Peacemaker Is Heartfelt, Twisted, Absurd and Violent (Review)

Peacemaker on HBO Max
John Cena as the Peacemaker. Credit: HBO Max

James Gunn was tapped to direct a DC film for Warner Bros with The Suicide Squad. When it came out in theaters and on HBO Max, the critical and audience reception was positive on Rotten Tomatoes while also getting a CinemaScore of B+. (You can check out our review here.) It featured the director’s brand of twisted humor and style as he rounded up a large cast including Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn, Idris Elba as Bloodsport, Daniela Melchior as Ratcatcher 2, Joel Kinnaman as Rick Flag, Michael Rooker as Savant, and John Cena as the Peacemaker.

John Cena Returns as the Peacemaker

As the Peacemaker, Cena made an appearance after the end credits that teased a future project. Fast forward to the present, and we have the wrestler turned actor returning as Christopher Smith. The first three episodes released really show Gunn diving more into this section of the DC universe. Moreover, this gave audiences a more intimate story with hilarious interactions, bloody action, and one of the most infectious opening intros ever. (Courtesy of Wig Wam’s “Do Ya Wanna Taste It.”)

New Team

In The Suicide Squad, the Peacemaker would do anything for peace, even if that meant eliminating innocent people. His actions have led him into prison, which ushered him to join Task Force X. In the HBO Max series, the patriotic soldier has a new lease on life. This is a chance for him to change things around. Instead of the ragtag team comprising of deadly villains, John Cena gets a ragtag team of ARGUS agents working under Amanda Waller. The new team has him actually trying to be a team player, resulting in him slowly growing a conscience.

With the series on HBO Max, Gunn can go even further with topics unexplored in the DCEU films including sensitive subject matter. Mix that in with other topics and dark humor, and it’s been a wild and crazy ride. As for the violence, there’s plenty of that combined with Gunn’s warped mind. For example, a character confuses a body part with a slice of pizza.

The cast members are all wonderful, with the standout being Freddie Stroma as Vigilante, Peacemaker’s annoying best friend who’s a bad influence. The actor really plays up his deviant and weird behaviors, acting like it’s a normal thing that friends do. Not to be outdone, Cena isn’t afraid to embarrass himself. He gets into ridiculous situations like using a female toy as a microphone and singing in his tighty whities. He also gets to channel the more vulnerable side of Peacemaker. Furthermore, it’s played for laughs while also making him more of a sympathetic figure. It’s really a testament to the writing and his charisma since the character was simply a comical asshole in The Suicide Squad.

Final Reaction

HBO Max’s Peacemaker turns a cold-blooded killer into an anti-hero with a conscience, and John Cena injects heart and humor into his role. Based on the first three episodes, James Gunn has crafted a heartfelt, twisted, absurd and violent series with a fun cast and one of the most comical opening intros.

Rating: 4/5 Atoms

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