‘Peacemaker’ Review: A New Beginning For DC TV

Directed & Written By: James Gunn

Stars: John Cena, Danielle Brooks, Freddie Stroma

Plot: Picking up where The Suicide Squad (2021) left off, Peacemaker returns home after recovering from his encounter with Bloodsport – only to discover that his freedom comes at a price.

This review covers a non-spoiler oversight of the first seven episodes of Peacemaker.

I’ll be the first to admit that I was not planning on watching this show from the get-go. When I saw The Suicide Squad in theaters, the character of Peacemaker was not my favorite, but he wasn’t the worst to come out of the bunch either. He was more of a middle-of-the-road character in my eyes. I thought the character served his purpose well within the story that James Gunn wanted to tell. But beyond that, I did not hold an interest in John Cena’s Peacemaker until I started his new series. The show made me reevaluate my impressions of the character in ways I never thought possible.

Let me start by saying that this series surprised me the hell out of me. I did not think that James Gunn could change my tune about a character that left me feeling so indifferent during his introduction into the DC Extended Universe. For those who don’t know, this series is a continuation of Peacemaker’s journey from The Suicide Squad film that was released in August of 2021. The series takes place a few months after the events of The Suicide Squad as Peacemaker, also known as Christopher Smith, wakes up in his hometown after being hospitalized after his brutal fight with the now-deceased Rick Flag. He now has to join forces with the group known as Project Butterfly to under the truth about a secret organization threatening to take over the world.

The series sets itself up nicely for those who haven’t watched The Suicide Squad (2021) so don’t feel like you need to play catch up to be familiar with the events of this show. However the series premiere felt like a slow start but by the time episodes, 2 and 3 rolled around the show finally had my full attention. Usually, it takes a few episodes for a show to find its footing, and having the first 3 episodes available on day one for viewers to watch was a genius move on HBO’s part. It allows the consumer to get a better feel for the show and gives you enough time if you’re willing to stick around for the season (PS you should).

As I mentioned the cast is some of the best I’ve seen from DC’s recent live-action series. Jennifer Holland (Harcourt), Danielle Brooks (Leota Adebayo), Steve Agee (John Economos), and Freddie Stroma (Vigilante) are some of the best characters from the show. The dialogue walks on the path of being raunchy yet hilarious at the same time with a dash of sincerity. The conversations flow so well between each character and the objective of the story never loses focus. Each character is given a proper amount of screen time with their respective side plots that ultimately come together as the main plot unfolds. James Gunn wastes no time with the 8 episodes he is given and does a fantastic job of taking a deeper dive into Peacemaker’s childhood and his relationship with his father August Smith who is played by Robert Patrick. 

There’s another element to this series that felt like a character of its own and that’s the soundtrack. Trust me when I say James Gunn has created my new favorite opening credits for a TV show. Having the entire cast dance to Wig Warm’s Do You Wanna Taste It was something I didn’t know I needed in my life. Some might feel like the needle drops throughout this series are oversaturated. But the farther I got into this series, I welcomed each song with open arms as they reflected the show’s tone and theme. 

Peacemaker is easily one of DC’s best live-action shows to date. Even though I’ve only seen 7 out of the eight episodes of the series, I’ve enjoyed my time with it more than I thought I would. The series is riddled with hilarious dialogue while giving you a deeper look into Peacemaker’s past and his rag-tag team of friends. The opening credits sequence is out of this world. The characters are well written and the story takes you on a wild ride. I think it’s safe to say James Gunn is the master of needle drops. I can’t wait for the season finale! 

Grade: B+

Christian is a film critic and founder of the Film Optix Podcast. He is a member of the Music City Film Critics’ Association. You can find him on Twitter @Musiccitynerd

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