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Peacemaker: The Complete First Season – The World’s Finest Review


Studio: Warner Bros. Television
Label: Warner Bros. Home Entertainment
Release Date: Digital – August 7, 2022; Blu-ray Combo Pack, DVD – November 22, 2022

Description: John Cena returns as DC’s Peacemaker when Warner Bros. Home Entertainment brings Peacemaker: The Complete First Season to Blu-ray and DVD, which includes all 8 episodes from the exciting first season of the HBO Max original series, as well as two all-new featurettes.

Renewed for a second season, Peacemaker explores the continuing story of the character that series star John Cena reprises in the aftermath of executive producer, writer and director James Gunn’s 2021 DC film The Suicide Squad – a compellingly vainglorious man who believes in peace at any cost, no matter how many people he has to kill to get it! Delving into current world issues through the lens of Super Hero/Super-Villain/world’s biggest douchebag, the series extends the world created for The Suicide Squad while bringing to life the soul and wit of Peacemaker and the team.

Peacemaker: The Complete First Season stars John Cena, Danielle Brooks, Freddie Stroma, Jennifer Holland, Chukwudi Iwuji, Steve Agee, and Robert Patrick. James Gunn wrote all eight episodes of Peacemaker and directed five, including the first. Gunn, Peter Safran and Matt Miller serve as executive producers on the series, with John Cena as co-executive producer and Stacy Littlejohn as consulting producer. Based on characters from DC, Peacemaker is produced by Gunn’s Troll Court Entertainment and The Safran Company in association with Warner Bros. Television.

Episodes: A Whole New Whirled, Best Friends For Never, Better Goff Dead, The Choad Less Traveled, Monkey Dory, Murn After Reading, Stop Dragon My Heart Around, It’s Cow or Never

Blu-ray & DVD Features:
-Making the World Safe for Violence: Peacemaker’s Team
-Bad Daddy Issues: Peacemakers Search for Inner Peace
-Gag Reel
-Peacemaker: Under the Helmet
-Project Butterfly Team Member
-On Set with Steve Agee
-Dramatic Comic Book Readings with Chukwudi Iwuji
-Unlocking the Quantum Unfolding Storage Area
-Peacemaker and Vigilante: BFFs
-So, What Do You Really Think of Peacemaker?
-Danielle Brooks Explains the DC Universe
-Keep the Tweets
-Dance for Peace
-How to Properly Give a F*ck

Peacemaker: The Complete First Season Review
By James Harvey

Deftly juggling hard-hitting action, absurdly entertaining characters and strong writing, Peacemaker ends up a surprising (and oddly endearing) treat. This show really shouldn’t work, given that it’s based primarily around a back-stabbing jerk who only cares for his version of “peace” and nothing else, but it ends up coming together shockingly well. While it may not click for everyone, especially those squeamish around excessive on-screen violence, the creators behind Peacemaker deliver one of DC Comics’ most satisfying live-action projects to date.

Picking up in the aftermath of executive producer, writer and director James Gunn’s 2021 film The Suicide Squad, Peacemaker follows the titular character who believes in peace at any cost, no matter how many people he has to kill to get it! John Cena reprises his title role as the patriotic anti-hero, here given a new team and sucked back into the world of Task Force X for a mysterious mission. Peacemaker explores the continuing story of the character and delves into current world issues through the lens of the world’s biggest douchebag.

As usual, spoilers here will be kept as light as possible.

Guided by James Gunn, here returning from The Suicide Squad to write all eight episodes and direct five, including the first episode, it’s no surprise that Peacemaker rightfully continues the same toe-tapping, sidesplitting and gleefully-violent comedic vibe from the movie. But buried under all the laughs and guts is an actually effective and riveting story about redemption and confronting one’s past, with Peacemaker’s wild journey at the center. And once the season’s final episode wraps, and all the cards are on the table, it goes without saying that Peacemaker‘s first season ends up ranking as some of Gunn’s best work to date.

Peacemaker‘s eight-episode format for its first season allows the series ample time to build up its themes and dive into the characters while still dishing out plenty of action and jokes. The pace also allows the show to perfectly build up the stakes with each episode and reveal the true nature of Peacemaker’s mysterious mission at a consistent pace, and never rushes or stalls the big reveals and twists. The way Peacemaker juggles all these different themes, tones, plots, threads, and so on, is actually pretty notable as, well, there is just a lot to unpack across this show’s first season and it never feels overstuffed.

One of the many unexpected joys of Peacemaker‘s first season is the fantastic cast of characters – some of whom here were previously seen in The Suicide Squad as agents helping Task Force X behind the scenes, along with a handful of new faces – who thankfully end up here being much more than just mere targets or set dressing. Instead, they’re fully fleshed-out and carry some of the show’s strongest emotional beats and laughs (John Economos has a particularly heartbreaking scene in the finale, while Emilia Harcourt gets some of the season’s best quips). Out of the newbies joining Peacemaker and his The Suicide Squad buddies, Leota Adebayo (Amanda Waller’s daughter) and Vigilante stand out as clear favorites and perfect additions to this motley crew.

The ensemble here soars, thanks equally to both Gunn’s sharp script and the commendable work of the cast, who just throw themselves wholeheartedly into whatever weird situation Peacemaker jams them into. John Cena not only gets to show off his comedic skills (and some slick piano chops), but also delivers some emotional, surprisingly vulnerable performances as Peacemaker grapples with his horrific past and bigoted, white supremacist father. And the same can be said for nearly the rest of the main cast, who all are trying to overcome their own struggles or self-perceived shortcomings, such as Adebayo with her family issues, or Economos with his own sense of self-worth.

When it comes to Peacemaker‘s antagonists, they’re given plenty of complexity and motivations that become understandable and even (for some) sympathetic as the season progresses. This pays off expertly in the season finale as, despite there being a clear winner at the end of it all and hopeful tone, there’s still a somber weight to the victory and heavy consequences – emotional and/or physical – for all. Even characters easily pegged as ‘comic relief’ or with small parts to play, etc. – be it friend or foe – are given surprising depth here. Peacemaker‘s superb script work leaves no character behind, friend or foe, and allows them to evolve and grow with each episode.

Peacemaker boasts a fantastic cast, with every last one of them game for whatever Gunn and co. throw at them throughout the eight-episode run. Jennifer Holland brings a nuanced, restrained performance as Emilia Harcourt, Steve Agee is perfect as the constantly put-upon John Economos, Danielle Brooks gives a strong turn as the conflicted Leota Adebayo, Freddie Stroma delivers an incredibly hilarious performance as the psychotic Vigilante, and Chukwudi Iwuji admirably leads the pack as the somewhat mysterious Clemson Murn. And that’s just Peacemaker‘s main cast and not even really touching upon iys expansive supporting cast, all of whom are cast as strong in their limited roles as the show’s regulars.

In addition to the sizable character work, tangible cast chemistry and hilarious antics – not the mention its attention-grabbing, gleefully goofy opening titles dance number – Peacemaker also dishes exciting action beats time and time again. Despite the classic sci-fi inspired foes that Peacemaker and his cohorts primarily deal with here, most set pieces overall tend to be more grounded (save for the season’s climactic blow-out) and not as superhero-y as one might expect from a, well, superhero-based series. There’s also quite a bit of blood spilled here, usually for comedic effect but also to still highlight the sizable threats Peacemaker and his cohorts are facing, making the beats occasionally land harder than one might expect.

Suffice it to say, Peacemaker is pretty fantastic from top to bottom and a welcome addition to DC Comics’ live-action efforts. An immensely entertaining show with a really first-rate cast of characters, it’s absolutely jam-packed with smart writing, big laughs, loads of action and an unexpected abundance of heart. Gunn truly delivers some of his best work to date in Peacemaker, with some of the material clearly touching close to home, and creates something truly special that folks – comic book fans or not – should truly give a spin.

For those looking to give Peacemaker a chance, look no further than Warner Bros. Discovery Home Entertainment’s Peacemaker: The Complete First Season Blu-ray release. Also available on Digital and DVD, the two-disc set collects all eight episodes and comes with a tidy selection of bonus features and fairly strong audio and video quality. It’s a commendable package overall and easily the best home media release for Peacemaker.

Looking first at the set’s audio and video quality and it’s basically  aces across the board. The 1080p HD transfer looks incredible, with blacks going deep and bright colors popping strong and natural colors looking accurate and detailed. There’s no banding or macroblocking, with everything looking vivid and as sharp as can be for the format. When it comes to audio, the lossless DTS-HD MA 5.1 audio transfer sounds sublime thanks to a well-balanced and dynamic mix. Set pieces and sound effects are loud and heavy, dialogue is always clear and crisp and use of surround is spot on. When it comes to regular Blu-ray, you couldn’t ask for a better presentation.

Moving to the bonus features and, well, there’s a nice batch of extras here that are worth checking out after finishing up with Peacemaker‘s eight episodes. Extras include “Making the World Safe for Violence: Peacemaker’s Team (11:44),” “Bad Daddy Issues: Peacemaker’s Search for Inner Peace (5:28), “Peacemaker: Under the Helmet (2:33),” “Project Butterfly Team Member” featurettes for each main cast member (1-2 mins each), “On Set with Steve Agee (2:27),” “Dramatic Comic Book Readings with Chukwudi Iwuji (2:13),” a gag reel (9:23), “Unlocking the Quantum Unfolding Storage Area,” “Peacemaker and Vigilante: BFFs (2:06),” “So What Do You Really Think of Peacemaker? (2:17), “Danielle Brooks Explains the DC Universe (1:41),” “Keep the Tweets (2:03),” “Dance for Peace (1:42),” and How to Properly Give a F**k (1:05).”

It’s a nice batch of bonus content overall and most of it informative, though there’s a handful of extras that feel kinda needless (“Dramatic Comic Book Readings with Chukwudi Iwuji”) or kinda miss the mark (“Danielle Brooks Explains the DC Universe”). Still, there’s actually interesting behind-the-scenes details in here plus a nice heaping of candid moments from the cast and crew. And to note, the “Making the World Safe for Violence: Peacemaker’s Team” and “Bad Daddy Issues: Peacemakers Search for Inner Peace” are available only on the Peacemaker: The Complete First Season Blu-ray release.

Honestly surpassing expectations across the board, Peacemaker The Complete First Season takes viewers on an emotional journey, albeit one filled with bloody action and big laughs. And this all comes packaged in a ship-shape Blu-ray collection with a stunning 1080p presentation and nifty extras. With a stellar cast and strong creative work from the crew, Peacemaker succeeds in redeeming the seemingly irredeemable title character and, in the process, delivers some top-shelf entertainment. Must Own!

Peacemaker: The Complete First Season is now available to own on Blu-ray, DVD, Digital and for streaming on HBO Max. The author purchased a copy of this release for the purposes of this review.


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