The Boys are most definitely back in town as Prime Video’s tentpole show returns with a brand new series and an even bigger penchant for gleefully revelling in superheroes’ bloody antics. The star studded cast and powerhouse creative team – with showrunner Eric Kripke and producer Seth Rogen once again on board – are joined by a certain Supernatural star for long-awaited adaptation of some of the comic book’s most outrageous storylines yet!
Following a year of relative calm after the showdown with Stormfront (Aya Cash) and Homelander (Anthony Starr), Hughie (Jack Quaid) and Butcher (Karl Urban) have been settling in to their new roles working with Victoria Neuman (Claudia Doumit) and the government. But when a mysterious new green-colored Compound V shot finds its way into their hands – which coincidentally appears to be an Anti-Supe weapon – the feud between the Boys and the Seven heats up once again, pushing Butcher to his limits, unlocking the legend of the first Superhero: Soldier Boy (Jensen Ackles).
Showrunner Eric Kripke further delves into the utter mayhem and carnage of the source material – with some absolutely unbelievable scenes (yes, ‘Herogasm’ is here!) – while continuing to flesh out both members of The Boys and Vought’s superheroes. With an even more unhinged Homelander on the loose, the central narrative is a driven by a question of morality – just how far are you willing to go to bring down the ‘bad guys’? With this new untested shot supposedly levelling the playing field, are you becoming the thing you swore to destroy by taking it? It’s a fascinating moral quandary – combined with the arrival of an explosive Soldier Boy – which threatens to tear apart the Boys and Starlight.
The hallmark elements of the show – the outrageous amounts of people gorily exploding, the shocking sex sequences and subversion of superheroes – are interwoven throughout a fascinating thread once the shield-wielding, patriotic super-soldier enters the series. The leader of old Supe team Payback (pre The Seven), Kripke takes us for a trip down memory lane as we uncover his team’s sordid past, their involvement in Vietnam and his complicated dynamic with the Boys/the Seven in a narrative thread which somewhat echoes Watchmen.
The biting commentary on the media and big corporations – along with the satire of superhero tropes – once again shines through, particularly in the hilarious reality show American Hero, a certain cut of a superhero film with Dawn of the Seven and the parody advertising commercials – even the ‘Imagine’ celeb lockdown video is victim to a hilarious star-studded reimagining! The tone is extremely NSFW and closer to the comic book source material, which leads to some incredibly dark and even gorier sequences – certainly veering on the edge.
Despite pushing the boundaries – the show is still an utterly compelling superhero instalment, with the third series featuring plenty of fascinating flashbacks, intriguing team ups, tender scenes, twists and genuine WTF moments to keep you longing for the next episode. While the second series felt a little too on the nose with the reveal of Stormfront’s true identity, this third instalment further expands on the winning formulae of the first series, ramping up the lengths to which a faceless megacorporation will go to protect their group of sordid superheroes.
Kripke expertly holds a mirror-up-to-society with Vought spinning stories in the media to manipulate ratings and audience numbers in fanbases, while exploiting the country’s social media obsession. The interpersonal politics and ever shifting dynamics between the Seven, Vought employees and The Boys is riveting, along with the show-runner’s impressive tendencies of getting under the skin of the central villains – somehow making you think twice about the trauma-ridden and paranoid Supes. Utilising creative flashbacks and quieter, tender moments, the writers’ cleverly delve into the humanity amongst the superpowers – reminding you of the real cost of Vought’s control.
The whole cast are as brilliant as ever, with the writer’s room excitedly further fleshing out established characters including Jessie T Usher’s A-Train, Laz Alonso’s Mother’s Milk and Nathan Mitchell’s Black Noir, paired with fantastic new additions including Supernatural star Jensen Ackles’ Soldier Boy and his historic team, Payback. Imagine John Walker’s US Agent crossed with the Winter Soldier – sprinkle in a touch of PTSD, drugs and brutal violence – and there’s your unpredictable soldier driven by vengeance. The Supe’s dynamic with Butcher and the Boys is captivating, as they explore the murky depths of morality and ethics on their mission to bring down Homelander once and for all.
Anthony Starr is once again deliciously unhinged – yet somehow surprisingly affecting – as the ticking time bomb that is Homelander, while the effortlessly charismatic Karl Urban pushes Butcher’s moral and ethical boundaries to the limits. The pair share an absolutely riveting dynamic, reaching almost frenemy level. However, Butcher’s obsession to bring his nemesis down further drives a wedge between him and The Boys, especially when Temp V and Soldier Boy come into play. Throughout this (intensely gory) cat and mouse game, Tomer Capone’s Frenchie & Karen Fukuhara’s Kimiko Miyashiro prove the heart and humanity of the series, bringing a refreshingly sweet tenderness to the often dark nature of the show. You’re also going to want to keep an eye out for Joel Labell’s Ant-Man-esque Supe Swatto!
The creative team appear to challenge themselves to come up something even bigger, bloodier and even more grotesque than the previous season, and they’ve undoubtedly topped this with the highly anticipated adaptation of ‘Herogasm’ – an episode which feels like it’s pulled straight from the comics. The series has always featured extreme violence and depravity, but this reaches new highs (or lows?) – and yes, the giant shlong is back! There’s also a number of outstanding showdowns between the Supes and the Boys that feel almost ripped from Captain America: Civil War, juxtaposed with a couple of musical dance numbers and intriguingly animated sequences.
The Boys season 3 is darker, bloodier and even more explosive than before – as Kripke and co. take a fascinating dive into the history of Soldier Boy and Payback, the original Vought group. With a slew of gripping Supe showdowns, a biting social commentary and even more compelling character arcs, Prime Video’s tentpole show keeps going from strength to strength, proving to be one of the most bold and creative superhero streaming titles.
The third season of The Boys will premiere with the first three episodes on Friday, 3rd June, and new episodes streaming each Friday following, culminating in the season finale on 8th July.