Seasons one and two of The Boys is streaming now on Amazon Prime. Would it be fair to say that Homelander is the greatest villain in TV history? I think so, and here’s why.
To put it mildly, this is a phenomenal show. It has excellent action, and intriguing story, and – most notably – incredibly well-designed characters. All of the characters have multiple layers. The good guys of the show (notable the titular Boys) all have flaws. The villains (such as most of the members of The Seven) all have at least one trait that make them even semi-redeemable.
However, none of the characters are as expertly designed and portrayed as Homelander.
Homelander, as portrayed by Antony Starr, is one of the most fascinating TV characters in recent years. It is still early in the show’s run, but one could argue that he might even end up in the upper echelon of the all-time great TV show and movie villains.
But why is he such a phenomenal character? What makes him stand out among his peers in villainy? In this article I will take a look at exactly those questions. So let’s don our America capes and dive in!
Before we move any further, an obvious note, there are SPOILERS in this article. If you haven’t watched the show yet and want to appreciate Homelander in all his glory on your own, turn back now.
Who is he?
In The Boys, Homelander is the leader of The Seven.
On paper, he is the Greatest American Hero. He even wears a cape that is decorated with the American Flag. He has super powers such as flight, near invincibility, and powerful heat vision. If that sounds familiar, it should – he is very much analogous to other All-American DC Comics stalwart, Superman.
He appeals to the masses and inspires them to love their country. He is represented as the Greatest American, representing true American values and all that is great about his country. When a documentary is filmed about his upbringing, his childhood home is presented as a vaguely Midwestern locale where farmland, fresh air, and baseball rule the day. He seems wholesome and true, and unlike his brethren in The Seven he is driven by his desire to help others and make the world a better place.
In reality he is…very much not any of those things.
Well, when you really stop to think about it, he might actually be all of those things. But just not in the way that you might think on the surface level.
To put it mildly, Homelander is essentially the Evil Mirror Universe version of Superman. If Superman is everything that is good about America, Homelander is everything that is wrong about it. Or perhaps, everything that is accurate about it. Superman is how America sees itself; Homelander is how the rest of the world tends to see America (there are actually quite a few excellent memes about this topic).
Superman is everything that makes America great. Homelander is what Makes America Great Again. Like Superman, Homelander is an assumed to be an alien who crashed into earth as a baby. Superman then did grow up on a quintessentially American farm and lived an idyllic life early on. But Homelander? He only pretended to grow up on a farm, as noted earlier in his documentary. In truth, he grew up in lab being experimented on using Compound V. He was either an alien or a baby stolen from his family and warped to become the American Ideal.
He seems like he does it for the people, but he only does it for himself. And while he seems like the best and purest of The Seven, he is actually the most ruthless and violent of all of them.
What makes Homelander such a great villain?
Perhaps it was a coincidence that Antony Starr, who portrays the All-American Homelander, is from New Zealand. Or perhaps it was a calculated decision intended for ironic effect. Either way, it is just one of many ways in which Homelander is inauthentic.
Like so much of America, or at least of how the rest of the world sees America, Homelander seems authentic. But is instead a carefully crafted creation of a laboratory setting. He is therefore completely inauthentic, a False God for a country that adores him but he does not care about. He’ll care about you but only for as long as it helps him. If you don’t fit his needs or help increase ratings or movie sales, he’ll drop you (sometimes very literally).
It is this duplicity and in-authenticity that is the biggest reason that Homelander is such an amazing villain. He seems like the greatest hero but only cares about himself. He, like his fellow heroes in The Seven, only want to save the day and beat the bad guys when the cameras are watching.
There are many times in The Boys in which we see this duality play out. One of these instances comes in the first episode when Homelander shoots down the Mayor of Baltimore’s plane, killing everyone inside (including the Mayor’s young son). The Mayor has just essentially blackmailed Madelyn Stillwell, the bureaucrat in charge of handling The Seven, into getting more money for a Baltimore-based superhero based on circumstantial evidence about the mysterious Compound V.
Not an honourable move you’d think. But it was a necessary one to get the protection he needed for his city.
Then, on the way home, the Mayor’s son notices a flying figure outside their aircraft. A heroic one. It’s a bird, he thinks. It’s a plane! No, it’s Superm Homelander! And he’s here to…murder everyone on board and cover up all evidence of wrongdoing and maintain the status quo.
And how does Homelander celebrate this heinous act? By pursuing Madelyn sexually, even though she has a young child. A child that Homelander is not the father to or a being that he even cares about. But don’t worry, everyone! Homelander will ultimately remedy this situation by…murdering Madelyn and framing Billy Butcher for it. Why does he murder her? Because she covered up the fact that Homelander had a son with Butcher’s wife Rebecca.
Homelander, the true American patriot, decides to make up for lost time and be a father to his son by teaching him to fly, just like his dad! Except he does this by throwing his son off of the roof of his house. When his son can’t immediately fly, and in fact gets injured by this act, Homelander doesn’t show concern. He just gets…irritated. Father of the year, everyone!
But no act in in The Boys is more illustrative of Homelander’s character than that of the doomed airplane flight that Homelander and Queen Maeve attempt to rescue. In short: terrorists hijack a plane full of innocent people. And Homelander and Queen Maeve (who Homelander had a relationship with…and it’s always unclear how mutual the feelings were) arrive to defeat the terrorists and save the day. But unfortunately the terrorists have also infiltrated the cockpit and taken out the pilots. When Homelander tries to defeat the terrorists, he accidentally takes out the airplane engines and sends the plane into a tailspin.
As the plane begins to spiral into the abyss, panic sets in. The people on board panic and plead for the great Homelander to save them. Queen Maeve desperately wants to help and save the children if nothing else. But Homelander senses that the mission is a doomed one. He and Maeve cannot save those on board, and since they cannot save the innocents and increase their popularity with the general public, Homelander decides to cut his losses.
It is better to save oneself and still look like the hero than try to save the innocents and fail. At least that’s what Homelander believes. So he convinces Maeve to leave with him. The plane crashes. And everyone on board dies a tragic death that could have been avoided had Homelander done something. Anything.
But he doesn’t do anything. And why? Because Homelander evaluated the risk against the reward, and he believed that letting the people on board the plane die. And then blaming those responsible as terrorists that threatened the fabric of America would be better for his brand in the long run.
And this is why Homelander is such a despicable, yet exquisite, villain.
Hate for America
He is the representation of why people hate America across the globe. He tries to act like he is the hero but he only does things that are good for him. Things that best represent his brand. Will trying to save a plane full of innocent people cause more risk to his health and well being than letting them all die to make America seem like the great martyr but making him look like the tragic hero?
It doesn’t matter in the long run. There is no morality. And there is no good vs. evil. There’s only good ratings and money drawn from tragedy. Homelander, and America, only cares about helping those than improve his “Q” rating and increases his merchandise sales.
Homelander’s America: where the bottom line and t-shirt sales outweigh the costs of human lives. And that is why Homelander is the great modern villain: for him, capitalism outweighs altruism.
And that’s why Homelander from The Boys is the greatest villain in TV history. Do you agree or disagree with our points or have anything to add? If so, leave us a comment below.
Catch our review of The Boys season two HERE.
Read IMDB information about The Boys HERE.
Loki Episode 6 – Review
Episode six of Loki from Marvel is here, streaming now on Disney Plus. It’s time for the series finale. Here’s our review.
SPOILERS: If you’re reading this then you’ve probably seen the show, but if not there are spoilers ahead.
More to come
The post-credit scene showed that a second series has already been ordered, meaning this finale is essentially the end of Part One. Thank goodness it is. Because if this was the denouement of the entire Loki story then there’s a good chance it would go down in television infamy as one of the more unusual series endings.
Introducing the big bad
We pick up from Sylvie and Loki’s defeat of The Alioth as they look at the citadel upon the rock at the end of time. They make their way to the entrance, and upon being invited in they’re met by Miss Minutes. It’s been widely predicted that ‘she’ would be an agitator in this series. And at last her role has been revealed. She is an emissary of Kang The Conquerer, embedded within the TVA.
She offers Loki the earth, almost literally, as she tries to coax him to betray Sylvie. Her offers of infinity stones, defeating Thanos etc. Happily, Loki rejects all the trinkets that she offers. Instead, he and Sylvie head into the lift where they meet ‘He Who Remains’ aka Kang The Conquerer. A 31st-century scientist and the true timekeeper.
Sylvie attempts to kill him but he quickly demonstrates some of his powers by dodging and weaving her before she gives in and the three of them sit down for a very long discussion. To sum up what was a lengthy and occasionally fairly tedious scene. He Who Remains (HWR) asks Loki and Sylvie to kill him and take over the role of controlling the timeline. Loki is extremely reticent but Sylvie, angry at what HWR’s meddling has done to her life, is desperate to do so.
Meanwhile, back at TVA HQ, Renslayer is informed by Miss Minutes of HWR’s plan. Showing her dual role and playing on Renslayer’s desperation to keep the TVA active and relevant.
Loki and Sylvie get into a physical fight over what to do with HWR. With Loki recognising how the timeline will fragment with branches springing up all over the place. But Sylvie is consumed by her rage and eventually overpowers Loki, sending him back to the TVA and then kills He Who Remains.
Setting up season two
Loki finds Mobius and tries to explain what has happened. But then discovers the terrible effects of what Sylvie has done by apparently killing HWR. Mobius has no idea who Loki is. This situation is then made worse when Loki looks out to see a statue of He Who Remains adorning TVA HQ. Loki realises that he is in a different timeline branch. One where HWR or Kang is in control of everything. Sylvie has been manipulated into apparently killing him which has enabled him to increase his power further.
Jonathan Majors was masterful as He Who Remains. Which is what you’d expect from someone with a Masters in acting from Yale. He was flamboyant, powerful and mesmerising, which is exactly what you want from a major villain. He will be back in AntMan 3 as Kang The Conquerer and is set to be the key villain in the next phase of the MCU post-Endgame and Thanos.
I have been extremely positive about this series, as I think it has been the strongest and most cohesive of the Marvel series so far this year. But I can’t disagree with anyone who felt short-changed by this finale. My 11-year-old son was pretty vocal in his disappointment the moment the credits rolled, and he was absolutely right. He is one of the most obsessive Marvel fans around and if he was underwhelmed, I feel pretty sure he was reflecting the majority view. Nothing I’ve seen online since has dissuaded me from that either.
Phase 4 groundwork
It seemed that the finale was essentially an exercise in introducing He Who Remains or Kang to our screens ahead of AntMan 3. While this isn’t necessarily a problem, it meant that the focus shifted away from being the climax of this series. Instead of being a prologue for the next phase of the MCU, which does seem a peculiar decision.
There are those who feel that the series original premise of Loki and Mobius teaming up to find Variants dotted around time and space was dropped after the first two episodes. Instead, it was replaced with a love story between Sylvie and Loki and a voyage of discovery with Mobius reduced to a bit part for the rest of the series.
But, the cliffhanger at the end of the series as Loki returns to the TVA does give me hope that Series Two will be an even better follow up.
CULTURE CROSSING SCORE 6/10
Thank you for reading our review of Loki episode six. Do you agree or disagree with our points or have anything to add? If so, leave us a comment below.
Read our Loki episode five review HERE.
Read IMDB information about Loki HERE.
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