Why Jennifer Garner's Peppermint signals the return of the archetypal hero from 'Alias'
It's been 12 years since she starred as Sydney Bristwo in 'Alias' and Garner in 'Peppermint' is a deja-vu of that badassery without the one-liners.
"You think you're gonna have justice? Make them all pay?"
"Corrupt judges. Dirty cops. Well I want, I want justice!"
There are two kinds of people in the world - those who remember Jennifer Garner as the gawky teen named Jenna Rink who wakes up to find she's 30 and living her dream life and those who remember her as the badass CIA agent Sydney Bristol who could give John Wick a run for his money. Regardless of who you are, you cannot help but love Garner. She's always done justice to the roles she's been in, even if it meant starring in the 2010 romantic comedy 'Valentine's Day', a terrible movie by many standards. She's gone in and out of the limelight, especially since she had her three adorable kids. But Garner is ready and packing in her upcoming film 'Peppermint' which marks the return of the archetypal hero from 'Alias' that we've known and loved!
The show's creator, JJ Abrams, had said that he had written the part of Sydney Bristow with Garner in mind, "I always thought she had something in her personality that was funnier and sexier and smarter and more mischievous than anything I'd seen her do ... I wanted to show that." However, he had to convince wary studio executives that Garner was right for the role and after the success that she brought to the show, they must have thanked their stars that they went forward with it.
She was one of the strongest characters on television back in the 2000s even though it was one of the most underrated shows at the time. 'Alias' ran for five seasons before ending in 2006 and other than the infamous third season was very well received. She went from zero to hero real quick and found herself nominated for four Emmys and winning a Golden Globe and a SAG Award. Syd was also ranked as one of the most memorable and well-regarded female characters on television.
It's been 12 years since she starred in the TV series but if you've watched the show, there's no forgetting her sassy one-liners, her impeccable knack for disguise and the stone cold glare that she had before she beat the shit out of someone. Garner in 'Peppermint' is a deja-vu without the one-liners.
'Peppermint' has all the makings of a great revenge flick, from the looks of the trailer. There's a powerful backstory and it is driven by the loss of loved ones. The plot revolves around a sweet suburban looking mum called Riley North whose life is turned upside down on a family outing. One moment she's laughing with her husband and her daughter, posing in a photo booth and getting some ice cream and the next moment there's shots fired. She wakes up in the hospital to the heartbreaking news that her husband and daughter are both brutally killed in a drive-by shooting. What's worse, it was on her daughter's birthday. She is told by the cops that they were by members of a notorious gang called the Garcia cartel.
The cops tell her that no one was willing to step up to help with the case, simply because of how dangerous they are. She soon finds out that the cartel has everyone in their pockets as the investigating officer in her case slips her a wad of cash while asking her if she really saw something. Unsurprisingly, the killers walk free - even though she identifies them as clear as day. By this point, there's a slow, bubbling rage inside her and she decides to go underground. When she resurfaces five years later, everyone who had wronged her and her family starts dying brutal deaths.
Although this isn't something that is fresh in terms of storyline, what is really interesting about 'Peppermint' is just how emotional it is. It very much reminds you of 'John Wick' franchise and I have no complaints - you don't watch a revenge thriller because of how new the plot is! Garner oozes badassery and in every shot in the trailer, you feel her pain. The metaphorical punches that the justice system lands on this poor mother one after another that she returns tenfold with her vigilante justice later, is extremely satisfying to watch. Plus, it comes from the favorite in the genre - Pierre Morel, the French film director and cinematographer who brought out the action god in Liam Neeson in 'Taken'.
Let's talk about the epicly toned physique that she sports in 'Peppermint' now. It's such a nostalgic trip to her 'Alias' avatar - biceps that can put you in a chokehold in a jiffy, washboard abs and the same maniacal look in her eyes. This time she doesn't come back with the famous red hair, but we can willfully let that one go. It's not too practical when you're trying to kill cartel folks, anyway!
One may argue that she's too much of a cliche in the film and unlike the times Garner played just mom, this one she plays a mom with muscles and a gun. Remember her in 'Juno' and 'Love, Simon'? This fear, although highly unlikely from the trailer, could very well be true. I mean look at 'Elektra', her unfortunate 2005 superheroine flick. A convoluted and critically unacclaimed movie that was a horrendous flop show, 'Elektra' perhaps broke all records of just how terrible a film can possibly be. 'Green Lantern' came close though. However, this wasn't really Garner's fault. After starring in 'Daredevil' in 2003, she was contractually obligated to do the film and at the time, superhero movies weren't made the way they are today. 'Elektra' also was a huge part of creating the myth surrounding female-centric films that they weren't bankable. The fan following that Garner had garnered through 'Alias' faded into the darkness.
'Peppermint' could be the full circle that Garner's career could be waiting for. She burst into the limelight with an action show so it would only be fatefully correct if can bounce right back into the same spotlight, guns blazing. If action is the preferred passage of rebirth for Garner, we sure hope she makes it.
'Peppermint' hits theatres on September 7.