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Like a kitten clinging to the top branch of a tall tree, “The Boys” is always on the edge of disaster. The dark and violent Amazon series teeters between vicious cultural commentary and over-indulgent naïveté. Thus is the peril of making a show that relies on familiar tropes long enough to upend them, just as often as it leans on tough-guy posturing to entertain. But even though the first season will make you feel icky enough to drop out entirely, Eric Kripke’s eight-episode adaptation of Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson’s comic book proves itself savvy enough in Season 1 to earn all that cringing. Someone or something swoops in to save the day, and one decision in particular ensures the kitten won’t have to give up any of its nine lives just yet, but we’ll get to that in a second.
First off, there’s a lot about “The Boys” that’s familiar, most of it purposefully so. When first introduced, the show’s superheroes are doing everything you’d expect: They’re saving kids, stopping bank robberies, and taking selfies with fervent fans. But once out of the public eye, these heroes are anything but heroic. They frequent private clubs where cell-phone bans give them the freedom to act however they want, which involves an incredible-shrinking-man sizing-down and long-jumping into a woman’s ****, and skybound supers having very public sex among the rafters, as only they can.
World - Superhero - Job - Clock - Code
It turns out in this world, being a superhero is just a job like any other. On the clock, you’ve got to follow a code of conduct. But left to your own devices, the temptation to abuse ones gifts prove too tempting. More than that, some heroes are more than willing to let people die if it means protecting their public image — or their company’s. Vought, a multi-billion...
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