The Suicide Squad (2021), sequel to the widely panned 2016 Suicide Squad (yes, the sequel added the word “The” instead of “2” as a soft reboot marker), was without a doubt a lot more entertaining than its predecessor. This is where we first see Christopher Smith A.K.A. The Peacemaker (John Cena). However, if we’re going to talk about quality, then Peacemaker (2022) is simply a cut above all the other DC Extended Universe (DCEU) projects so far. That’s right, even its blockbuster movies!
The Beardict: 9.25 out of 10. Having a rough week? Dive into Peacemaker (2022) to reward yourself with tons of action, witty banter, and an awesome journey with a memorable cast of characters you wish you could be best friends with. The show never loses its identity throughout its eight episodes. With a plot that is mysterious enough but not unnecessarily convoluted and an opening sequence you would not want to skip, Peacemaker is hilarious and quirky but becomes deep when it needs to be. If you’re still on the fence about HBO GO, then the charisma of John Cena and the genius of James Gunn will definitely convince you to hit that subscribe button.
Speaking of James Gunn, he proves once again that he is a master at transforming lesser known comic book characters into household names. We’ve seen this before with The Guardians of the Galaxy catapulting into the mainstream with him at the helm. The folks at Warner Bros. are extremely lucky to have him aboard, and if they continue to let Gunn do his thing, then maybe no reboot of the DCEU would ever be required. I mean, the dance number at the start of each Peacemaker episode is by itself a work of art. It has spawned numerous TikTok challenges and made Wig Wam’s Do You Wanna Taste It fight with Encanto’s We Don’t Talk About Bruno in my head for the honor of being my primary LSS. Haha.
Furthermore, Gunn enables Peacemaker to be more than a vanilla superhero series by introducing elements of creature and alien horror into the story, which makes everything much more interesting. Without giving anything away, think Slither (2006) meets Stargate SG-1 (1997). All and all, he knows what the audience craves for. As the cherry on top, he even gives us the Baby Groot of the series, Eagly, Peacemaker’s pet eagle who is both cute and formidable in the battlefield.
Of course, the success of Peacemaker was largely dependent on our main star, John Cena. In the past, there has been skepticism when it comes to his range as an actor, but I am sure that after watching him here, no one can say anymore that he is one-dimensional. Cena was born to be Peacemaker, and he makes one Christopher Smith quite lovable despite his flaws, giving birth to even more memes. The way Peacemaker was presented is reminiscent of the Johnny Lawrence treatment in Cobra Kai – a man who is nowhere near being politically correct but at his core is a good human being. Overall, the show acknowledges issues in society but is neither patronizing nor pandering, which is refreshing to see since forcing things in pop culture nowadays usually do not end up well.
Peacemaker’s crew also makes the series special. Not one of them has superpowers and yet you end up getting attached to all of them. However, it is only appropriate that Freddie Stroma’s Vigilante is singled out. He is totally my favorite in the show because of the randomness of his words and actions and his extreme loyalty to Peacemaker. Robert Patrick’s White Dragon is quite unsettling, but his Iron Man moment makes it all worth it. Even recurring and minor characters like Judomaster (Nhut Le) and Captain Locke (Christopher Heyerdahl) are quite fun and memorable.
Like the Disney+ Marvel series Wandavision that spills over to Doctor Strange: Multiverse of Madness, Peacemaker directly connects itself to the larger DCEU not only through its cast (Jennifer Holand’s Harcourt and Steve Agee’s Economos both appear in The Suicide Squad) and guest cameos, but also through the events that transpire. Unsurprisingly, Peacemaker has been renewed for Season 2, so maybe it can react to the happenings in Black Adam (2022) and Aquaman and The Lost Kingdom? Peacemaker has a special place in his heart for Aquaman anyway. Hehe. The favorable reception for Peacemaker opens the door for DC to explore many more characters via television, and the endless possibilities truly excite me.
Peacemaker had a wildly successful freshman season. It seems DCEU initially crawled so that Peacemaker (and Eagly) can fly! You know what, I’m not gonna bore you with more analysis and descriptions. Just go watch it. Watch it now!
Photos courtesy of HBO and Warner Bros. Television. All eight episodes of Peacemaker are now available via streaming on HBO Go.