SPOILER WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for The Suicide Squad. If you have not yet seen the film, read at your own risk or instead, check out our review of The Suicide Squad*. *
Back when John Cena was still a full-time wrestler and part-time actor and not the other way around, wrestling fans (myself included) begged, moaned, and begged some more for the future WWE Hall of Famer to turn heel (wrestling jargon for the villain, the bad guy, the antagonist). And while there’s an argument to be made about Cena being a meta-heel in the final years of his full-time wrestling career, we never got to see a version of the wrestler that wasn’t meant to be cheered by crowds but instead booed for all the right reasons. But then came Cena’s turn as Peacemaker in The Suicide Squad, or as I like to call him — the perfect heel from one of the best DCEU movies yet.
Peacemaker Is An Unapologetic Sociopath Throughout The Suicide Squad
As far as ironic comic book character names are concerned, Peacemaker has to be one of the best. Early on in The Suicide Squad when Task Force X Team 2 (Bloodsport, Ratcatcher II, King Shark, Polka-Dot Man, Peacemaker) are planning to rescue Rick Flag, John Cena’s character says “Nothing like a bloodbath to start the day.” After Ratcatcher II challenges him about his name, Peacemaker says he “cherishes peace” with all his heart before saying it doesn’t matter how many men, women, and children he has to kill to get it.
Peacemaker is a freaking madman here with no emotion, no laughter, nothing. Just cold-blooded sociopathy that will do anything to achieve his goal: peace, or at least what his definition may be. This is some unhinged maniac nonsense like Randy Orton when he was on his “Legend Killer” spree and not the “Hustle, Loyalty, Respect” John Cena that’s granting hundreds of Make-a-Wish requests.
Peacemaker Constantly Pulls The ‘Johnny Topper’ Card
If being a literal sociopath wasn’t bad enough, Peacemaker is also what I like to call a “Johnny Topper” in that he constantly has to one-up everyone around him. This heel tendency is displayed on two separate occasions with Bloodsport on the other side. When Amanda Waller introduces Peacemaker, Bloodsport says his teammate does exactly what he does to which Peacemaker says “But better,” which includes hitting targets more in the center.
This continues with the hilarious rescue sequence mentioned earlier where Peacemaker and Bloodsport have one hell of a game of “One-up” by finding creative and over-the-top ways of killing who they presume to be enemy combatants (they’re not). And the cherry on the top comes when Bloodsport says no one likes a show off to Peacemaker, who responds with “Unless what they’re showing off is dope as fuck.” The way Cena stresses “fuuuuck” is brilliant.
Peacemaker Is So Funny And Charismatic You Forget He’s A Crazy Asshole
Speaking of Peacemaker and Bloodsport showing off and trying to outdo one another, this scene also provides for some of the funniest John Cena moments, not only in The Suicide Squad but in all of his movies. There are moments where Peacemaker is so funny and charismatic, you completely forget that this dude is a crazy asshole that is objectively a terrible, terrible person.
During the pre-mission briefing when Amanda Waller is talking about Project Starfish, Peacemaker (who is taking extensive notes) raises his hand and asks if there’s any connection to starfish being a slang term for a butthole. Later on when Bloodsport says he should eat a big bag of dicks, Peacemaker comes back by saying he would eat every dick on a dick-covered beach in the name of liberty. With zingers like that you let your guard down for what’s about to come.
But Then He Flips A Switch And You Quickly Remember ‘Oh Yeah, Peacemaker Is Straight Evil’
Even I let my guard down with Peacemaker and thought he was nothing more than a crude, rude, and violent comedic character who wouldn’t end up being straight evil. But then came the actual storming of Project Jötunheim and the realization that Peacemaker was sent to complete Amanda Waller’s task of destroying all trace of Project Starfish to prevent America’s involvement from leaking through any means necessary.
Peacemaker having secret orders is hinted at when he abandons King Shark while planting explosives but later confirmed when he kills Rick Flag (by stabbing him in the heart with a piece of tile) when the team leader was going to expose the U.S. government’s involvement. After that, all bets are off and Peacemaker, covered in blood and looking like an absolute madman, tries to do the same to Ratcatcher II and Bloodsport.
And Then There’s The Fact That Peacemaker Is Pretty Much An Unstoppable Heel
And last but not least, Peacemaker is pretty much an unstoppable force that can’t be stopped. Near the end of The Suicide Squad, Bloodsport shoots Peacemaker in the neck (with a smaller bullet) and appears to kill him. The surviving members go on to defeat Starro and free the people of Corto Maltese with Peacemaker nothing more than a distant memory. About that…
During the The Suicide Squad end credits scene Peacemaker is very much alive and is seen recovering in a hospital under the watchful eye of Amanda Waller’s subordinates an undisclosed amount of time following the events of the movie. How Peacemaker got there doesn’t matter as much as how he survived. This guy is a straight up unstoppable heel that essentially pulled off the iconic Undertaker “sit up and stare” move, proving once and for all he’s a freaking beast.
With his portrayal of Peacemaker in The Suicide Squad, John Cena proved that when given the opportunity, he can play one of the best heels around. And while we’ll probably never see Cena do something like that in WWE, we’ll see more of that obnoxious, douchey, and bloodthirsty behavior when the Peacemaker TV show premieres on HBO Max at some point in January 2022.
Philip grew up in Louisiana (not New Orleans) before moving to St. Louis after graduating from Louisiana State University-Shreveport. When he's not writing about movies or television, Philip can be found being chased by his three kids, telling his dogs to stop yelling at the mailman, or yelling about professional wrestling to his wife. If the stars properly align, he will talk about For Love Of The Game being the best baseball movie of all time.
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