CROSS THE STREAMS: PEACEMAKER
Written by Tony Schultz on February 21, 2022
The last decade has been full of movies based on comic books and superheroes. Some have been epic and sprawling over several movies capturing not just longtime comic book fans, but appealing to people an audience that didn’t even know who these characters were. Marvel has ruled the box office with their tales of the Avengers and other heroes from their colored pages. They have also had some success with shows on the TV that tie into the movies with lesser characters or background players. Marvel, who is owned by Disney had success in the streaming world as well with shows on Netflix and now on Disney+. In the comic world Marvel’s biggest rival is DC – owned by Warner Brothers which is the home of Superman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, and their biggest hitter Batman. They have had varied success over the years and different iterations of their origin stories, but have always seemed to come in second to Stan Lee’s house of heroes. When they team all these heroes together they form The Justice League and those films have disappointed their core fanbase more than once and haven’t really drawn in the crowds that don’t follow the comics.
So what did they do to overcome this? They put more concentration into TV shows and cartoons over the years and have found some great success there. They also took on the genre of the anti-hero to the next level by taking bad guys from the DC Universe and making them have to perform as good guys to a certain extent. The team called The Suicide Squad have to carry out government black ops missions under the threat of being killed if they don’t. They have made two of these movies and they have also garnered mixed reactions as they are very opposite of the Marvel films as they are filled with gore, adult situations, and a lack of discretion when it comes to bad language. The last movie featured former pro-wrestler John Cena as a character named Peacemaker – the title character directed by “Guardians Of the Galaxy” filmmaker James Gunn. The character is extremely patriotic and he tries to paint himself as a superhero out to defend freedom and will tell everyone that he is willing to kill anyone, including kids to preserve freedom. In fact, his warped sense of protecting freedom makes him a super villain in the most evil way possible. He also is not the brightest bulb on the tree which ads to his character as not only bad, but also a bit of a tragic figure that can almost become lovable in his stupidity. In this series, “Peacemaker” on HBOMax we find Peacemaker is once again tasked with going on a mission for the government with limited information and a support team of misfits and people that aren’t all they appear to be. There are twists and turns aplenty in every episode mixed with a sick sense of humor that can only be compared to episodes of South Park. Cena plays the character perfectly as a lovable oaf that is just looking for acceptance in the world he thinks he is protecting while basically making it all worse. He is the tragic figure that can’t seem to get out of his own way even when trying to do something right. His crew made up of Emilia Harcourt (Jennifer Holland) as the tough as nails secret agent, Clemson Murn (Chukwudi Iwuji) as the leader of the ops with a checkered past, Leota Adebayo (Daniella Brooks) as the newbie assistant, and John Economos (Steve Agee) as the techno nerd. The group of misfits go between hating each other to loving each other from moment to moment that keeps the humor up between the savage beatings and assassinations and mystery behind who the real bad guys are in this story.
I like comic book movies and I’m mostly a Marvel fan and have liked their interwoven stories. DC has been a bit of a mishmash of their characters and movies intermingling and it has been hard to follow sometimes. “Peacemaker” is kind of it’s own thing even though it is attached to that universe. Some of the story line is a bit predictable and follows an alien invasion threatening the Earth and the backwards way they go about trying to prevent it, or if they even should be trying to stop it. If you don’t mind the over the top bloodiness and hearing the “f” word on the regular you might find you enjoy this show, but it you like what you see from “the house of mouse” in the theaters this might turn you off quickly. As much as you have to let go of preconceived notions and reality when watching any sci-fi movie or show you have to let go of people being this stupid at times being in charge of saving us. Where DC had the movie “Joker” paint the villain as a man descending into madness due to society “Peacemaker” makes you feel sorry for the main character driven to twist his ideas of being a superhero be the far outside of society and his father that is possibly the worst person on the show. I would suggest you dive into “Peacemaker” if you like comic movies and can handle the absurdity of the characters and their actions. If what I’ve typed doesn’t sound like something up your alley then I wouldn’t tell you to avoid it. I would simply ask you open your mind to it for a an episode and see if you like where it takes you. I find the show amusing and different, but others will definitely be turned off by the fight scenes and direction it goes. So I say approach this series with caution if what I told you doesn’t seem to fit your general appeal for movies with superheroes. If you’re looking for something edgier and a bit more adult with some wicked humor then I suggest you saddle up to this show as quickly as possible.