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GQ HYPE: The Boys Are Back


Written by admin on June 01 2022

gq.com – Of the many trenchant insights in The Boys— Amazon’s violent, brilliant superhero satire, which premieres its third season this week—my favorite is this: In the real world, the line between superheroism and celebrity would be indistinguishable.

None of the show’s many superheroes (who acquired their powers after being randomly injected with a scientifically-developed serum when they were babies) moonlights as a billionaire playboy, or churns out newspaper copy for the Daily Planet. In The Boys, working as a superhero isn’t about being a do-gooder. It’s about netting good coverage for the megacorporation that employs you, whose needs matter much more than, say, saving the world. In the end, super-strength or super-speed are no match for super-capitalism, which is why the show’s “supes,” as they’re known, are always surrounded by a small army of publicists ensuring they stay on message.

The parallels to real-life stardom are not lost on the show’s actual stars. “All these people that we worship, are they really happy? Are they secure? Do they really love each other as much as they do on red carpets?” says Laz Alonso, who plays Mother’s Milk, a member of the titular vigilante group that battles the supes.

No character embodies that tension more completely than Homelander, the superpowered sociopath who serves as the dark heart of The Boys. “Isolation is the natural byproduct of power,” says Antony Starr, the native New Zealander who’s riveting and terrifying in the role. Even Homelander’s fellow superheroes are afraid of him.

And they should be. Homelander is basically Superman, if he didn’t care about truth or justice. He does believe in the American Way, though not as the Man of Steel would define it: Homelander’s pettiness, cruelty, and all-encompassing narcissism makes him a quintessential Ugly American, spewing his insecurities across the globe. He never grows because he can’t. “He can literally fly away from his problems, or laser them away,” says Starr. “And it’s a complete curse, because ultimately [facing your problems] is what forges character.”

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