With Amazon's dark superhero series The Boys, showrunner Eric Kripke has taken aim not just at superhero movie cliches, but Hollywood culture in general. One of the most entertaining scenes in the Season 2 finale involves the show's three most prominent female heroes kicking the shit out of a literal nazi supervillain. In an interview, Kripke explained how indignation over Hollywood's hollow idea of feminism as exemplified by the scene in Avengers: Endgame where all the female superheroes come together for no reason inspired the scene in The Boys.
"A lot of that came from our executive producer, Rebecca Sonneshine, who came in after the weekend Endgame opened. She was just furious. I saw it, too, and I was like, "That was the dumbest, most contrived-" And she's like, "Don't get me started." She found it condescending and I agreed. So that just created for us a target, a satirical target. When there's something really ridiculous in either superhero or celebrity or Hollywood culture, we'll immediately go after it. It's an easy shot."
In Endgame, in the midst of a pitched battle on several fronts against the forces of Thanos, all the female superheroes in the MCU, referred to as A-Force, improbably decide to come together for a few scenes to battle together, despite most of them never having shared screen space before. The scene is often made fun of for its token feminism while the larger MCU continues to be dominated by male characters.
Still, despite making fun of Avengers: Endgame on The Boys, and Homelander being a pastiche of Captain America and Superman, Kripke clarified that he is not actually against the MCU.
"People might be surprised to know this, but I'm actually a fan of the Marvel stuff. The filmmaking is often impeccable. I actually really enjoy the humorous tone that a lot of them are written in. They're snarky and fast and glib and I like that style. My issue with them are not the movies themselves, but that there's too many of them overall."
The idea that superhero movies have taken over pop culture to a dangerous extent, making it difficult for films in any other genre to get made, is one that has been doing the rounds of the entertainment industry for a few years now. As far as Kripke is concerned, his problem with superhero films is not based on their relative artistic merits, but rather the kind of authority figures they glorify:
"I sort of believe it's dangerous, not to overstate it or be overdramatic, but it's a little dangerous to train an entire generation to wait for someone strong to come in and save you. That's I think how you end up with people like Trump and populists who say, "I'm the only one who can come in, it's going to be me." And I think in the way that pop-culture conditions people subtly, I think it's conditioning them the wrong way - because there's just too much of it. So I think it's nice to have a corrective, at least a small one in us, to say, "They're not coming to save you. Hold your family together and save yourselves."
This news first appeared at The Hollywood Reporter.