Review: Peacemaker restores faith for DC’s cinematic universe

By Cristian Reyes, Feb. 15, 2022

“Peacemaker” is DC and HBO Max’s newest hit show, with 6 out of 8 episodes released from mid-January to mid-February. The show provides a lively experience that audiences get to enjoy during the hiatus of hero content from DC.

The show’s events are set up by James Gunn’s “The Suicide Squads”, released in 2021, with the timeline of “Peacemaker” beginning after the movie’s end.

John Cena’s performance as Christopher Smith, the anti-hero the show is named after, is shockingly incredible with the balance between his foolish wit, offensive mannerisms and his ultimate charm and appeal.

The audience is presented with powerful scenes where Smith references his traumatic childhood with a dad who is racist and trained him to kill. The show recognizes when to be serious, and  Cena pulls off some emotional scenes with very little dialogue. Subtle hints and scenes illustrate how uncomfortable he is living his life as a killer.

To top off the dynamic character, Peacemaker also has a pet eagle that makes him even more remarkable.

This show carries the same chaotic vibe “The Suicide Squad” had, allowing Gunn to create an absurd premise that sets characters up for mayhem. With the success of both these projects, Gunn alone is saving the DC cinematic universe that was in shambles due to prior films becoming flops.

The show’s premise focuses on Peacemaker’s life after “The Suicide Squad”. After his experience in that film, he is released from prison but remains under government control. The government takes advantage of this, sending Smith on a secret mission along with a crew consisting of government workers Harcourt, Adebayo, Economos and Murn who all have it out  for Smith.

(Justin Oo | The Poly Post)

The anti-hero Vigilante played by Freddie Stroma, steals the spotlight in many episodes. He is the perfect sidekick for Peacemaker with his cheerfulness, and Peacemaker’s harsh attitude, it makes their relationship feel like any ordinary friendship which audiences can relate to. Though he might be annoying to Peacemaker and the other characters, he is easily a fan favorite for his lovable personality. Many fans have compared him to the popular Marvel character Deadpool for their similar demeanor with Vigilante being less crude.

When it comes to the other characters,  Adebayo seems to be the one who connects more emotionally with Peacemaker and their scenes allow audiences to get to see the more emotional side to the anti-hero. Also, many would think Peacemaker would have a love interest as he tries to get with Harcourt, but she is not into him. Instead of the stereotypical trope of Peacemaker persisting to be with her, he does not take it to heart, and the show does not make their relationship a focal point. This makes it unique in the superhero genre with Peacemaker not having a love interest.

Gunn is brilliant when it comes to bringing life and popularity to characters that are not known to the public with characters such as Star Lord and Rocket Racoon from the “Guardians of the Galaxy” franchise. He does the same here with Peacemaker and Vigilante, while hinting at many other DC characters that have not been seen or heard in any of the live action DC films. Characters such as Gorilla Grod, Kite Man and Bat-Mite are cleverly referenced alongside to the big DC heroes such as Wonder Woman, Aquaman and Superman. References that we hardly see in the DC universe but are needed to make the universe feel connected.

Fans are going to be caught off guard with the show as the opening credits present a grand musical number with all the characters of the show. This sets up the show to be unlike any other superhero program audiences are accustomed to. The soundtrack is unique as well with Gunn going for a rock-filled soundtrack depicting “Peacemaker” as being this wild hero. Songs like “Monster” by Reckless Love not only has the rock vibe to it, but the lyrics also connects with the plot. Gunn is known for including songs relating to his film’s story, so it is no surprise to see “Peacemaker” be no different.

“Peacemaker” is a show that does not take itself too seriously and has a premise that goes haywire. With two episodes left, Peacemaker is set to have a gigantic finale that will have audiences intrigued. Those interested can head over to HBO Max as they release new episodes every Thursday.

Graphic courtesy of Justin Oo. 

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