James Gunn may still be fairly new to the Worlds of DC, but the acclaimed director has already pushed the limits of comic book movie storytelling. 2021's The Suicide Squad entered the rare company of R-Rated superhero films, and spin-off series Peacemaker has dominated social conversation less than half a year after the title character was introduced to audiences.
While that social conversation has been fairly positive, Gunn's Peacemaker has not been without its criticisms.
The DC Extended Universe turns ten years old next year when 2013's Man of Steel celebrates its double-digit anniversary, but the past decade of stories has been less than fruitful. Ten films have been officially released within DCEU canon, but rocky relationships with talent like Zack Snyder and Ben Affleck have significantly stalled DC's momentum.
With this in mind, some fans have felt the crude humor of Peacemaker is not the direction the DCEU should be heading.
James Gunn Responds to Peacemaker Criticism
Comic books have more than one path.
A fan shared an image of Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice's Trinity of Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman alongside Peacemaker's threesome of Christopher Smith, Vigilante, and Amber, captioned "No one can save the DC anymore #BoycottWB."
Peacemaker creator and director James Gunn responded to this criticism, emphasizing that DC can be for "any genre & for many ages."
"DC is not one thing. A beautiful aspect of comics - & films based on comics - is they can be in any genre & for many ages. Most of us are comfortable seeing a variety of feels in our comics, films & shows."
Gunn coupled the tweet with four images from DC Comics highlighting the franchise's variety, including Dr. Manhattan from Watchmen, Batman from The Dark Knight Returns, Plastic Man, and Spectre from Kingdom Come.
DC is for Everyone
James Gunn has never shied away from ambition when it comes to his storytelling.
Even outside of comic book films like Guardians of the Galaxy and The Suicide Squad, Gunn has pushed the boundaries with movies like Slither and Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed. Before Spider-Man: No Way Home brought five villains together, Scooby-Doo 2 united Miner 49er, Tar Monster, the Black Knight Ghost, and countless others. People forget.
Jokes aside, Peacemaker remains true to Gunn's storytelling identity. Comic book movie fans got a taste of Gunn's unorthodox approach in 2014, but 2021 unlocked the Rated-R layer to the acclaimed superhero director. Peacemaker is just a continuation of the horribly beautiful tone The Suicide Squad set up this past August.
While Gunn's response validates Peacemaker's inclusion among the wide variety of DC Comics, the original criticism does highlight an understandable frustration.
The DCEU turns ten years old in 2023. In that time, fans have seen one solo Superman film, no Ben Affleck-centered Batman solo movie, and a rushed and messy theatrical cut of Justice League. The DCEU's stumbles have forced the cinematic universe to pivot, and while Gunn's approach to their world has been met with overall applause, there will always be those that yearn for DC to focus on its poster characters.
Peacemaker airs new episodes every Thursday on HBO Max.