The quickest way to describe new DC Comics-inspired TV show Peacemaker is to call it "Superhero Jackass." That is to say that this is a DC Comics show that features all of bad language, remarkably graphic nudity, an excess of boy humor, and a whole heap of brutally hilarious violence. It's all cheeky edgelord business aimed at the 13 year-old boy in all of us and it is a godamn hoot.
This new show is a spin-off from the 2021 movie The Suicide Squad. A dirtbag superhero film that was laugh out-loud funny and thoroughly charming in parts. Many people never saw the film, either because they saw the previous terrible Suicide Squad movie. Or they were in a part of the world facing COVID-related lockdowns when the new film was released. If you haven't seen the film, you are given enough information to skate by with the show. But do check out the film if you're into this kind of thing - it was great fun.
John Cena is the titular Peacemaker. Real name Christopher Smith, he's an unrepentant asshole serial killer who is reluctantly working with a team of off-book government operatives with a project. Both he and the govt team are cartoonish, with action scenes ranging in scope from hyper-brutal to Looney Tunes hyper brutality. John Cena was a scene stealer in The Suicide Squad and he carries the show really well here - I've never been sold on John Cena comedy star, but this is a really good use of him and all of the ridiculous actual muscle he brings to the screen. The show also has a solid supporting cast that includes comedian Steve Agee, Terminator 2's Robert Patrick, Pitch Perfect's Freddie Stroma, and then there's Danielle Brooks stealing the entire season as the new team member who has a connection to a certain someone from the Suicide Squad movies and comics. Brooks folks will remember as playing Tastee in Orange Is The New Black and here she is incredibly winning as an everyday person thrust into the insanity of the show.
The MVP cast member is Peacemaker's CGI pet American Eagle. And just try and tell me you aren't won over entirely by an early scene in the series where Peacemaker is reunited with his pet with a loving embrace. It's a really, really dumb moment and I loved it to bits.
Like with The Suicide Squad, this show is written and directed by James Gunn. He writes every episode of the show, directing the first five of eight episodes. When he was first announced as the writer-director of Guardians of The Galaxy for Marvel, it seemed like a strange fit. Wasn't Gunn just a bit too edgy for the MCU? Having seen his films Super and Slither and his earlier work with the schlock kings at Troma, it seemed like he was sanding down his edges to fit in with the Marvel crowd. While yes, the Guardian films were distinctive in their own way, Peacemaker feels like James Gunn let free to be his best James Gunn. This lives up to the promise of what James Gunn can deliver with these sorts of big IP-driven properties. It's actually kinda disappointing to know he's heading back to do more Guardians of The Galaxy after this.
Peacemaker is brash, immature nonsense. It is an exercise in rudeness, crudity, and a whole lot of big dick waving at the audience. It's f**king great.
Peacemaker debuts Jan 13 on HBO Max in the US and on Binge in Australia.