The Boys has repeatedly taken satirical aim at the MCU, but the show will need to update the source comic’s version of Soldier Boy to keep up with the popular movie franchise. Since the series began in 2019, The Boys has become a cult phenomenon thanks to its take-no-prisoners deconstruction of superheroes and their movie adaptations.
An ultra-violent and sharply cynical look at superhero media, The Boys is an adaptation of Garth Ennis’ bleak, brutal comic series of the same name, which chronicles the exploits of the titular team of vigilantes who are out to take down a set of overpowered, corrupt superheroes known as “the Seven.” The Seven’s members range from the relatively well-meaning Starlight to the sociopathic Homelander, but their moral failings pale in comparison to some of the other so-called “Supes” seen in the series.
Season 2 of The Boys introduced a new antagonist to the series in the form of Stormfront, a seemingly charming female superhero who was eventually revealed to be a neo-Nazi super-soldier. However, while You’re The Worst star Aya Cash stole the show as Stormfront and managed to make the monstrous character surprisingly engaging, the TV version of The Boys had to alter the character massively from their comic counterpart. To reflect the changing face of right-wing extremism and its acolytes, the show turned the comic’s muscular fascist into a selfie-snapping Internet personality (who was also a fascist beneath her cheery veneer). Similarly, the show’s upcoming third season will need to significantly alter the character of Soldier Boy from his comic counterpart so The Boys can continue to parody the MCU. The MCU has altered the cultural perception of Captain America, meaning this parody of the character will need an update too.
Played in the comic’s television adaptation by Supernatural’s Jensen Ackles, Soldier Boy looks set to be a major player in the third season of The Boys. As he exists in the source comics, Soldier Boy is one of the earliest “Supes” and the leader of a group of superheroes who rival the Seven, known as “Payback.” His characterization is a clear parody of the original Captain America, as Soldier Boy has as callous a disregard for human life as the rest of the comic’s largely amoral cast, but balks at petty obscenities like swearing. Although his “morality” keeps him from participating in the sexual free-for-all of the Herogasm orgies (but allows him to commit mass murder), he does wish for the approval of the Seven and is often portrayed as a coward desperate to impress Homelander.
Since the movies of the Marvel Cinematic Universe are now among the most popular blockbusters ever produced and The Boys spends much of its screen time parodying characters from the series, it is inevitable that Chris Evans’ iteration of Captain America will be the character that viewers compare Soldier Boy to when season 3 arrives. Few viewers will be as familiar with the older, more traditional iteration of Captain America that the source comic of The Boys used Soldier Boy to parody, and keeping his frequent utterances of “golly!” and “gee whiz!” could risk feeling dated because of how little resemblance the MCU’s popular version of Captain America bears to that goofy naif. The original Captain America, an unsophisticated propaganda tool from the 1940s, inevitably feels as if it were written a lifetime ago now, and as the "present" Cap is very different, his satirical takedown Soldier Boy will need to be altered, too.
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