Murphy’s Team-Up, Volume 14: Reviewing ‘Peacemaker’

The first 3 episodes of Peacemaker debuted last week on HBO Max so the team got together to share their thoughts on DC’s newest streaming series

Anthony Canton III

The first three episodes of Peacemaker are an energetic whirlwind of wild. James Gunn’s fingerprints are all over this in the best way possible. From the opening scene to the can’t skip opening credits, it’s a tour de force of fun. John Cena was born to play this role, and Danielle Brooks is a revelation as Adebayo. Having the intricate knowledge of The Suicide Squad makes this show already feel lived in, but you can totally watch it fresh. I’m anticipating episode 4 already to see what’s next from this wonderful cast and crew. P and V!

Charles Murphy

Peacemaker Trailer Reveals First Look at Judomaster

Peacemaker’s first 3 episodes were a ride! This is the role John Cena was born to play. While he’s otherwise never really stood out to me in any of his other projects, Cena’s work as Peacemaker has been fantastic. And while’s he’s still pretty much just an asshole who works well as the punchline of pretty much every joke, if you’re paying attention you’re seeing something more from Cena in these episodes. James Gunn’s strengths as a writer and director are magnified here with more time to spend on the interpersonal dynamics that he always manages so magnificently and the members of the core team are all doing great work both fitting in and getting their chances to shine. Gunn’s also done a great job taking characters that nobody has given a shit about for decades and making them fun. Vigilante has been hilarious to date and Judomaster’s fight scene was a riot. Robert Patrick has caused a lot of feelings in his limited time as Peacemaker’s piece of shit father and it’s clear he’s got a bigger role to play yet. To be fully honest, I don’t even care to learn more about Project Butterfly or who is behind it. I’d be fine just watching these people go through their day.

Mary Maerz

Peacemaker delivers on its promise to be a parody-like take on the more traditional superhero genre. It’s funny, it’s raunchy, and it confuses the boundaries of hero and anti-hero more than most takes on anti-heroes. John Cena really is perfect as Peacemaker–without that, Peacemaker might have been a non-starter–and the casting overall is phenomenal. Freddie Stroma’s Vigilante is the best part of the whole series, though. I thought the first three episodes had some pacing issues and didn’t quite capitalize on its strongest elements, so to me they felt a bit more flat than I would have liked. But they consistently improved as they went along, and I am pretty confident the series is going to keep getting stronger.

Joao Pinto

The Unexpected Relationship That DC Fans Are Loving In Peacemaker

Even though Peacemaker debuted to mostly wonderful reviews across the board it didn’t quite grab me in the same way. Even so, I absolutely understand how it being R-rated helps to take such a show to a new level, making it feel, at times, a bit more real and not as squeaky clean, to a fault, as many others. Especially because that angle fits so very well with the bonkers worldbuilding set up in The Suicide Squad by James Gunn. The episodic format does allow us to spend more time in said world, and it’s perhaps the repetitiveness and the double downing on many jokes that comes with that extra runtime, making them the norm and not the exception, that makes them feel a bit odd. As such, the humor has been sort of hit-and-miss but I don’t hold that against the series as its best moments still seem to overshadow its lowest. With just three episodes out so far it’s expected that the best is still yet to come as the script matures alongside the characters in it.
The highlights have been, without a doubt, John Cena and Danielle Brooks’ performances. While Cena seems to have been born to play this role and shines in every chance he gets, Brooks exudes such humanity in every single line spoken that you can’t help but root for her every step of the way.
Above all, it’s palpable how everybody involved had a great time making this show. Even if it might turn out not to be my favorite thing ever, there isn’t much more one can ask for from such a talented cast and crew.

Joseph Aberl

Peacemaker is peak James Gunn, as you see him truly embrace the wackiness of a post-The Suicide Squad world. Not only do we get some good comedy to ease us into understanding these characters quite easily, but they also build up a rather intriguing mystery surrounding its main antagonists. We’re put into Peacemaker’s shoes as we try to find out what exactly he is going up against, as it slowly unravels throughout the episodes. What sells the show are the performances by Freddie Stroma and John Cena, whose attitude completely counteracts the more serious nature of what they are going up against. Cena is also all-in with the wackiness and quite a raunchy continuation of his character, which fits perfectly into the R-rated and brutal world we were introduced to.

Hunter Radesi

Peacemaker Show Footage Reveals First Look At Vigilante

Peacemaker is a wonderful, mixed bag. The show simultaneously feels like something born out of the early 2000s and something that could never have existed before now. It is a glorious celebration of the weirdness of comic books while also tearing their self-righteousness apart at the seams. It’s not a show for everyone, but it was never advertised that way. John Cena is a surprisingly capable leading man, the action is great, and when the humor lands, it really lands. It’s James Gunn tapping into his Super days, with a much larger budget. It may not be the most nuanced comic adaptation we’ve ever gotten, but if you’re looking for a good, raunchy time, it doesn’t get much better. I dig it.

John Sabato

Peacemaker has been everything I’ve wanted it to be and more. John Cena shines brighter than his helmet in this series. He’s really acting his ass off here and is becoming such a phenomenal actor. His supporting cast is just as good with Harcourt, Economos, Murn, Vigilante, and Adebayo each bringing something special to the show and just working so well with each other. Of course this wouldn’t be a thing without the maestro himself, James Gunn, who continues to create of the best comic book media in the genre. The way he’s able to bring such emotional weight to the silliest and most outlandish ideas is something to behold. Gunn just knows what he is doing here; he’s a giant nerd in the best way possible and makes some really deep cuts and provides some fantastic world building in the series. There’s some seriously great character work here with Christopher Smith, peeling back those layers yet still letting him be the douchebag we all got to know in The Suicide Squad. I truly hope Gunn continues to build on his corner of the DCEU because this stuff is GOLD.

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