Before starting this text, you can rest assured about the spoilers. I won’t reveal any plot details that weren’t shown in the trailer.
After the fantastic work done in The Suicide Squad (2021), director and screenwriter James Gunn got a lot of morals in DC. Being able to choose the project he wanted, he got approval to develop a series focused on Pacifier (John Cena), whose ending was left open in the long-running group of villains.
Written and directed by James Gunn himself, the series was recorded during the pandemic with total freedom for Gunn, a rare thing in the world. Warner. On the one hand, this was very positive. On the other hand… From the first three episodes released this Thursday (01/13), you can see that the series that the series brings together the best and worst the director has, which seems to result in an irregular production. But, as stated earlier, this may change as the episodes progress.
From the brilliant part of James Gunn, the way the protagonist is treated is exemplary. Even though I’m a tough assassin, John Cena brings truth to his character, making him a big boy in search of self-affirmation and approval from others, especially his father. These family issues are an asset up the sleeve for Gunn, who knows how to use the topic like few others.
Another merit is making a subtle but extremely effective expansion of DC’s mythology, bringing unexpected characters that we would never expect to hear from us in the past. live action through dialogues and mentions.
In addition, the biddable but charismatic protagonists tend to perform very well in the director’s hands. See Super, Creeping Beings e Guardians of the Galaxy. In this series, Cena is no exception to this rule and brings a very believable Peacemaker, with a lot of heart and a burst of charisma.
In the same way, the protagonist’s interaction with the supporting actors is a lot of fun, yielding funny moments and sunk in other people’s shame. But you can still see moments when their human side tries to come out, almost empathizing with them.
But unlike other projects by the director, in this series, the issue of the human side was not able to find its way in this initial stretch. That’s where Gunn’s bad side comes in.
Famous for his politically incorrect humor – which somewhat contrasts Gunn’s persona, always engaged in progressive agendas -, the director loses his hand in the dialogues to try to bring that clueless humor that we love so much.
It’s complicated because he loses the timing of comedy in many moments, extending situations and dialogues longer than necessary, turning theoretically funny scenes into tiresome passages.
Another point 100% James Gunn that weighs against this beginning of the series is the supporting cast. As usual, the director has a group of actors, his friends and girlfriend, with whom he tries to work as much as possible, always getting roles for them in his productions.
Usually they play smaller roles, which work precisely because they are not worked so much. However, here, they gain prominence and have not yet managed to get excited. Not to mention some very plastic performances, which are not very convincing.
And in the middle of the positive and the negative is the musical score. A striking feature of James Gunn is always bringing not-so-popular songs that dialogue perfectly with his scenes, functioning almost as characters. In Pacifier, we have two situations. At the same time that the musical selection is fantastic, betting on the Rock of the 80s, the use of the songs passes a little of the tone, giving some episodes an aspect of a musical not assumed. That is, at the same time that the music excites and dialogues well with the scenes, the excess of them is a little uncomfortable. That’s good and bad.
Anyway, there are still five episodes left for the plot to develop and there’s an element that appears in the third chapter that makes me very hopeful for what’s to come. The threat promises to provide scenes worthy of trash horror, a style that James Gunn dominates like few others today. And if, at the end of Peacemaker, the clash between the good side and the bad side of James Gunn ends up with the good side winning, we will have a very interesting production.
The new episodes of Pacifier premiere every Thursday, only on HBO Max.