- Hamish Hart
Peacemaker (2022) TV Series Review
THE SUCCESS of director/writer James Gunn has been nothing short of powerful; his rise from a small-time film creator into one of Hollywood's most beloved directors, courtesy of films such as Guardians of the Galaxy and Slither, was a joy to witness. Last year saw Gunn release The Suicide Squad, a superhero phenomenon which would see many characters such as Peacemaker become loved by fans, resulting in this series of the same name which many are calling just as good if not better.
Immediately picking up where The Suicide Squad left off, the show follows Christopher Smith aka Peacemaker (John Cena) after complications with a fellow squad member leaves him recovering at his trailer park home. His homecoming is short-lived as abnormal situations begin to develop, forcing Smith to confront his past, as well as his future after new allies - and foes - make Peacemaker doubt his own beliefs that peace is worth any price.
James Gunn has always been a master of writing combative characters that still maintain a measure of humility and charm, with not only Peacemaker, but the rest of the cast being no different. The cast is held together by a compelling story that may not hold together at the best of times, but makes you root for their often over-bearing egos when it counts. Peacemaker takes a bit to get going, with the first few episodes dragging along as the lucrative amount of jokes and expositions leaves little for viewers to become truly invested in. But by the time episode five comes around, that's when the show cranks it up another gear to become something unforgettable in all the right ways.
The best comedies are able to mix amusing, ludicrous humour with earnest, substantial emotion, creating a wealth of character advancement which allows them to become people with actual character rather than uninteresting, tedious architypes utilised in every bland piece of media. Peacemaker is no different, blending the iconic wit that is James Gunn's writing with his equally as impressive vision for mawkish, impassioned moments of emotion that all feel well-deserved because of the performances given by all involved.
John Cena, much like he did in The Suicide Squad, owns the role of Peacemaker. His deadpan delivery of the most disconcerting opinions result in the series' best jokes, and alongside his third best friend Vigilante (Freddie Stroma), the two create pure comedy gold. Cena also manages to be one of the show's emotional centrepieces through his relationship with on-screen father Auggie (Robert Patrick); anxiety-inducing scenes involving flashbacks of the Smiths result in moments that wouldn't feel out of place in even the most serious of shows. Side characters such as Harcourt (Jennifer Holland), Murn (Chukwudi Iwuji), and Adebayo (Danielle Brooks) also manage to shine amid the perpetual charisma machine that is John Cena, and while they make the most of their well-written personas, there is a reason why the series is called Peacemaker.
Many comic book adaptations rely on viewers being well-versed in the complete history of their characters, but Peacemaker manages to be genuinely funny, emotional and interesting without any prior commitment to the property. The show may take a while to get going, but the ever-eccentric James Gunn brings spunk to this series, as well as a poignant statement and ending which has left fans - such as myself - wanting more. Despite its minimal flaws, Peacemaker is a superhero show that can be enjoyed by diehards or "tired ofs"; a rare commodity to be sure.