Peacemaker Review

Ben Locatelli, Staff writer


Immediately hilarious, but with serious undertones and high stakes, Peacemaker perfectly balances great comedy with wonderful character development in a way that feels earned and satisfying. Peacemaker is an eight-episode series written and directed by James Gunn that follows Peacemaker, a.k.a Christopher Smith, played by John Cena. After the events of The Suicide Squad, Peacemaker is left hospitalized after being shot in the neck; the series picks up as he is being discharged from the hospital. Then he is swiftly recruited into a classified black ops team named Task Force X to stop a covert alien invasion.

Photograph by Courtesy of HBO Max
John Cena
Season 1 – Episode 5 (Katie Yu/HBO Max)

In the beginning of the series Peacemaker is a closed-off killer who doesn’t take himself seriously and pushes people away to shelter himself from his insecurities. As Peacemaker processes the trauma he experienced as a child in part to his genuinely terrible father, he has a paradigm shift and stops pushing people away. This manifests in his newly acquired disdain for killing.

This series really makes a strong case at portraying how someone’s environment isn’t the largest factor on their character and moral system. It does, however, make the observation that the more someone processes and comes to peace (haha pun) with the trauma they’ve experienced in adolescence, the lesser the effects of the trauma are on a person’s moral system. It also shows the very bumpy road this can and often is. Also, John Cena’s range in showing emotion in this series is just amazing.

The shift in Peacemaker’s moral beliefs wouldn’t have been possible without the help of the side characters he meets as part of Task Force X. The most notable of which is named Adebayo; she is the most useful in his paradigm shift, because she outwardly confronts him when she notices he has issues connecting with people. Another notable character in Peacemaker’s journey is Vigilante, as he is a sociopath that doesn’t understand human emotion. This is the perfect juxtaposition to Peacemaker’s journey because it really emphasizes the lengths he comes as a person. Initially Vigilante and Peacemaker are very morally similar people. As Peacemaker grows into a very empathic person, Vigilante’s morals stay stagnant. I think this more meaningfully shows how far Peacemaker comes as an individual. The other notable characters are Harcourt, Mern, Eagly, and peacemaker’s father Augie.

Peacemaker is a wonderfully crafted series about a team of people that stop an alien invasion; but really opens up as a deeper look into how people process adolescent trauma, and the effects it has on someone long term. I think this is the closest to perfect series I’ve ever watched and I’d give it a 9.5/10.