First, let me give you a brief backstory. The first “Suicide Squad” with DC Comics characters was staged by director David Eyre, and this film did not go to the audience, as they say: the picture was scolded by both the audience and critics. However, the film’s GCC is a pretty solid 4.2, so Warner Bros. Pictures, together with DC Comics, planned a sequel. However, David Eyre refused to work on the sequel.
At this point, the creator of the “Guardians of the Galaxy” James Gunn surfaced some tweets from a century ago with not very successful jokes (well, or which are now considered not very successful), and Disney and Marvel Studios, as part of the “New Ethic”, Gunn was fired with a scandal in the moment when he was doing the Guardians triquel.
At Warner Bros. Pictures did not suffer from this insanity and immediately invited Gunn to their place, suggesting that James take into production any characters or any DC Comics film franchise that he liked. At the same time, it turned out that James Gunn at one time himself really wanted to make a film about the Suicide Squad, so the issue was resolved: he took over the work on the sequel to Suicide Squad.
Gunn’s sequel to The Suicide Squad turned out, in my opinion, absolutely awesome, his rating is noticeably higher than that of the first film. And the character Christopher Smith, nicknamed “Peacemaker” (Peacemaker), appeared in it, in the role of which starred the famous wrestler John Cena, who had long wanted to portray some character in the DC Comics universe, and James Gunn himself wanted to work with Cena
Nothing can be said about the fees of the sequel, because the picture was released during the coronavirus madhouse, so you yourself understand. However, the same madhouse contributed to the fact that James Gunn, sitting at home in quarantine, dashed off the script for the series with the Peacemaker in the title role in a couple of months. Why he was so attracted to this character, whom he himself called “superhero / supervillain / the biggest asshole in the world” – there are two explanations.
Firstly, Gunn could not help but be influenced by the series “The Boys”, in which almost all superheroes were rare assholes. However, for Gunn himself, Guardians of the Galaxy were also marginal in some way, but they clearly fell short of the outrageousness of The Boys.
Secondly – and he himself stated this – he was struck by the series “Better Call Saul”, to which everyone predicted failure, because the protagonist of this spin-off “Breaking Bad” was made a slick lawyer who, for all his colorfulness and fun, could not pull and one series, what can we say about the whole series. In the end, the series turned out to be excellent, it perfectly lasted six seasons and ended quite well.
That is, with the Peacekeeper, Gann wanted to create something from this series: to create a kind of story from a stupid and completely primitive character.
And now about what happens in the first season of this series.
As we remember from “Suicide Squad: Mission Through,” the Peacekeeper caught a bullet there, besides, the whole house fell on him, so Smith had to spend five months in the hospital. But after he returned home, Amanda Waller’s people again came to the Peacemaker, led by Clemson Mern (Chukudi Iwuji). The Starfish project, in which the Peacemaker participated, was brilliantly completed, but the planet is in even greater danger, so Smith was called to join the new Butterfly project, and what kind of project it is – the Peacemaker is not told.
He is also a superhero who fights for peace, killing for this, if necessary, the elderly, women and children – well, if you please, carry out the tasks of the authorities. Otherwise – back to prison, from where he was released after only four years in prison.
The peacekeeper has nowhere to go, so he joins Mern’s squad, which also includes: Amanda Waller’s combat assistant Emilia Harcourt (Jennifer Holland), technical support specialist John Economos (Steve Agee), and Amanda Waller’s daughter Leota Adebayo (Danielle Brooks ), who is not a professional operative, but simply sent by Amanda to this detachment with a specific task.
Together with the Peacekeeper, his admirer also participates in some operations – a young guy named Erian Chase, nicknamed the Vigilante (Freddie Stroma). Chase works as a waiter at a diner, but is obsessed with fighting crime alongside the Peacekeeper.
But the Peacemaker has all sorts of family problems. He has a serious conflict with his father – a convinced racist and at the same time a scientist, August “Auggie” Smith (Robert Patrick). And then there’s Economos and Harcourt framed Oggy, and he was sent to prison, so that the Peacekeeper had a serious cognitive dissonance at all.
Many viewers were expecting the Peacemaker series to be a pure sequel to Suicide Squad. Formally, it is, in general, true: only five months have passed since the Starfish mission, now there is a new mission that the Peacekeeper performs in the company of Amanda Waller’s agents and another strange superhero who belongs in “Suicide Squad”
However, as they say, there are all sorts of subtleties. As in Better Call Saul, which told about how Jimmy McGill gradually turned into that very rogue Saul Goodman, here we learn all sorts of new facts from the life of Christopher Smith: about his Nazi dad, that Christopher had brother, whom he loved very much, well, the Peacemaker here appears, although a somewhat narrow-minded character with sexist jokes, but here he looks like a reflective person, capable of a certain empathy, and all sorts of cute features appear in him: a touching friendship with a tame eagle, bearing the original nickname Orlusha, worrying about his father and trying to somehow improve relations with him, and besides, he even refused to shoot the child during the assignment – that’s what it came to!
There is also an interesting moment in the series related to the fact that for the Peacemaker, the Mern team becomes actually a family, and his real dad eventually – which is quite expected – becomes the main antagonist, and it is the presence of such a father that explains many of the oddities in Smith’s behavior.
John Cena played him brilliantly: he has excellent self-irony, and he selflessly retracts in the role of the Peacemaker, who constantly gets into all sorts of stupid and ridiculous situations. In addition, Cena, with his outstanding muscles (and this is not just a pump, this is real power: during wrestling fights, he lifted two hundred kilogram carcasses of other wrestlers on his outstretched arms) – awesome plasticity, and he moves cool: the scene where he sings along to the playing song into a microphone dildo – she’s absolutely hilarious.
His uninvited partner Vigilante is also very funny, he was played by Freddie Stroma. The vigilante is completely devoid of a sense of humor and the ability to somehow perceive irony, so he takes everything at face value, and various funny moments arise from this.
I really liked Danielle Brooks, who played Amanda’s daughter Leota Adebayo. Leota is a somewhat foreign body in Mern’s team, she doesn’t even know how to shoot. But she just compares favorably with all these special agents. Adebayo is a lesbian, she has a girlfriend, and the Peacemaker, of course, cannot help but jibe her about this, and all sorts of cool episodes are also associated with this. At the same time, Leota and the Peacemaker strike up something like some kind of friendship, although, it would seem, at first nothing foreshadowed, and she considered him a rare freak with a toilet lid on his head.
Well, one cannot fail to say that Robert Patrick turned out to be an absolutely gorgeous Oggy Smith, aka the White Dragon: Robert just lit it there – the character was very convincing both in his repulsiveness and in his bright negative charisma.
It’s all set in James Gunn’s style, but even more reckless and reckless than Suicide Squad: Mission Bullet, and if you compare it with the series, then in this regard, Peacekeeper is even cooler than The Boys. It is, of course, understandable that it is not a matter of one swagger, and swagger can be very different, but nevertheless – Gann did not restrain any of his instincts here, and this is very good.
Of course, not all viewers will like this approach, just as far from everyone liked the second “Suicide Squad”, but for those who are close to this manner, the series should “go in” as it should.
I really liked it, I looked with great pleasure. You always expect something fun, funny and cool from Gunn, and he has never disappointed with this series.
PS By the way, I recommend scrolling through the credits of each episode to the end – Gann has prepared some small surprises for the fans. Nothing special, but still.
Peacemaker / Peacemaker
Director: James Gunn Cast: John Cena, Danielle Brooks, Freddie Stroma, Chukudi Iwuji, Jennifer Holland, Steve Agee, Robert Patrick, Lochlyn Munro, Elizabeth Ludlow, Rizwan Manji
Series, USA, 2022, 40 min. Fantastic action movie, 8 episodes in 1 season