If superhero stories are the modern mythology of our time, then The Boys on Amazon Prime is the entertaining (and extremely explicit) CliffsNotes version. Homelander, the show’s superhero-villain-antagonist played by Antony Starr, pushes the series’ heavy-handed sociopolitical commentary. The show’s dramatized conflicts draw obvious allusions to our country’s current political divide. Homelander is the brash, “fake-news” figurehead of the superhero conglomerate, Vought International, who has tapped into a political base that appreciates his disdain toward political correctness and cultural sensitivities. In this aspect, it’s a bit over the top, as The Boys relies too heavily upon tired political caricatures as a shortcut to developing nuanced and complicated characters.
Where the show’s social commentary really shines, however, is its development of the Kimiko character (Karen Fukuhara). In the third season, ex-superhero Kimiko found a way to reverse the effects of Compound V, a serum used by Vought International to turn generations of “regular” human beings into superheroes, or “Supes,” to do its bidding. Vought International is in the business of creating superheroes to further its capitalist agenda, which, apart from the superheroes’ regular duties, includes starring in movies and selling merchandise. Upon reversing Compound V’s effects, Kimiko hoped that it would undo the trauma of her past life as a Supe—a life filled with rage and vengeance. But upon becoming a “normal human” again, she realizes, “It was always me. … I blamed the (Compound) V for making me a monster, but that’s not true. It is just who I am.”
Kimiko’s internal struggle is the highlight of the third season (Amazon Prime has already commissioned a fourth), and the fact that she wasn’t pigeon-holed into playing the overly seductive temptress, or the soft-spoken pushover—common racist stereotypes for Asian women—is something to be highlighted and commended. Whereas Homelander taps into a caricature, Kimiko is nuanced and developed. (Rated TV-MA for offensive language, sexuality, violence. Amazon Prime)
*Note: This show is extremely explicit in sexual content. It includes scenes that most will consider inappropriate for youth. Viewer discretion is advised.