To expand upon my quick thoughts in the video, Peacemaker is the first DC Extended Universe (DCEU) television series, meaning it shares continuity with the films of the franchise. The show was created and written by James Gunn who also serves as director for most episodes and stars John Cena, Danielle Brooks, Freddie Stroma, Chukwudi Iwuji, Jennifer Holland, Steve Agee, and Robert Patrick. Set after the events of The Suicide Squad, the series further explores Christopher Smith/Peacemaker as he is forced to join the mysterious A.R.G.U.S. black ops squad “Project Butterfly” on a mission to identify and eliminate parasitic butterfly-like aliens who have taken over influential humans around the world.
The acting in this series is pretty well done. John Cena has truly found his niche in doing comedy over trying to be an action star. His comedic timing is on point and he provides most of the laughs throughout the whole show. He also brings more emotion to the character than he did The Suicide Squad which gives him more layers than your typical DC villain. Freddie Stroma is also fantastic as Vigilante. Stroma plays the character on the spectrum as he does not process emotions or jokes like people typically do. He is also very much a psychopath as he is still willing to kill anyone who breaks the law, no matter how small. He is more closely related to the Peacemaker that was described in the film. However, he is also shown to be a sweet and loving person who actually cares for Chris as an older brother. The rest of the cast is also great with Jennifer Holland’s Emilia Harcourt and Danielle Brooks’ Leota Adebayo being standouts.
Peacemaker does a good job at taking a character like Christopher Smith and making him sympathetic. The show explores his backstory and relationships with his father and brother in a way that many people can relate to. We are all products of our environment and his upbringing turned him into the type of hero that he is. Even with his backstory explained we still do not get the same Peacemaker that we saw in The Suicide Squad. That Christopher Smith was a man who was willing to achieve peace no matter how many men women and children he had to kill to get it. He even killed Rick Flag so that peace will be maintained in the United States by keeping their part in the Jotunheim experiments hidden. It would have been nice to see more of this in flashbacks.
James Gunn is a master at making music a part of his characters. He did the same thing with Star-Lord in the Guardians of the Galaxy films and in Peacemaker, we can see that Christopher Smith is a big fan of rock music. Many rock songs play throughout most if not all of the episodes and the opening theme is “Do Ya Wanna Taste It” by Wig Wam. The jokes are pretty funny for the most part although some of them tend to run on longer than they should. Being a master at his craft, James Gunn even has a few callbacks to earlier jokes that turn into touching moments. We have John Economos explaining why he dyes his beard and Eagly hugging Christopher are two of the best examples of this. Gunn clearly makes good use of his budget as you can see some of the effects aren’t as clean as they would be if this were a film but it is still better than something you would see on the CW’s Arrowverse.
The fight choreography is pretty good with the hand to hand combat being very realistic. There is also good use of weaponry during these fights as well. While it is great to hint at the larger DCEU, the way Peacemaker drops very obscure character names makes it seem like it’s a big joke. Either Warner Bros. is not interested in using any of these characters at all, therefore, they let them be mentioned or they just don’t care and James Gunn was allowed to do whatever he wanted. This does in the way you confirm that either many aspects of this universe will be retconned in The Flash or Warner Bros. does not have a solid plan moving forward. This could come back to haunt them if they cannot find a way to thoroughly connect all of their DCEU projects.
There are a few things that seem pretty convenient even for a superhero series. The entire alien invasion seems to take place in or within driving distance of Peacemaker’s hometown. This felt a little weird, especially after it was revealed that the suspected “Butterflies” were global and had reached the highest levels of government. Also, the fact that Amanda Waller, who previously put together at minimum three separate Task Force X teams cannot find back up in a quicker time than she did. Lastly, while the Justice League cameo was somewhat funny, it felt unnecessary as I was enjoying how detached Peacemaker was from the heroes.
James Gunn has proven that he can make great R-rated superhero content many times over, but it can be even better if there is an overall plan for the universe in which the content takes place. I give Peacemaker an Average 3.9/5. It’ll be interesting seeing where they take things in the recently announced Season 2. Maybe there will be more connectivity to other DCEU projects and characters after The Flash is released or the Discovery merger is complete.