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Peacemaker Is The DCEU’s John Walker (With A Better Arc)

The DCEU’s Peacemaker and the MCU’s John Walker have many similarities. However, the former has so far succeeded in having the better character arc.

WARNING: This article contains SPOILERS for Peacemaker and The Falcon And The Winter Soldier

Peacemaker‘s titular anti-hero is the DCEU’s answer to The Falcon And The Winter Soldier‘s John Walker with a better character arc. Both have been proven to share many similarities as characters. However, based on how their stories play out, the former so far has a key advantage.

On a surface level, Peacemaker and John Walker act as stand-ins for a commentary on hardcore American Exceptionalism. They are shown engaging in morally questionable to outright villainous acts for the sake of preserving their country’s status in the world. Despite the things they have done, however, Peacemaker and The Falcon And The Winter Soldier see both characters end their stories on rather positive notes.


Related: The Winter Soldier Killed Spider-Man’s Parents – MCU Theory Explained

Despite the similarities shared between the two, Peacemaker’s character arc in his show succeeds where John Walker’s arc in The Falcon And The Winter Soldier stumbles. This is because, between The Suicide Squad and Peacemaker, James Gunn and his crew allow the audience to truly get to know him as he is fleshed out beyond his borderline irredeemable role in the former film. By contrast, Walker’s arc is placed in an (as of now) six-episode miniseries, where several other storylines are competing for screentime in a relatively short amount of time. This leaves the culmination of his arc feeling incredibly rushed and the character feeling much more one-dimensional when compared to Cena’s well-rounded Peacemaker.

John Walker in Episode 4 of Falcon and Winter Soldier

Peacemaker’s role in The Suicide Squad leans farther into the villainous side. While viewers get glimpses of his more likable qualities sprinkled throughout (particularly when the Squad is cutting loose at the bar,) they are ultimately outweighed by his fanatical devotion to the mission and preserving the peace, which concerns ensuring the U.S. government’s involvement in Project Starfish is covered up. After being shot and put in a coma by Bloodsport, Peacemaker delves deeper into the anti-hero’s more vulnerable and human side, complete with showing his toxic upbringing at the hands of his father and his remorse for more heinous actions such as killing Rick Flag. This continues throughout the series, and with that, viewers see Peacemaker gradually choosing to let go of his stringent code, which comes to fruition when he destroys the Cow and stops the Butterflies’ invasion rather than letting them take over.

In The Falcon And The Winter Soldier, John Walker takes on the mantle of Captain America following Steve Rogers’ retirement. The series sees him become obsessed with living up to the mantle, to the point where he takes the Super Soldier Serum and murders the Flag-Smasher, Nico, in cold blood. While this in concept is a compelling arc for a tragic villain, the series had several storylines to juggle within its six-episode run, such as the Flag-Smashers dispute and the interpersonal conflicts of its two lead heroes. As such, there wasn’t time within the series to give Walker’s arc the screentime necessary to organically develop, and his final redemption in the finale rang hollow because his character hasn’t taken the necessary steps to earn it.

Peacemaker’s arc has the advantage against the story of John Walker in The Falcon And The Winter Soldier because the former has been given the breathing room to take baby steps in his development into a better person, with it still being the case that a lot more work is needed to be done in Peacemaker season 2. Fortunately for Walker, there is still potential for him to achieve a similarly rewarding character arc through his future as U.S. Agent.

Next: White Dragon’s Return Is Perfect For Peacemaker Season 2

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