This spin off from The Suicide Squad (2021) was very faint on my radar. Why, though? I mean, i’m a massive comic book fan and i like to keep up to date with all the comings and goings of both the MCU and (in this case) the DCEU. I’ve seen everything so far except Morbius, Wakanda Forever and Black Adam. I hated / disliked Suicide Squad and i was entertained, if not blown away by The Suicide Squad, its too-similarly titled sequel / reboot.
So why was i not immediately enamoured by Peacemaker? Well, i confess, its because of the Peacemaker himself. I’m not a fan of John Cena – i find his personality arrogant and ham-fisted. And his performance in The Suicide Squad hardly suggests a decent TV show.
BUT. For some reason, i was in the mood to try it out the other day. My schedule was a void and i fancied some comic action. So i watched the pilot.
I cannot define exactly what it was that had me hooked. But i will attempt to explain. Firstly, the inevitable synopsis. No spoilers.
The Peacemaker is released from prison to serve with a group of ragtag Argus black operatives in “Project Butterfly”. He is told nothing to begin with – to them he is a hired bit of muscle capable of killing who he is told to. His team-mates are suitably diverse questors – the hardass girl with no heart / the beardy weirdy tech guy / the cold sinister boss man and the new girl. Together they must undertake this mission despite their grievances and their dislike for one another – and save the world.
BUT. Throw into this the hardass girl has indeed a thawing heart, the bearded dude has feelings, the boss has his own demons and the new girl is Amanda Wallers daughter – the BIG BOSS of the lot. OH and Peacemaker – the biggest douchebag of all time and all round shithead, is in fact tormented by his racist white father, is having a morale-complex and whose best friend is frikking eagle called Eagly.
The plot mergansers more than the Mississippi and is the twists are shyamalanic. You will literally feel your jaw drop at the end of (nearly) every episode.
What i’m going to highlight though is the direction of James Gunn. His use of music and slo-mo is bordering genius. Its second to none. I’ve not seen this level of pitch-perfect cinematography and pop / rock music topography since…i don’t know…a long time. Kick Ass, maybe.
Jennifer Holland is amazing as Emila Harcourt (the hardass girl with no heart), and certainly one of the reasons i think i stayed with the series. Danielle Brooks is fantastic as the new girl, displaying so much range and truly providing the emotional core of the show.
BUT here it comes. The apology. John Cena, i am sooooo sorry for judging you. You have created here a character so complex that its like a fucked-up rubix cube. On the surface he’s a muscly, handsome douchebag with enough one liners to rival Bruce Willis on a good day (to die hard), but below he is a warm-hearted goon whose character arc rivals that of Daenarys Targaryen. An absolute d**khead that is infinitely likeable, and more importantly forgivable. I mean. His dad was a terminator and a racist. His childhood was f**ked.
There is comedy without pastiche here. There is humour both slapstick and verbal. Its brilliant.
Stealer of the show though? That frikking Eagle. Simply the best!!
(and we have season 2 to follow – F*ck yeah!)