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peacemaker

★★★★★

director: james gunn (guardians of the galaxy, the suicide squad)
starring: john cena, Jennifer holland, Danielle brooks, and Danielle brooks

 

REVIEWER: lyall carter

A man fights for peace at any cost, no matter how many people he has to kill to get it.

One of the best cinematic surprises of 2021 was James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad. With Gunn at the helm, I was kinda hoping that The Suicide Squad would be heads and shoulders above Ayer’s 2016 entry based on his work with the Guardians franchise. And Gunn absolutely smacked it out of the park. Gunn continues his form from The Suicide Squad and brings a very adult superhero series to the small screen with bold, envelope-pushing humour, brutal, cartoony violence, and a whole lot of heart. We’ve found the first must-watch TV show of 2022. 

 

Peacemaker explores the continuing story of the character that series star John Cena reprises in the aftermath of executive producer James Gunn's 2021 film The Suicide Squad - a compellingly vainglorious man who believes in peace at any cost, no matter how many people he has to kill to get it! In Chapter One A Whole New Whirled, Peacemaker meets his new team tasked with killing the mysterious Butterflies, in Chapter Two Best Friends For Never Peacemaker reunites with his old friend and ally Vigilante, and in Chapter Three Better Goff Dead Peacemaker and the team set out to assassinate a current US senator who’s suspected of being a Butterfly. 

 

DC has found their groove. With 2019’s Joker, last years The Suicide Squad, and Robert Pattinson’s upcoming The Batman, DCU has stopped competing with Marvel’s more family-friendly fare and have gone a heck of a lot more adult and darker. And it’s pretty spectacular stuff. 

 

Peacemaker picks up where The Suicide Squad left off with Peacemaker being introduced to his new team of assassins with a couple of characters returning from The Suicide Squad as well as some fresh faces. 

 

One of the narrative tricks that Gunn has up his sleeve which is only really rivaled by Taika Waititi is the ability to switch from a moment of rolling on the floor laughing to a really serious, heart-strings-tugging emotional scene. Gunn uses this technique, again and again, engaging the audience with the story, driving the narrative forward but also developing the characters. 

 

And in the first three episodes, the character of Peacemaker is developed from not just some dumb, mindless brute but a conflicted character, with a dysfunctional past and obvious emotional damage. But Gunn doesn’t just give all of the screentime to developing the lead character, he spends time developing the supporting cast too, adding depth to the series at large. 

 

The humor. Where do I start? I don’t think I’ve laughed that much during a TV series in a long time. Every scene is funnier than the last with Gunn wringing humour out of the most bizarre places - the opening credits are hilarious. Even some of his production design and shot choices add to that humour.

 

John Cena is superb as Peacemaker. He brings a real heart, humanity, and humour to the character in what could have been just a dumb, cardboard jock of a character.  

 

Gunn continues his form from The Suicide Squad and brings a very adult superhero series to the small screen with bold, envelope-pushing humour, brutal, cartoony violence, and a whole lot of heart. We’ve found the first must watch TV show of 2022.

★★★★★