Weekender Bahrain, Wednesday, December 11 2019

The Boys is now streaming on Amazon.

admin 01-Dec-2019

Streaming services have ushered in a whole new kind of reach and visibility for creativity in the field of 'filmmaking'. Whether they are short films, feature films, mini-series or full-blown web series, we are presently spoilt for choice. Weekender will review one production every week, so you can add or take it off your to-do list for the weekend! 

This week, Nebal Shafi reviews Amazon Prime show The Boys
 
Rating: 3.5/5
The cynicism of Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson’s The Boys isn’t something that you can dismiss in the age of comic book adaptations we’re currently living through, and Amazon has done nothing to downplay that fact with its new series is based on the book. Whether we like to admit it or not, superheroes and the corporations that created them have become integral parts of our general pop-cultural discourse, and that reality is something worth unpacking.

Despite all of its larger-than-life, comic book-y trappings, The Boys is a show rooted in a very specific aspect of our reality. Here, superheroes aren’t just real or symbolic figures living lives removed from those of the people they protect. They’re bona fide celebrities who make awkward appearances on late-night talk shows promoting both their heroic efforts and the upcoming films based on their lives, all of which are carefully orchestrated by a monolithic corporation that the public worships.

In the world of The Boys, people don’t just worship superheroes because they save lives and ostensibly make the world a better place, but because the heroes are very much in on the consumerist, capitalization of fandom that you see here in the real world. Unlike the live-action adaptations of certain other comic books, The Boys’ admittedly grimdark storytelling serves a legitimate, non-aesthetic purpose. The series wants you to sit with the idea of a world with honest-to-God capes and think honestly about what that might look like; in doing so, it also makes you consider just what it is that you, the viewers, get out of superhero narratives.

The Boys does eventually get around to a rather traditional plot about capes going after villains who pose a legitimate threat to public safety, but the show’s politics and cultural commentary are easily its strongest suits.

Unlike Marvel or DC’s live-action heroes, who all kill in what passes for “audience-friendly” ways that have desensitized people to the reality of what they’re doing, The Boys’ metahumans revel in the brutality of their attacks. The show wants you to understand just what kinds of dangerous, but relatively pedestrian, things a person with super-strength could do, like squeezing someone’s head with their thighs until the person’s head explodes. Every so often, The Boys ups its gore factor for no reason other than to remind you of the grossness that logically comes along with super-heroics, and it has the added effect of highlight the ideological griminess of it all.

By the end of the season’s eight episodes, The Boys manages to tell a solid story with a breadth and depth of character development that Netflix’s cape fare always insisted it needed more time to do, which is refreshing, and its reflections on the ways that we obsess over comic book heroes are interesting. That all being said, The Boys is an Amazon production, and no amount of biting critique is going to change the fact that it’s every bit a part of the big machine it’s rallying against as Warner Bros. or Disney.

 

The Boys is now streaming on Amazon.

Streaming services have ushered in a whole new kind of reach and visibility for creativity in the field of 'filmmaking'. Whether they are short films, feature films, mini-series or full-blown web series, we are presently spoilt for choice. Weekender will review one production every week, so you can add or take it off your to-do list for the weekend! 
 
This week, Nebal Shafi reviews Amazon Prime show The Boys
 
Rating: 3.5/5
 
The cynicism of Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson’s The Boys isn’t something that you can dismiss in the age of comic book adaptations we’re currently living through, and Amazon has done nothing to downplay that fact with its new series is based on the book. Whether we like to admit it or not, superheroes and the corporations that created them have become integral parts of our general pop-cultural discourse, and that reality is something worth unpacking.

Despite all of its larger-than-life, comic book-y trappings, The Boys is a show rooted in a very specific aspect of our reality. Here, superheroes aren’t just real or symbolic figures living lives removed from those of the people they protect. They’re bona fide celebrities who make awkward appearances on late-night talk shows promoting both their heroic efforts and the upcoming films based on their lives, all of which are carefully orchestrated by a monolithic corporation that the public worships.

In the world of The Boys, people don’t just worship superheroes because they save lives and ostensibly make the world a better place, but because the heroes are very much in on the consumerist, capitalization of fandom that you see here in the real world. Unlike the live-action adaptations of certain other comic books, The Boys’ admittedly grimdark storytelling serves a legitimate, non-aesthetic purpose. The series wants you to sit with the idea of a world with honest-to-God capes and think honestly about what that might look like; in doing so, it also makes you consider just what it is that you, the viewers, get out of superhero narratives.

The Boys does eventually get around to a rather traditional plot about capes going after villains who pose a legitimate threat to public safety, but the show’s politics and cultural commentary are easily its strongest suits.

Unlike Marvel or DC’s live-action heroes, who all kill in what passes for “audience-friendly” ways that have desensitized people to the reality of what they’re doing, The Boys’ metahumans revel in the brutality of their attacks. The show wants you to understand just what kinds of dangerous, but relatively pedestrian, things a person with super-strength could do, like squeezing someone’s head with their thighs until the person’s head explodes. Every so often, The Boys ups its gore factor for no reason other than to remind you of the grossness that logically comes along with super-heroics, and it has the added effect of highlight the ideological griminess of it all.

By the end of the season’s eight episodes, The Boys manages to tell a solid story with a breadth and depth of character development that Netflix’s cape fare always insisted it needed more time to do, which is refreshing, and its reflections on the ways that we obsess over comic book heroes are interesting. That all being said, The Boys is an Amazon production, and no amount of biting critique is going to change the fact that it’s every bit a part of the big machine it’s rallying against as Warner Bros. or Disney.

The Boys is now streaming on Amazon.