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As more superhero series make their way to streaming services, James Gunn breaks the form of the usual heroic moralities by capitalizing on the pure insanity of The Suicide Squad (2021), and his signature indie practical effects most notable in his earlier works.

While Gunn is often more known for his big-budget Marvel franchise Guardians of the Galaxy, modern creature feature fans will remember his earlier work from the indie cult classic 2006’s Slither which starred frequent collaborator Nathan Fillion.

The caped crusading genre continues its multi-billion-dollar domination on screens big and small with no signs of even slowing down, and as the Disney juggernaut churns out family-friendly fodder with the occasional sprinkling of darkness, Gunn’s new series Peacemaker is an R Rated bloodbath packed with a ton of laughs and quirky characters.

Peacemaker (2022)

HBO MAX & Crave (Canada)

Following the events of the titular character’s adventures in the late 2021 film The Suicide Squad, John Cena reprises the role as the patriotic violent hero willing to murder anyone in the name of “peace” and in service of the United States government.

Cena’s portrayal of the DC anti-hero does a great job of poking fun at both the overinflated genre and the American need to be the “hero” at any bloody cost. The combination of both makes the episodic series a breezy watch with some unexpected twists often at the expense of the show’s protagonist and the blind service to the shady government officials he works for.

Along for the strange, brutal, and chaotic ride are Peacemaker’s misfit team who are arguably the best part of the show and deliver some of the funniest moments on screen as well as a ton of WTF moments.

Standing out the most, it’s next to impossible to not fall in love with Vigilante (Freddie Stroma), John Economos (Steve Agee) and last but not least Adebayo played by Orange Is the New Black’s standout Danielle Brooks, as they give back to back scene-stealing moments and stand as the glue that makes the series stick together.

Overall the series does not demand that you are fully up-to-date with the latest Warner Brothers superhero films, instead, it turns the genre on its head by referencing minor characters that exist within the vastness of DC comics 100-year old mythology and verbally eviscerating all the notable ones like Batman, Wonder Woman, and Superman.

The strange deep cuts to the obscure characters will have you googling whether or not Matter-Eater Lad is real within the comic universe or if Wookies from Star Wars canonically have teeth in their butt hole.

No, seriously, those were actual references from the show, I’m not making that part up.

Doubling down on the insane nature of Gunn’s world, the series opens with one of the funniest title credits in television history that introduces the cast through a straight-faced dance number that you’ll probably refuse to skip before each episodic ride.

Peacemaker Opening Scene

Cena’s lovable idiotic role may not be breaking new ground on television, but the combination of a trigger-happy hero joined by a rag-tag team of Black Ops specialists does make for an enjoyable weekly hour that seems to always end with cliffhangers that further the show’s addictive nature.

Gunn’s TV series is a character redemption arc that stuns the audience both on comedic fronts and dazzlingly piratical effects with old-school vigor.

The current bandwagon it has online is beyond earned, and you’ll want to get on this before all the spoilers surface from its growing weekly audience.

John Cena GIF - John Cena Peacemaker - Discover & Share GIFs

Happy Viewing!

 

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westcoaststrange
joel@westcoaststrange.com
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