‘Peacemaker’ review: John Cena is a big, dumb hero in a helmet in this fun ‘Suicide Squad’ spinoff

1/16/2022 3:36:00 AM

The HBO Max series is big, dumb, rollicking fun. But it also manages to refreame toxic masculinity as ... endearing? Hmmm.

Peacemaker

John Cena is rip-roaring fun as a himbo in a helmet in Peacemaker . The new show is also worthy of some skepticism in the ways it frames toxic masculinity as childlike and even endearing in the hands of this character. Nina_Metz reviews

The HBO Max series is big, dumb, rollicking fun. But it also manages to refreame toxic masculinity as ... endearing? Hmmm.

knowsit’s ridiculous, with a fully R-rated Saturday morning cartoon sensibility that refuses to take itself too seriously. With John Cena in the title role — a ding-dong with muscles who nonsensically proclaims, “I made a vow to have peace no matter how many people I have to kill to get it” — the show is big, dumb, rollicking fun. I like it a lot.

I think it’s also worthy of some skepticism in the way it positions toxic masculinity as something childlike and even endearing when epitomized by Peacemaker, and also, conversely, a thing that has victimizedhimmore than anyone else in this story. It’s a deft and cynical bit of spin delivered in such enjoyably comedic packaging you may not notice it at first. The show is

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which came out just six months ago, the HBO Max series “Peacemaker” might be the closest thing to a comic book adaptation that appeals to my sensibilities.John Cena's troubled superhero saves the world from an alien invasion in a trailer for Peacemaker episode 4.HBO Max series.Peacemaker star John Cena reveals the multiple superhero movie roles he got rejected for before joining the DC Extended Universe.

It’s ridiculous and knows it’s ridiculous, with a fully R-rated Saturday morning cartoon sensibility that refuses to take itself too seriously. With John Cena in the title role — a ding-dong with muscles who nonsensically proclaims, “I made a vow to have peace no matter how many people I have to kill to get it” — the show is big, dumb, rollicking fun. The show centers on its titular character also known as Christopher Smith, a killer paradoxically obsessed with peace who has been called everything from the world's worst superhero to a "douchey Captain America. I like it a lot. Peacemaker , produced by Peter Safran and starring Cena in the title role, explores the continuing story of the character in the aftermath of Gunn’s 2021 DC film The Suicide Squad. I think it’s also worthy of some skepticism in the way it positions toxic masculinity as something childlike and even endearing when epitomized by Peacemaker, and also, conversely, a thing that has victimized him more than anyone else in this story. Peacemaker is soon given a new mission titled Project Butterfly and a team that includes The Suicide Squad holdovers Emilia Harcourt (Jennifer Holland) and John Economos (Steve Agee), A. It’s a deft and cynical bit of spin delivered in such enjoyably comedic packaging you may not notice it at first. Cena is one of the latest Hollywood stars to enter the superhero world.

The show is very self-aware and doing a lot of this overtly — of course you’re meant to laugh at his oafishness, which prompts eye rolls rather than alarm bells from those around him — but I’m interested in digging down another layer and thinking through the ways this framing intentionally paints a person like this as harmless and sympathetic, even.G. The opening sequence grows from Cena’s solo to a larger ensemble dance featuring Brooks, Stroma, Holland and more. John Cena in the title role of HBO Max's"Peacemaker." (HBO Max) Peacemaker first appeared in a 1966 DC Comic and Gunn (who is the show’s creator and whose previous credits include the “Guardians of the Galaxy” films) has a proven track record when it comes providing an alternative to the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s more chaste and family friendly quippery.S. Nudity, sex and pot smoking abound and this is a show that understands the value of silliness. 17. It would never make the mistake of turning plot or character development into dark, brooding material. The team also happens to include Waller's daughter, Leota Adebayo (Danielle Brooks), and is led by Clemson Murn (Chukwudi Iwuji). Related: Peacemaker: Every Task Force X Member Replacing The Suicide Squad Now that the first three episodes of Peacemaker are streaming on HBO Max, Cena is doing the press rounds to promote the series.

The corny dance choreography of the opening credits (which look like they were shot on an old Glamour Shots set from the ‘80s) epitomizes the show’s goofy, winking sensibility. So, here we are: Peacemaker is recruited to join a small, ragtag, off-the-books team working a secret operation to take down some parasitic aliens who are walking undetected among us. In keeping with its crude sense of humor, the episode is appropriately titled "The Choad Less Traveled. Peacemaker is produced by Gunn’s Troll Court Entertainment and The Safran Company in association with Warner Bros. That’s it. That’s the mission. Watch the trailer below: Click here to watch the trailer. I appreciate the simplicity of it and the stakes feel about right; the world isn’t on the brink of annihilation, there’s just this pesky invasive species thing to deal with, and Peacemaker and his compadres — the group’s cooly mysterious leader Murn (Chukwudi Iwuji), flinty ex-CIA operative Harcourt (Jennifer Holland), schlumpy computer hacker Economos (Steve Agee), chatty fifth wheel superhero Vigilante (Freddie Stroma) and overwhelmed newbie Adebayo (Danielle Brooks) — are more or less the equivalent of a pest control crew. Due to incredibly popular request, here are the opening credits of. Thankfully it all led him to Peacemaker.

As Peacemaker himself, Cena is pretty good without being great; he’s playing a guy who is wonderfully dull but enormously watchable: A himbo in a helmet. Peacemaker visits his father in prison who was framed for the murder of a butterfly. The assignment becomes even more complicated when a pair of local cops gum up the group’s efforts and mayhem ensues. Peacemaker’s best pal (a CGI bald eagle called Eagly) makes frequent appearances, as does his Klan-adjacent dad (Robert Patrick), who anchors a side plot that has nothing to do with aliens and everything to do with some of my critiques above. Judomaster (Nhut Le) is also still alive after his run-in with Economos. More on that in a moment. Adebayo is the most “normal” of the group — a person without any special prior training who is abruptly thrust into this chaos — and she is the only one besides Peacemaker and Vigilante who gets something resembling a back story or an interiority, and Brooks makes the most of it. Throughout its first three episodes, Peacemaker has managed to introduce several adversaries for the A. This would've seen him tap into a different comedic mindset and be a bit more immature.

She’s easy screen company here, playing a woman who is relatably out of her depth amid these very intense black ops experts, when she’d much rather be at home hanging out with her wife and playing with their dogs. Danielle Brooks in"Peacemaker.G." (HBO Max) But more than that, I’m curious about how Gunn positions Adebayo in relation to Peacemaker, who she acknowledges is “sexist (and) probably racist, but there’s something else about him that’s” — she pauses in sympathetic contemplation — “sad.” It’s really remarkable that Gunn has her more or less shrug off the “sexist and probably racist” part because .S.. The Suicide Squad and Peacemaker both give him the chance to flex his acting muscles (and his regular massive muscles) constantly.

. So far, it seems to be a worthy followup to the director's critically acclaimed Suicide Squad movie, and the show will only likely intensify in the coming weeks. Peacemaker is a sad boy. Consider this exchange they have about his father, who Peacemaker admits has issues. Next: Peacemaker: Every DC Easter Egg & Reference In Episodes 1-3 Source: TV Promos/YouTube . Adebayo: “Issues? He’s a white supremacist who used to dress up as a super villain called the White Dragon.” Peacemaker: “He’s not as bad as he seems. From a young age, Adam has been interested in a wide range of movies and television, but it was talented auteurs like Quentin Tarantino, Paul Thomas Anderson, and Aaron Sorkin who ultimately sparked his interest in the craft. He joined Screen Rant in late 2016 following a year-long stint with MCU Exchange, which came after first developing an MCU blog of his own.

” Adebayo: “He thinks people with my color skin are second class citizens!” Peacemaker: “People change.” Adebayo: “And he’s actually a good guy inside?” Peacemaker: “Yeah. After graduating, Adam interned as a writer with The Borgen Project, a nonprofit organization working to end extreme poverty.” So, let’s talk about this. It’s ludicrous, right? The show isn’t ignorant of the cognitive dissonance between the phrases “white supremacist” and “actually a good guy inside” and in fact it gets worse because Peacemaker closes the conversation with: “He’s still family.wordpress.” This is a mindset that really exists and I don’t have a problem with a fictional character embodying it. More From Cooper Hood.

But he’s never challenged on it beyond this exchange (notably he gets the last word) and the show is telling us in clear terms whose point of view is being prioritized when it’s the protagonist uttering these words. Meanwhile, a gay Black female character is tasked with doing the expositional cleanup work of letting us know he’s actually a good guy — or at least not as bad as his dad, which is at least something .