A little while ago, I whined that James Gunn probably wouldn’t get to make another Suicide Squad movie after his excellent DC Comics offering bombed at the box office.
I was aware that Peacemaker, a TV show based on John Cena’s seemingly dead dirty superhero from The Suicide Squad, was in the works. I was not aware that 1) in addition to producing, Gunn is writing and directing many episodes of the show; and 2) the show isn’t a prequel; it’s a sequel. In other words, Gunn is getting to play a lot in the DC Universe after all.
Cena returns as the supersized weirdo with the funky helmet, and he gets a new mission with the intelligence team that betrayed Viola Davis’ angry Amanda Waller in the movie. Holdovers from the movie include the great Steve Agee as John Economos, and, most thankfully, Jennifer Holland as Emilia Harcourt.
Peacemaker finds himself fighting something called the Butterflies, and the same hilarious, ultra-violent vibe from The Suicide Squad runs throughout this project. Gunn has no problem with gore, profanity and nudity, so this isn’t a show for you and the kids like those cute Marvel programs on Disney+.
Robert Patrick plays Auggie Smith, Peacemaker’s nasty father, who makes his uniforms and helmets—and peppers most of his conversations with various racial slurs.
The best thing about the show so far—HBO Max released three of eight episodes on Jan. 13, with the rest being released weekly on Thursdays—is Eagly, Peacemaker’s bald eagle sidekick. Their reunion (Dad was keeping him in the garage while Son was away at prison) is quite touching, with the excited eagle managing a hug. Eagly waits in the car while Peacemaker goes about his business, much like my dog does when I go shopping.
You will never skip the opening credits of this show. It features the cast members performing a gloriously choregraphed synchronized dance, complete with a joyous appearance by Eagly at the end.
The intro credits also offer a nice hint at what to expect when watching the show—comedy that doesn’t care to be anything routine. Yes, Gunn is working on the next Guardians of the Galaxy for Marvel, but Peacemaker shows he isn’t even close to done in the DC Universe.
Peacemaker is now streaming on HBO Max.