past (there are a couple of thrilling monologues that, we are sure, will become little mines of quotes in the years to come).
The performances of all the members of the Boys were also excellent, among which, of course, Karl Urban’s irresistible Billy Butcher, as always foul-mouthed, sharp and always with a ready joke. In this case we find him embroiled in an inner conflict that is tearing him apart but he remains the same adorable bitch we have come to know.
The biggest surprise, however, is Jensen Ackles’ interpretation of Soldier Boy who, thanks to his innate charisma, literally pierces the screen and brings to the stage a character who effectively parodies the spotless and fearless hero from a past. remote in Captain America style and does it in a very personal way that has broken our hearts.
The directorial system is also good, although without surprising with particularly brilliant ideas, it is capable of following with a certain wealth of detail even the most disturbing scenes which, believe us, are present to an even greater extent than in the past. On the other hand, the visual and prosthetic effects have reached a very respectable level of quality in this third season, perhaps thanks to the higher budget allocated for this new edition.
In short, these first six episodes of the third season of The Boys have given us exactly what we hoped to find at this point in the plot: a lot of violence, many twists and some truly memorable moments. The pace is decidedly less convulsive because the script takes its time to outline a situation that is rapidly degenerating, as if it were placing all the pieces on the board before the inevitable final slaughter.
We still need to see (and evaluate) the ending but, at present we can be absolutely satisfied and convinced that this third season will really leave its mark. ‘Don’t worry, Dad is back’ and he’s in better shape than ever.
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