*SPOILER FREE REVIEW!*
John Cena finally made his debut in the DC Extended Universe in The Suicide Squad. The film opened to rave reviews on August 6 in theaters and on HBO Max. Cena portrays Peacemaker, a villain who is bands together with other super-criminals for a deadly mission to retrieve an alien creature from the hands of a ruthless dictator.
Cena’s involvement was notable because of his foray into acting, which has seen him make slow and steady progress over the past several years. His recent turn as Jakob Toretto in Fast & Furious 9 signaled perhaps his biggest Hollywood role to date. But The Suicide Squad appears to be the role that will keep on giving for the WWE star.
The Suicide Squad is an unofficial sequel to 2016’s Suicide Squad and is DC Comics’ latest venture into the world of big budget films. That journey has been something of a slippery slope for the legendary publisher. While Warner Brothers seems committed to making the DCEU successful, the fact is that the majority of their projects have been met with indifference from comic book fans.
DC’s source material is rich with years of history featuring some of the medium’s most compelling characters of all time. But unfortunately, those characters do not always successfully translate to the silver screen. So is that also the case for The Suicide Squad?
The truth is that if DC is to get moving in the right direction, this is the kind of property that could facilitate that forward progress. That’s thanks to the action-packed nature of the project, as well as the eccentric characters on display. John Cena is part of that mix and it’s a world that he definitely seems comfortable inhabiting.
It’s often said that the best pro wrestling gimmicks are basically just the performer acting as himself with the volume turned up. This is certainly the case for Cena, who is basically just acting like the same guy that WWE fans have loved—and hated—for the past 20 years.
The Gang’s All Here
Because of that, John Cena is definitely in his comfort zone. While Cena constantly proves that he’s capable of more than just the stereotypical tough guy roles, this one is right down his alley and it shows. Peacemaker is one part John Wayne and one part John Rambo, plunged headfirst into a Quentin Tarantino bloodbath.
Not only does Cena rise to the occasion, he creates a memorable character that becomes a focal point of the movie. His humorous deadpan delivery serves the role well, adding to the often absurd drama that plays out in the film.
That drama sees the return of Viola Davis as Amanda Waller, the A.R.G.U.S. director responsible for organizing the supervillain team. Margot Robbie reprises her role as Harley Quinn, the lovable but psychotic ex-girlfriend of The Joker. This marks the third time that Robbie has played the character, which is a longtime favorite of comic book fans.
Idris Elba is along for the ride as Bloodsport, a mercenary who actually took down Superman himself. Bloodsport reluctantly joins the team and along with Cena, becomes the film’s one-two punch.
Next to the two men is Joel Kinnaman, who is back in the role of Rick Flag. Flag is the fearless leader of the team, the military Colonel who always follows orders. David Dastmalchian brings his comedic sensibility to the role of The Polka Dot Man, an obscure villain who is a bit more tortured than his name would suggest.
Daniela Melchior portrays Ratcatcher 2, another character who is also more than she would seem at first glance. Sylvester Stallone is the voice of King Shark, a fan favorite who has appeared in a previous iteration on The Flash TV series.
The film is directed by James Gunn, the man who brought The Guardians of the Galaxy to life in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Ironically enough, former WWE Superstar Dave Batista also found his comic book film fame under Gunn’s direction. Gunn was the perfect choice to lead the charge on The Suicide Squad, which is certainly one of the most bizarre movies ever presented in the DCEU.
John Cena’s only just getting started in the DC Extended Universe. The 16-time world champion will be back in the Peacemaker role in his very own HBO Max series. That series will debut in January of 2022 and is sure to elevate Cena to an extremely high level. John will always call WWE home, but now he also has a new direction moving forward thanks to The Suicide Squad.
Tom Clark is a Senior Pro Wrestling Analyst and Featured Columnist for Wrestling Rumors. His podcast, Tom Clark’s Main Event, is available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, Amazon Music, Audible, Spotify, YouTube and live every Friday at 12pm EST on Wrestling Rumors Facebook Live