James Gunn’s Peacemaker started off with a hell of a bang, and now all hell is breaking loose as vigilante killer turned wannabe superhero Christopher Smith aka Peacemaker (John Cena) has to make a clean getaway from an incredibly messy situation, all while contending with a scary new truth.
After the bine-shattering, knife stabbing, and full-body explosion of ‘A Whole New Whirled’, we’re thrown straight into the action of ‘Best Friends Never’, the second episode of Peacemaker and it’s very clear what the butterflies are now. Butterfly’s or code for meta-humans are extremely lethal and dangerous beings and Peacemaker (John Cena) recognises that it’s his job to take them out, no matter the cost. But before he can start collecting Butterfly scalps he’s got to get out of the mess he’s currently in, all while battling his own internal demons and making friends with a fellow wise-cracking and very giddy vigilante who just happens to be called Vigilante (Freddie Stroma).
Gunn keeps things moving quick and fast in Episode 2 of Peacemaker, ‘Best Friends For Never’ and he lays it on pretty thick that Peacemaker isn’t exactly a top-tier hero. This killer-reject makes a pretty botched escape job and then comes to terms with the truth of what ‘Project Butterfly’ is. And it’s a startling wake-up call. The presence of these new kind of Metahumans, or ‘Buttefly’ as they’ve been termed by Amanda Waller is a horrendously scary fact for Peacemaker to come to terms with and the action of this series only gets crazier from here.
‘Best Friends For Never’ is also an incredibly important episode in the character development of its titular character as we get to see Christopher Smith by himself and having to contend with all the bad stuff he’s done. And he’s a total wreck. Smith might be a beacon of alpha-male superiority and trash-talking take-no-shit attitude on the outside, but on the inside, he’s a snivelling, emotional crybaby who suddenly wakes up to the fact that he’s no good and that he’s never been a hero, despite the narrative he tells himself. Cena is hilarious, pitiful and incredibly sympathetic in this scene and he brings out Peacemaker’s inner sensitivity with his own type of bro’y method style.
The second episode of Peacemaker is also incredibly important to the overall narrative as it introduces audiences to the character of Vigilante. Like his namesake, Vigilante is, well a vigilante and he’s an extremely colourful, happy-go-lucky chap and has some weird ‘hero worship’ desire to be best friends with Peacemaker. Actor Freddie Stroma brings out a real oddball sense of style to the character and his interactions with Cena’s Peacemaker are just priceless. Plus Peacemaker and Vigilante also get to let the ammo fly as they go on a destructive bonding session of target practice and it’s pure chaos with plenty of lols.
Audiences get an insight into the problems that Peacemaker is facing, both on a global vigilante scale and the inner turmoil that he’s suffering through. This series is shaping up to be something altogether different thanks to the creativity of James Gunn and I suspect the weird is only about to intensify.
Peacemaker is available on Neon and Sky Go
Image: SKY TV