Peacemaker Review: Top Gunn - SciFiNow

Peacemaker Review: Top Gunn

We review James Gunn’s small screen spin-off to The Suicide Squad with Peacemaker…


It was clear, within minutes of The Suicide Squad, that DC had gifted its writer/director James Gunn an unparalleled amount of creative freedom within the DCEU wheelhouse. Any fears, however, that Peacemaker, its small screen spin-off, might be somewhat compromised or watered down, are thankfully way off mark.

This is straight-up, full-fat Gunn, and it’s a superhero show that feels even more radical than its parent film was. There’s no way this could have been made in the rigorously controlled, homogenised Marvel TV universe, and it’s to Warner Bros’ credit that they’ve given their most punk signing a very long leash.

Tonally, Peacemaker shares much of its DNA with The Suicide Squad. Its violence is bloody and crunchy, its language saltier than a pretzel and it’s way funnier than most sitcoms. What it does have more of though is heart. The Suicide Squad’s Peacemaker was a single-joke caricature in a movie stuffed with characters demanding their time in the sun. This Peacemaker is still a gigantic doofus with, shall we say, problematic views on race and sex, but there’s a whole more pathos there, mostly to do with his relationship with his scowling, white supremicist dad, played here by a blissfully boo-able Robert Patrick.

The Peacemaker series once again teams up our super-muscled, but bitty-brained anti-hero with a group, only this time it’s the behind-the-scenes agents from Amanda Waller’s black ops squad, most of whom believe their new assignment is as much of a lunkhead as Bloodsport did in the movie. Without sacrificing his idiocy, though, this series manages to make him likeable. Like David Brent, Peacemaker is a well-meaning dickhead.

It may not be to everyone’s taste. James Gunn is a filmmaker with a very particular flavour and the series’ often puerile and shock-for-shock-value’s violence and wisecracks can grate a little over eight episodes. But his ability to simultaneously embrace and mock so many superhero tropes marks this series out.

Refreshingly CGI-lite and anchored by a winningly charismatic turn from John Cena, Peacemaker shows that Gunn can flesh out a previously monotonal character and make him sympathetic, without sacrificing the silliness and subversiveness that most of us love him for. In terms of its writer’s oeuvre, Peacemaker really is Top Gunn.

All episodes are showing on Now TV and Sky now.