peacemaker made his big screen debut in 2021, as one of the antiheroes in the film Suicide Squad. Months later, the vigilante returns with his own web TV series, directed by James Gunn. This time, HBO Max and DC Comics are betting on the story of Christopher Smith, aka Peacemaker, after the events of Operation Starfish.
The eight-episode show is set just five months after the incidents that occurred in Suicide Squad, in which Peacemaker betrayed his team and murdered Rick Flag. Relying on a longer format, renowned screenwriter and director James Gunn explores the sometimes blurred line that separates the heroes from the villains. His main intention of him is to unveil the ambiguous nature of this infuriating anti-hero.
The versatile director of Guardians of the Galaxy and Suicide Squad succeeds in turning a little-known character into a memorable protagonist
As for the cast, the HBO Max miniseries features an amazing crew led by John Cena, who stars again in the lead role. Along with Cena, the show also features Steve Agee, Danielle Brooks, Robert Patrick, Jennifer Holland, Freddie Stroma, Chukwudi Iwuji and Nhut Le. Once again, the versatile director of Guardians of the Galaxy and Suicide Squad succeeds in turning a little-known character into a memorable protagonist.
It is important to clarify that peacemaker does not join the list of honorable saviors who seek to protect the earth. Christopher Smith is a brash, violent, and profane anti-hero trying to achieve redemption. From the beginning, the character is presented as if he were a kind of Captain America but deeply disturbed. Somehow it feels like Christopher Smith is a strange combination of superhero, supervillain, and super-idiot. One of the great attributes of this daring DC fiction is that it laughs at itself. With abrasive but exhilarating humor, Gunn takes an insolent approach that completely satirizes the superhero genre.
Overall, Christopher Smith’s story moves forward amidst gore, political satire, antics, insults, ethical dilemmas, and powerful music. As expected, the program offers all of Gunn’s signature style from him. It should be noted that peacemaker is not a show for sensitive or easily impressed people; the content is raw and explicit. The level of violence bears certain similarities to the popular Amazon Prime show, TheBoys.
Those familiar with the DC Universe know that peacemaker is a natural-born assassin, experienced with all manner of weapons. “I made a vow to have peace no matter how many people I have to kill to get it”, says the quasi-superhero just minutes after his first appearance.
With abrasive but exhilarating humor, Gunn takes an insolent approach that completely satirizes the superhero genre.
The spin-off series begins with Christopher Smith, aka peacemaker, fully recovered in a hospital in his hometown. For the briefest of moments Smith comes to believe that he will be free of his guilt and unfinished business from him. However, everything is precipitated when the fearsome Amanda Waller coerces him to work under her orders from her. On this occasion, peacemaker will have no choice but to join a ‘clandestine operations squad’ in order to combat a new catastrophe threatening humanity.
This task force is not a particularly advantaged group. Rather, it consists of a pair of undercover agents who bicker and distrust each other. It seems that the only thing these guys have in common is that they are deployed to contain danger when necessary. In this regard, the small unit consists of the technology specialist, John Economos; the tough field agent, Emilia Harcourt; the witty recruit, Leota Adebayo; and the leader in charge, Clemson Murn, a popular and apparently reformed mercenary.
This motley crew will also be joined by a second anti-hero, Vigilante, and a majestic bald eagle trained for action. It should be added that Vigilante’s character brings hilarious moments to the show as he idolizes and worships Smith. Meanwhile, Peacemaker’s eagle (Eagly) is quite a spectacle. With each appearance, the wild and unpredictable animal helps to humanize the lethal protagonist.
Once the team is assembled, the mission becomes clear and urgent, this unlikely squad must dismantle ‘The Butterfly Project’, an alien threat attempt on conquering the planet.
Although peacemaker remains an insensitive jerk most of the time, the series allows for dimension and depth to the character. Where before there was a jingoistic killer, obsessing over a morally ambiguous code, now there is a broken, lonely man who is beginning to gain awareness of his choices from him. A man with a deep need to be loved, accepted and to belong.
as expected, peacemaker battles against powerful enemies. However, much of the series focuses on the antihero’s inner conflicts. In this sense, Christopher Smith experiences contradictory feelings between his immediate obligations and his heartfelt desires. Throughout the story, this man must face himself, revisit his traumatic past of him, and confront the heavy relationship he has with his father of him, the heinous villain, White Dragon.
It is undeniable that one of the most important revelations of the show is the failed father-son bond. The program shows that Peacemaker’s father, August Ransom Smith, is a white supremacist capable of all sorts of monstrosities. August does not hesitate to belittle, assault, humiliate, and curse his son. In fact, he emphatically expresses that he should have slit Christopher’s throat at birth. After meeting the sinister White Dragon, there is no doubt that the big guy from peacemaker you had a bitter and painful life.
For his part, actor John Cena not only reiterates his innate talent for comedy, but also displays impressive emotional depth in the drama scenes. The former American bodybuilder and professional wrestler shows his full potential of him as the muscular and misunderstood Peacemaker. Despite the questionable morals of his character, Cena’s work takes us from contempt to compassion, from idiocy to sympathy, and even, for very brief moments, awakens a certain tenderness.
In general, all the actors take important interpretive risks and immerse themselves in their characters. “The 11th Street Boys” are eloquent, skilled and give themselves to their roles with delightful audacity.
Another aspect that has drawn a lot of attention to the show is the soundtrack. Undoubtedly, music is an essential component of this insolent fiction. Gunn takes every opportunity to give body and depth to the sound field. This can be appreciated from the dance number in the opening credits to the rock-and-roll themes that elevate and fortify the central ideas of each episode. This is not necessarily a surprise, all of this director’s works feature a meaningful and vibrant soundtrack.
While Peacemaker’s budget is small in comparison to James Gunn’s film work, the program is satisfying both visually and narratively. The inventive producers manage to ensure that the project maintains the appeal, pacing, and style of the Suicide Squad feature film. The setting, fight scenes, and CGI interventions are all convincing. Although the scale is modest, it does the job.
As a curious fact, each episode of peacemaker contains a post-credits scene of a playful nature, which means that the clip does not reveal any previews or key clues. It is rather a purely amusing addition.
Although this web TV show is absolutely a sequel to suicide squad, it quickly transforms into a unique experience and earns the right to exist on its own. All in all, Gunn and his collaborators have created a subversive, entertaining and biting show that shatters the cult of superheroes, and opens the door to anti-heroes.
It’s good to know that peacemaker has already been renewed for a second season.