This review is spoiler-free.
James Gunn has managed to pull off another surprising hit! Not many people thought Guardians of the Galaxy was going to succeed, or that The Suicide Squad would be able to recover from the studio meddling of its predecessor, but they both proved everyone wrong. The same goes for Season One of Peacemaker, as this show will shock you, in more ways than one, at just how great it is! Going into this series, I thought it was going to OK or good, but I was wrong – it was INCREDIBLE!
The series is consistently funny, with hardly a joke that doesn’t land, and the action scenes are truly ‘top tier’. But with a mixture of grounded and outlandish characters and storytelling, this series will shock you with just how emotional it gets, and when you strip everything back, you be in awe of how much heart there is at this show’s core. Gunn also utilises his music once again and weaves it into the story and characters in such a way that it just makes every scene ten times more impactful or humorous. And as for the intro, there are no words to describe how epic it is. If you know, you know!
One of my biggest takes from The Suicide Squad was just how good John Cena’s comedy timing and line delivery was. Like, it really surprised me. In Peacemaker, he not only delivers these elements again, but he is given time and allowed to expand his character further, and as good as the action and comedy moments were, it was the emotional character and story beats that really blew me away, in terms of his performance. To put it simply, John Cena is incredible in this show, and it feels like a huge moment for him as an actor. He’s taken his game to the next level and for such a piece of s*** character, you can’t help but sympathise and support him, because James Gunn has created such a compelling and complex character, and Cena just excels in the role. He was born to play Peacemaker!
As for other returning cast members from The Suicide Squad, Jennifer Holland (Emilia Harcourt) and Steve Agee (John Economos), who we last saw in the film’s teaser that was a prelude to this series, are back and, just like Cena, are given time to develop their characters and both leave a big impression on the series. Danielle Brooks (Leota Adebayo) acts as the audience’s ‘woman on the ground’ and I think out of all the characters in this show, her journey is one of the stronger ones, and how she ends this series is the opposite of how she starts it! Chukwudi Iwuji (Clemson Murn) and Freddie Stroma (Vigilante) complete the team, and, this cast really works well together, bouncing off each other with great results! Out of all the main characters, other than Cena, I think I enjoyed Vigilante the most. Freddie Stroma was simply incredible from start to finish and his performance was consistently strong throughout the series. Just like Peacemaker, he is a piece of s***, but the writing and performance are so good that you find yourself falling for the character completely!
Finally, I think there needs to be special mentions to other members of the cast, including Robert Patrick (August Smith) – who, as sickening as his character is, the performance deserves huge praise because he established hatred of his character instantly and never lets up. There was also Annie Chang (Sophie Song) who I really enjoyed and if I’m being honest, I would have liked just a little more screentime for her, the same goes for Nhut Le (Judomaster) as well! While their parts were very minimal, Elizabeth Ludlow (Keeya Adebayo) and Christopher Heyerdahl (Casper Locke) are two performers who are incredibly talented and who I always enjoy watching, no matter what they are in. So even though their roles are small, the series is stronger for them being in it, than not at all.
As for the Season One finale, I am simply lost for words. It features one of the best action sequences I have ever experienced in the DCEU, and to some extent any superhero franchise! The music, fight choreography, wirework, and cinematography left me speechless! I’m talking ‘Daredevil at its best’ levels of quality! If that doesn’t blow you away, the finale still has one more trick up its sleeve that is sure to get tongues wagging!
Peacemaker Season One is an action-packed, gag-a-minute masterpiece, stunningly performed by an incredibly talented ensemble cast, but when you strip away all the outlandish and over-the-top shenanigans, this is a show with a lot of heart as well! Bring on Season Two!