Peacemaker season 1 review: James Gunn wins again

When it comes to Marvel and DC Comics, there is little agreement between loyal fans of each franchise and their cinematic universes. However, there is one person that both sides are likely to feel the same way: filmmaker James Gunn, who has been an equal opportunity superhero star creator for the past few years.

Writer and director of the hit Marvel films Guardians of the Galaxy and 2021 The suicide squad for DC parent company Warner Bros. Pictures, Gunn returns to the latter’s world for the HBO Max series Peacemaker. A spin-off of the 2021 R-rated sequel The suicide squad, Peacemaker puts the titular Silver Helmet character of John Cena at the center of another high-stakes mission alongside the returning characters from The suicide squad (not to be confused with its predecessor – the article-less suicide squad) and several DC Comics heroes and villains making their live-action debuts.

TechToSee has received a preview of the first seven episodes of the show’s eight-episode first season. And a bit like The suicide squad, Peacemaker succeeds due to the strength of his cast and Gunn’s signature blend of over-the-top action, clever storytelling, and irreverent, self-aware humor.

John Cena, right, and the cast of HBO series Max Peacemaker.

No notes needed

Although Peacemaker is a kind of spiritual sequel to The suicide squad, no need to have seen the latter to understand the series, which resumes shortly after the events of the film. The show quickly sums up the remarkable plot so far, both for the aspiring hero of Cena, and for the Dark Ops operatives who find themselves reluctantly working with him.

Fresh out of prison and struggling to find his place in society and the world of superheroes, Peacemaker finds his quest for peace at all costs (“No matter how many men, women and children I have to kill for that ”) challenged by the lessons of his past and his experiences with Task Force X which were portrayed in the film.

Joining Cena on the Returns Series The suicide squad cast members Steve Agee and Jennifer Holland, playing former Task Force X managers John Economos and Emilia Harcourt respectively, as well as newcomers Danielle Brooks and Chukwudi Iwuji as additional members of the Peacemaker team. Robert Patrick (Terminator 2: Judgment Day) plays the sadistic father of Peacemaker, while Freddie Stroma (Bridgerton) plays Peacemaker’s friend (and costumed killer colleague) Vigilante.

John Cena, Danielle Brooks and Jennifer Holland in HBO Max's Peacemaker Series.

The part when we dance

Although there is a fascinating story and fun performances all around Peacemaker, the opening musical theme of the series deserves a legend in its own right.

In an era when elaborate and memorable opening sequences have become the norm, synchronized dancing Wam’s wig Do you want to taste it which opens each episode of Peacemaker is hilarious on the mark of Gunn’s work (who’s never shied away from memorable musical moments) and sets the tone for everything to come in the series’ first eight episodes. It’s a silly, wonderfully executed little ingredient of Peacemaker it’s easy to look forward to with every episode.

The rules of democracy

Much like Gunn’s other superhero – or villainous – ensemble films, Peacemaker Also strikes a smart balance between all of her characters, giving each one time to shine in a way that creates unexpected fan favorites.

Stroma’s Vigilante, for example, could be the show’s flagship character, mixing a firmly entrenched social awkwardness somewhere in the spectrum with a cornucopia of psychotic tendencies that make him as deadly as he is likable and endearing. As Peacemaker’s abusive and manipulative father, Patrick also delivers another truly menacing performance as a character who harbors dark secrets.

Perhaps the best of the bunch among the show’s supporting cast, however, is Orange is the new black actress Danielle Brooks, whose character occupies a unique position as a surrogate for the audience. Brooks’ Leota Adebayo is immersed in a world of overpowered heroes and villains and secret agencies she is forced to ride with as she tries to figure out the madness of it all, and her attempts to make the latter filter all of the above. superhuman events through a truly human perspective.

Freddie Stroma and John Cena in HBO Max's Peacemaker series.

you can see it

Of course there would be no Peacemaker series without Cena’s return as the main character, and the actor doesn’t miss a step as he goes from one mad character among many in The suicide squad to arguably the craziest character of all in this series.

He wasn’t asked to carry the series on his own, but Cena still does a lot of heavy lifting as the series delves into Peacemaker’s early years and explores the traumatic events that led him to become the Mad Murderer and deceived presented in The suicide squad. Whether he’s dancing solo to glam rock, sending out a crowd of heavily armed white supremacists, or going through an intense emotional episode, Cena seems incredibly comfortable in the role and all that it demands of. him.

Gunn brings a lot of nuance to the characters in the series. But Peacemaker’s evolution isn’t exactly subtle – like the character himself – and it fits in well with Cena’s active and overt performance style. It is no small feat to rehabilitate the image of Peacemaker after the events of The suicide squad, but Gunn and Cena make it natural.

John Cena in HBO Max's Peacemaker series.

Punch with the heart

Gunn has a knack for finding heart in wild stories, no matter what the color of the characters. Although Peacemaker offers a more grounded story than The suicide squad – and the Guardians of the Galaxy movies, for that matter – it still manages to be as fun and unpredictable as those movies without sacrificing any of its emotional weight.

Loud, scorching, bloody and hilarious, Peacemaker feels perfectly in tune with the spirit and tone of The suicide squad, and offers another reason why Gunn’s formidable talents might be the one thing Marvel and DC fans can agree on.

Season 1 of Peacemaker premieres January 13 on HBO Max.

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