Gore in superhero movies and television is almost unavoidable these days. Prime Video The boys has undoubtedly been a pioneer since its premiere in 2019, followed by other recent examples such as James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad and Peacemakerthe animated series Invincibleand that of Sam Raimi Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, each offering their own version of blood and guts in a superhero story.
The third season of The boyswhich premiered with its first three episodes on Prime Video Friday, takes this to new heights with an extensive, extremely X-rated gag featuring an Ant-Man-like character named Termite.
[Ed. note: This piece contains spoilers for The Boys season 3 episode 1.]
In the first episode of the new season, Frenchie (Tomer Kapon) and Kimiko (Karen Fukuhara) track down a superhero named Termite. He is able to shrink to a tiny size, much like Marvel’s Ant-Man.
When we meet Termite, he’s the life of the party – the guests all watch him fake sex with a doll in a dollhouse. Soon after, he retreats to a private room with a romantic partner. The pair snort lines of cocaine together, then, on command, Termite shrinks and hops into his romantic partner’s penis, like a speleologist walking through a gigantic phallic cave. Once inside, he touches the walls of this “cellar” in a fun way, to stimulate his partner.
Unfortunately, Termite (which, it bears repeating, made a tonne of cocaine) sneezes inside the penis, accidentally reverting to human size and blasting his partner’s lower half in the process. In a show with a lot of “They did What?!?!” gags, she’s a standout in the sex and guts department.
How much inspiration was the MCU’s Ant-Man for the gag? A lotincluding the well-established “asshole theoryabout Ant-Man battling Thanos. After discussing which superheroes they hadn’t yet parodied, the show’s writers’ room settled on Ant-Man.
“Back then, there was this meme like, why doesn’t Ant-Man just go in Thanos’ butt and blast him, right?” showrunner Eric Kripke told Polygon. “And so we said, Well, let’s give that to the public, ’cause we can give them what they want. But Marvel just can’t give it to them. And then hilarious, one of the writers […] raise your hand and say: Did we do a butt blast in season 1? And it’s true, we did. And so, you know, once you get your ass off the table, there’s really only so many orifices, you know, a guy can get in there.
The scene includes an image of Termite jumping into the giant penis (from his point of view, at least), as well as a sequence where he is inside. And yes, the giant penis is a practical effect. The boys the team really built this.
“My favorite little factoid about this scene is, even though the visual effects softened it, it’s a practical penis,” Kripke said. “11 feet high and 20 feet long, built at great expense. So when he jumps in that hole, it’s a real thing going on. And that’s part 7030 of why I love this job.
Kripke acknowledges the gore trend as something he’s also seen in the superhero genre, but isn’t willing to attribute the change solely to The boys.
“There’s definitely a tendency to deconstruct the superhero genre,” Kripke said. “But I think ultimately it’s inevitable when you have such a strong cultural force. Like you remember the comic book trend for how long you had very straight-forward superhero stuff? And then you had like this British invasion of Alan Moore and Neil Gaiman and Garth Ennis, which made The boys, then they deconstruct it and destroy it, but rebuild it and pay homage to it and just start playing with the form? I think you see the same thing happening on television. So I don’t know if someone is inspired by someone else. Just some kind of smell in the air.
The first three episodes of season 3 of The boys are now available on Prime Video.