Home Television Recaps ‘Peacemaker’ – ‘A Whole New Whirled’ – Review
‘Peacemaker’ – ‘A Whole New Whirled’ – Review

‘Peacemaker’ – ‘A Whole New Whirled’ – Review


James Gunn is back and ready to bring a brand new superhero narrative to the small screen as only he can in Peacemaker; the all-out, balls-to-the-wall, smash-mouth tale of a testosterone laced, foul-mouthed, trigger-happy vigilante who is about to take his first steps into actually being some kind of hero. And this new series is WILD!

Following the events of The Suicide Squad, former supervillain and wannabe superhero Christopher Smith aka Peacemaker (John Cena) having somehow survived his deadly duel with Bloodshot, manages to break out of jail. Quickly picked up by the remnants of Amanda Waller’s Task Force X, who have been reassigned to babysit him, Smith is tasked with a new assignment known only as ‘Project Butterfly’, which will see him kill more men, women and children to achieve world peace. But there’s a catch, Peacemaker now seems to have grown a conscience and actually wants to be a superhero…and now it’s time for the world’s biggest douchebag to actually save the world.

James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad was a very different kind of superhero film. Taking audiences back to the comic book page and giving the film a real pulp edge, packed out with a cast of heavy hitters and utter rejects, it was loud, ultra-violent, and freaking insane all at once! It was something different and made audiences sit up and take notice. Gunn now continues this story with Peacemaker. Picking up several months following the events of The Suicide Squad, Peacemaker zeroes in on John Cena’s Christopher Smith/Peacemaker; a murderous ‘superhero’ villain who suddenly wakes up to the fact that he’s actually a total asshole and suddenly finds himself wanting to actually do something heroic for the first time in his life.

‘A Whole New Whirled’ is the real set-up for the Peacemaker series and introduces audiences back to Cena’s Smith, alongside a group of new characters who are the remnants of Amanda Waller’s failed Task Force X operation and who, as punishment for their treachery, have been charged with minding Peacemaker and his new mission targeted ‘Project Butterfly’. As a series, audiences will recognise Gunn’s unique filmmaking hand at work. From his snappy expletive-laden script, sharp comedy, over-the-top action set pieces, a good helping of gore, and a central character who is an outcast and ne’er-do-well hero who might just be able to make a difference, Peacemaker is the perfect vehicle for Gunn’s talents and mind to work in and it gets wild pretty quickly.

Front and centre in Peacemaker is the man himself, and this is John Cena totally unhinged and having a blast at every possible moment. As he did in The Suicide Squad, Cena commits body, mind and soul to this deranged vigilante who is pretty much a serial killer due to his proclivity to kill anything that moves and now he’s about to start a new chapter in his life. That chapter: actually being a hero. ‘A Whole New Whirled’ find’s Cena’s Christopher Smith in the midst of a deep existential crisis when he is placed into a new team and given a whole new mission. Cena jumps into the headspace of Smith and he’s a pure 1980s mess of jingoistic machismo and hair metal rock music and Cena gets to rock out hard. Plus we also have to mention his pet eagle Eagley…because well Peacemaker is all about freedom and the home of the brave! This first episode is a great start for Cena and I can’t wait to see how mental his performance grows from here.

Sat next to Cena’s Smith/Peacemaker and almost featured as the series ‘co-lead’ is Danielle Brooks as Leota Adebayo and she’s diametrically opposed to Peacemaker in every way possible. They say opposites attract, but that’s certainly not the term I’d use here. Instead, Brooks’ Leota Adebayo acts as a foil for Cena’s Smith, calling out his douchebag behaviour and seemingly not fitting in with the rest of the remnants of Task Force X wherever possible. But Leota Adebayo has a very specific reason why she has been placed within this rag-tag unit and she’s got a greatly guarded secret that could make her a very real threat to everyone involved in this team. Only time will tell what comes of this, but Brooks is definitely one to watch.

Peacemaker also sees the return of the rejects of Task Force X, the overseer team who have pissed off Amanda Waller with their actions involving Corto Maltese, and who are now being punished by being forced to track and direct the actions of Cena’s Peacemaker. There’s Jennifer Holland as Emilia Harcourt; a take-no-shit NSA trained agent and Peacemaker’s handler who has no interest in his ‘handsy’ flirtations and who can deliver one hell of a punch, Steve Agee as John Economos; the former warden of Belle Reve and tech wizard who instantly becomes a subject for Peacemaker’s sharp rebuttals and Chukwudi Iwuji as Clemson Murn; a dangerous Black Ops overseer who has been given supervision of ‘Project Butterfly’ and who instantly falls into an antagonistic relationship with Peacemaker.

Veteran actor Robert Patrick also makes an appearance as Peacemaker’s father, Auggie Smith, a racist, dead-beat, strung-out former mercenary who moulded his son into the ultimate killer. And there’s no love lost between these two. While Peacemaker will do anything to make his dad proud, Auggie looks upon his ‘superhero’ son with disgust and contempt and Patrick brings a sharp tension to the part. Auggie Smith also appears to have plenty of ‘history’ with his son’s vigilante escapades and through his introduction, we see the presence of a secret ‘Peacemaker cave’, basically a low-rent version of the Batcave, stacked with an assortment of high-powered artillery and a vast array of Peacemaker helmets, all-packing serious abilities. This is Gunn again at work and the result is sure to give you the giggles.

‘A Whole New Whirled’ is an absolutely full-on watch from beginning to end, and the episode’s third act cranks up the action fully. It’s a bloody beat-down for Cena’s Smith that slams him through a meatgrinder and ends in one hell of a gory climax, and this end result will have you both freaked and in hysterics at the same time. It’s just mental. This action and episode is all courtesy of James Gunn’s unique creativity and style as a director and it sets the tone for an all-new type of superhero series.

James Gunn’s Peacemaker is shaping up to be an altogether different kind of superhero viewing experience and this is only the start of the crazy.

Peacemaker is available on Neon and Sky Go.

Image: SKY TV