By: Collin Frazier
James Gunn with full control yields spectacular results
James Gunn has a knack for taking franchises that no one talks about and breathes zany, fresh life into them. First, it was for the MCU with “Guardians of the Galaxy.” He did it once again for the DCEU with “The Suicide Squad.” The combination of dark humor and extreme violence and gore gave moviegoers hope that the DCEU is finally heading in a bright direction, myself included.
Gunn picks up exactly where he left off with “Peacemaker,” which follows the titular character, played by John Cena, as he joins ‘Project Butterfly,’ in exchange for staying out of jail for his actions in the previous film. Knowing that Gunn was once again in control, I had very high hopes for this HBO Max original series, and I was still blown away with this show.
As always, consider this your spoiler alert.
What really makes this show so great is it does not really deviate from the direction Gunn took for “The Suicide Squad.” The violence is still extreme as ever, and in some cases, even more extreme than last time. Some prime examples include Peacemaker using his Sonic Boom helmet to completely
obliterate a metahuman he fought – flesh, bones, and all. Another example is Peacemaker having to kill an entire family of enemies, women and children too.
As well, the humor is still laugh-out hilarious. The insults between members of Project Butterfly, Peacemaker’s monologue regarding the morality of Batman – it’s still great to rewatch.
The icing on top of this violent, hilarious cake: a musical number for the opening credits for every episode, with every character keeping a stoic expression throughout the piece. The opening sequence will make you ignore the “skip intro” button every episode.
However, what stands out in this budding series is John Cena’s performance as the ruthless mercenary hellbent on achieving world peace. For the longest time, I only knew John Cena as the ‘Doctor of Thuganomics,’ a true WWE icon. Honestly, I thought he would never be able to break out as a legit movie star. Most of his films were pretty average at best and I thought he should have stayed in the WWE. This show finally showed how talented Cena is when given the right material. His one-liners were sharp but still hilarious, his dedication to wearing his suit in every scene is a great touch, and above all, he gave the main character heart. You started the show hating him for killing Colonel Rick Flag in the movie, but by the second episode, you feel bad for him. He truly regretted his actions and still wants to achieve world peace, but the right way this time.
With over half of season one left, I am beyond excited to see what else is in store for Peacemaker and the rest of the crew. The humor, action, and lead performance will make you laugh and empathize with the titular hero. My final rating for the first half of “Peacemaker” is 96/100.
Featured photo: IMDb.