Peace be with you John Cena.
When we last saw John Cena’s Peacemaker, he was trying to cover up Amanda Walker’s dirty secrets by murdering Rick Flagg, and got shot in the throat by Bloodsport. The post credit scenes of “The Suicide Squad” revealed that he survived, and now he has his own series on HBO Max. And both the movie and show are written and directed by James Gunn.
“The Suicide Squad,” as you know, made my list of the Best Films of 2021, because of major improvements Gunn has made on a crappy DC movie that wasn’t even his to begin with. And so far, the show, entitled “Peacemaker,” has the right kind of attitude and laughs, which makes him seem like a goof ball with a mean streak.
As the series begins, and we were given 3 episodes so far, Peacemaker, A.K.A. Christopher Smith, walks out of the hospital, but ends up caught by the Waller’s team, who enlist him to join their program dedicating to battling Project Butterfly, whatever that is. He still has the explosive device in his skull, so they got him by the balls.
The members consist of the leader Clemson Murn (Chukwudi Iwuji), the tough-as-nails Emilia Harcourt (Jennifer Holland), the snarky John Economics (Steve Agee), and the newest member Leota Adebayo (Danielle Brooks), the daughter of Amanda Waller (Viola Davis). And out of all them, Emilia is the one Peacemaker learns to connect with. It sounds random, but it’s handled on a versatile attempt.
His dad Auggie (Robert Patrick) is a rough racist, who still gives him the supplies he needs, his Eagle is named Eagly, who can hug him, and when insulted, he tells people his attire is a uniform, not a costume.
Also entering Peacemaker’s life is Vigilante (Freddie Stroma), a murderer, who doesn’t want to take off his mask, even during sex, and is the title character’s biggest fan. He sounds like the comic relief character that Deadpool would love to hang out with in his Marvel world.
And then, in the third episode, he not only has to deal with a wealthy family, who are not who they say they are, but also a little man in a green suit known as Judomaster (Nhut Le).
Certain scenes are a bit hard to follow, but we’re only up to three episodes, because that’s what the premiere gave us, so I guess things will clarify later on. In the meantime, Cena is the right actor to play a buff and goofy jerk like Peacemaker, who loves resorting to violence in order to restore peace.
The supporting work is also fun. Holland is wildly entertaining when she expresses her womanhood (don’t call her a C***), Patrick has attitude as the racist father, Brooks provides the spontaneous energy as the newcomer, and Storma helps bring on the levity as Vigilante.
Gunn is able to take this franchise to new heights with his visual appeal, comedy, action, and narrative. It’s a shame his movie bombed at the box office, because of how Warner Bros and HBO Max joined forces, but it still deserved a spot on my Best of the Year list. This series is almost as badass as that film.
Streaming on HBO Max