“Peacemaker”: what is the DC Comics series worth?

Funny, explosive and without concessions to good taste, the series led by James Gunn finally arrives in France, this Friday, on Amazon Prime. And it rocks!

By Benjamin Fau

John Cena in the middle of the cast of Peacemaker.
© Copyright: HBO Max

UNope. At the age of the proliferation of platforms and the generalized overproduction of series, it took almost a year for Peacemaker, one of the best productions to date in the DC Comics cinematic universe, historical competitor of the now hegemonic MCU, finds a distributor in France, in this case Amazon Prime. When it was released in the United States last January, the series led by the imagination and the camera of James Gunn (ex-director Marvel) and carried by the muscular pectorals of wrestler John Cena somewhat surprised (for the better) by its quality of writing and production, while perfectly respecting the rule of the three Cs: Completely stupid, Completely violent, Completely funny. Finally a serious competitor to Boys from Amazon, another satirical, politically incorrect and gently transgressive series? It seems like.

The story ? Nothing really original for this “suite”, which remains in the nails but is well packaged. Left for dead following the events of the film The Suicide Squad (that of 2021, and not the catastrophic Suicide Squad by David Ayer in 2016), Christopher Smith, known as Peacemaker, a super-villain as ultrapatriotic as he is ultraviolent, is brought back to life in extremis by the team of the formidable as well as detestable Amanda Waller. This forces him to return to service alongside his agents for a new high-risk ultra-secret investigation, Project Butterfly.

A sort of homage to the subgenre of possession invasion films (The Invasion of the Grave Destroyers and others Los Angeles Invasion), this investigation will be above all an opportunity to develop the anti-superhero in a new dysfunctional team of neurotic broken arms and to allow him the beginning of redemption, in particular by confronting him with his father, a sinister white supremacist incarnate jubilantly by Robert Patrick, unforgettable T-1000 from Terminator 2.

An explosive cocktail of action and (very) dark humor

The strength of Peacemakerit is undoubtedly its strong balance between spectacular action scenes, which moreover largely spare us the use of digital effects, uninhibited violence, evolutions of characters certainly predictable but rather well written, and especially cowardly and politically incorrect humor, often referenced and meta (the sidekick of Peacemaker, a complete crackpot calling himself Vigilante, is far too reminiscent of the Rorschach of watch men of Alan Moore to make it innocent), and which spares absolutely no one.

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The “super-heroic SF” veneer helps to spare oneself an overly heavy realism and to make people accept the big puppet side of the omnipresent violence, but the acerbic nods to particularly disgusting and terribly contemporary ideologies and policies are everything as easy to grasp as in The Boys. Of course, we are at James Gunn, and the redemption arc proposed to Peacemaker suffers from it.

Although starting from very, very low in human nature, the journey of the anti-hero embodied by John Cena does not seem without return, lost in advance as in Eric Kripke’s series, even more nihilistic: even a psychopath like Peacemaker can improve (at least a little, on certain aspects…). We find familiar themes there: the strength of friendship essential to overcome personal trials, toxic parenthood, the necessary forgiveness towards oneself… It is like being in Guardians of the Galaxy as soon as you dig a little, uninhibited violence and even darker humor aside.

Effective cast led by Cena

As for the actors, the entire cast (partly inherited from The Suicide Squad) does the job, still dominated head and shoulders (impressively) by a John Cena who here joins the rather closed circle of former wrestlers who have become convincing comedians, alongside a Dwayne Johnson (The Rock) currently in decline and a David Bautista building up an impeccable filmography in a few years (it goes without saying that our national Lino Ventura remains out of competition).

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The humor and violence offered by the series can be debatable and will certainly not be suitable for everyone (remember: the rule of three Cs…), but one thing is certain: Peacemaker is, in all its aspects, an excellent production, which provokes in the spectator exactly what he came to seek, with even a certain brilliance. Icing on the cake: if it is necessary to quote an example of credits impossible to zap, it is that of Peacemaker : this falsely mechanical and truly hilarious choreography will remain one of the most unforgettable sequences of the past serial year. To judge all this on parts, it is now very easy: it is enough, since this Friday, December 30, to have Amazon Prime. Don’t miss it!

“Peacemaker”: what is the DC Comics series worth?