Image Credit: polygon.com
In August of 2021, Warner Brothers and DC Comics had released the film The Suicide Squad into theaters and HBO Max. Now just a mere five months after the release of the film comes spin-off Peacemaker for HBO Max written by James Gunn, who served as director of last year’s film. Featuring John Cena reprising his role from The Suicide Squad as the titular character Peacemaker, the show picks up right where the movie left off.
Right as he is getting out of the hospital due to the events of the movie, he is now assigned a new mission: stopping an alien invasion as a race of aliens known as the Butterflies. These creatures can inhabit and take over human bodies and plan on possessing the entire human race. In this mission, he is joined by two returning characters from The Suicide Squad, Harcourt (Jennifer Holland) and Economos (Steve Agee), as well as three new supporting characters, the commander of the operation Murn (Chukwudi Iwuji), the rookie Adebayo (Danielle Brooks), and the psychotic Adrian Chase, AKA Vigilante (Freddie Stroma). We also have some fun antagonists throughout the series such as Auggie Smith (Robert Patrick), a white supremacist is known as the White Dragon and Peacemaker’s Father. Also, there is the masked martial artist Judomaster (Nhut Lee). Is Peacemaker just as fun as last year’s Suicide Squad movie or will it make you say “Peacemaker? What a joke.”?
The first thing to mention is John Cena’s fantastic performance as Peacemaker. In The Suicide Squad, we saw that the wrestling icon himself can be surprisingly funny, especially with his interactions with Idris Elba’s character Bloodsport. While Bloodsport isn’t this show, I can say John Cena continues to surprise us with just how funny he can be. Throughout the series, Cena delivers line after hilarious line and plays off of each of the cast incredibly well, especially Vigilante. While he does lack some of the same kind of intimidation he had in The Suicide Squad, such as his performance during the fight against Rick Flagg, he makes up for it by getting more emotional than what one would expect from this kind of character. Peacemaker’s relationship with his father is the heart of his performance. Despite how terrible of a man Auggie is and even worse as a father, John Cena’s performance makes it believable that despite it all, Peacemaker still cares for his father.
As for the other characters, you have to mention Vigilante. Freddie Stroma does such a great job with this character. Vigilante is a loser who is a complete and utter psychopath that enjoys all the violence and killing, but also considers himself to be Peacemaker’s best friend. The character made me laugh all throughout the show; honestly, if Ryan Reynolds didn’t already do such a great job with Deadpool, Stroma would be considered a top pick for the role after this due to his great performance as an insane killer who never shuts up. Another performance I really enjoyed is Robert Patrick as Auggie Smith. Patrick gives such a great performance as this absolutely terrible man that treats his own son like trash. Despite it all, there was something to Patrick’s and Cena’s chemistry that made them believable as father and son.
As for the other characters, it was nice to see Harcourt and Economos be given a much more expanded role in this compared to what they were given in The Suicide Squad. Danielle Brooks as Adebayo was a great addition, and as the new recruit, she did a great job at playing someone who felt incredibly overwhelmed with her situation. Then we have Chukwudi Iwuji as Murn. Without giving away too much about his character, I’ll just say I can see James Gunn decided to cast him in Guardians of the Galaxy 3; the man gave a great performance for the kind of role this was.
While I don’t think the action reached the great highs that The Suicide Squad did, there were still a lot of great moments throughout the series, especially with any action scene that involved Judomaster. Without giving too much away, there are still plenty of great action scenes throughout the series. A lot of them were very well choreographed and had great visual effects throughout. A quick heads up, this show is much like The Suicide Squad where it’s incredibly gory from a violence standpoint. So while I do recommend this show, that is something that you should keep in mind. Then top it all off, we have the incredible opening for the show that plays in every episode. This opening sets the tone of the series up really well; watch it for yourself to see how incredible it is.
In conclusion, Peacemaker was an absolutely great time. Between this show and The Suicide Squad, no one has come close to capturing the tone of DC comics on film like James Gunn has. The fact he is working on another spin-off for The Suicide Squad and just mere hours before the finale had aired the second season of Peacemaker has announced, both of which will be written and directed by Gunn. Between Gunn’s DC shows and director Matt Reeves’s upcoming Batman film in just a couple of weeks, this truly is a great time to be a DC fan, as there have been some rough patches in recent years. I am incredibly excited and hopeful for the future of DC on film. So, go watch The Suicide Squad if you haven’t already, because is it one of last year’s best films; then, go watch Peacemaker right afterward. As not only do both of them connect very nicely to each other, but are also an absolutely great time you won’t regret.