Peacemaker Season 1 Review - The DCEU's Debut Hit Series
(via: DC Comics)
After James Gunn’s hit DCEU movie The Suicide Squad released, it didn’t take long for Warner Bros. to announce their first spin-off series centred around one of the most popular characters from the movie, Peacemaker. Originally releasing on HBO Max in January for the US & Canada, DC’s newest live-action series is now available to stream worldwide.
Peacemaker stars former 16-time WWE champion-turned-actor John Cena in the titular role and follows the characters next adventure after miraculously surviving the events of The Suicide Squad movie. Joined by a team consisting of Emilia Harcourt (Jennifer Holland) & John Economos (Steve Agee), who also featured in The Suicide Squad; alongside fellow government agents Clemson Murn (Chukwudi Iwuji) & Leota Adebayo (Danielle Brooks); and Peacemaker’s crime fighting buddy, Vigilante (Freddie Stroma), Peacemaker and Co team up to fight off the White Dragon and stop an alien invasion titled “Project Butterfly”.
With all episodes written -and most of them directed - by James Gunn, Peacemaker highlights every bit of Gunn’s signature style. Full of obscure outcasts, hilarious laughs, an awesome soundtrack & fantastic character development, Peacemaker is the perfect mix of realism and a little bit of comic book goofiness (in a good way). Though possessing no superhuman powers, Cena’s Peacemaker aka Christopher Smith finds himself battling alien butterflies as well as his racist father in a super suit known as the White Dragon. James Gunn is never one to shy away from the absurd concepts that can come from the comic book genre, and though not entirely accurate to the source material it is pulling from, Peacemaker is without a doubt one of the best comic book shows to date.
(via: DC Comics)
Juggling the large cast would presumably be a tricky task, but for Peacemaker, this job is executed perfectly with each character embarking on their own journey of personal growth. Peacemaker, a formerly no-nonsense killing machine who would kill anyone for peace, now questions his quest after now resenting his childhood trauma he subjected from his father; Harcourt, a government agent with a hard exterior, trained to do whatever is necessary to complete her task evolves into a caring, kind individual who becomes more in touch with her emotions and grows close to her dysfunctional family; and Adebayo, daughter of the ruthless leader of the Suicide Squad, Amanda Waller (Viola Davis), drafted into the agency work as a last resort, unsure of herself and prone to mistakes, grows to accept herself and put herself on the line for the greater good are just some of the examples of this fantastic character development set in stone by James Gunn.
Despite the episodes not on the cinematic spectacle of DC movies we know and love, Gunn takes advantage of the television format by grounding the storyline, even with the outrageous butterfly-alien storyline. Every actor delivers their A-game for this series with the standout, of course, being Cena’s Peacemaker. Though still equipped with the childish humour we came to love in The Suicide Squad, Peacemaker now endures the complexities of moral ambiguity allowing the character to look back on the biggest moments in his life with regret. We see that his murder of The Suicide Squad's Rick Flag Jr (Joel Kinnamen) takes a toll on his mental health as he questions his moral mission and shows massive remorse for many of his previous actions.
Another important factor in Peacemaker's life is the tragic relationship with his father, Auggie Smith (Robert Patrick), highlighted perfectly by showcasing what a dark and heart-breaking upbringing our titular character was subjected to, with Patrick’s performance as Auggie Smith/White Dragon – the costumed white supremacist supervillain – a particular high point for the series.
(via: DC Comics)
However, the titular character and his father aren't the only ones who deserves a mention for their performance. Jennifer Holland’s return as the cynical Harcourt is a welcomed one with Gunn peeling back the many layers we weren’t able to see in The Suicide Squad; Freddie Stroma’s Adrian Chase/Vigilante is an emotionless but brilliantly upbeat partner to Cena’s Peacemaker with practically every word coming out of his mouth the humorous highlight of each episode; And Steve Agee’s Economos, also returning from The Suicide Squad, maintaining pace with fellow stars with his fantastic delivery of jokes and humour combining an emotional rawness spotlighted in the series finale, are only brief examples of all these characters capabilities.
Though not every single joke lands, this doesn’t hinder the humour within the series which takes it to the heights of possibly being the funniest comic book show to date. Peacemaker is versatile enough to be categorised in multiple genre boxes, whether that be action-adventure, comedy or superhero flick, this series would be easily enjoyable for fans of all of the above. With the confirmation of a season 2 by director James Gunn himself, it seems as though DC and Warner Bros. have huge plans for John Cena’s Peacemaker, and we can’t wait to see what they have in store for us.
Full of entertaining fun with twists, turns and a barrel full of laughs, Peacemaker season one is a MUST watch for fans of the comic book media and superheroes for sure.
Our Score: 9/10
Peacemaker is now streaming worldwide.