“ Peacemaker kills.”
PEACEMAKER - SEASON 1 (2022) | The First 3
THE "IMDB" PREMISE:
"The origin of the DC superhero so dedicated to world peace that he is prepared to use force of arms to achieve it."
OUR [TO THE POINT] REVIEW:
The first three episodes of James Gunn’s highly anticipated series Peacemaker have finally dropped on HBO Max. A continuation of Gunn’s critically acclaimed The Suicide Squad, as you might expect, the series does not disappoint.
Picking up months after The Suicide Squad, the series follows John Cena’s titular anti-hero as he is recruited for a brand new mission by Amanda Waller. This time around, however, she’s not heading it. Instead, two of the agents who prominently betrayed her in the film, Harcourt and Economos, are. Like Cena, Jennifer Holland and Steve Agee return to reprise their respective roles, and they are joined by DCEU newcomers Chukwudi Iwuji, Danielle Brooks, and Freddie Stroma.
While Harcourt and Economos are the lead agents in charge of the mission, the brains of this particular operation, titled Project Butterfly, is Iwuji’s Mr. Murn. Similar to Waller, it’s not entirely clear what Murn’s motives are, but he’s definitely more personable.
Brooks plays Leota Adebayo, a seemingly random recruit with a massive secret - she’s Waller’s daughter. However, unlike Peacemaker, it doesn’t appear that she’s being set up to betray the rest of the group. Instead, she’s her eyes and ears.
Stroma plays another masked vigilante that ironically goes by Vigilante. Introduced as a silly side character who Peacemaker disregards as a wannabe, by episode three he comes into his own and proves himself as an equal.
James Gunn’s direction and writing are both spot-on as usual. The fact that Gunn just manages to casually insert a conversation about Louis C.K. 's controversial past in one of these episodes should give you an idea of just how consistently entertaining the series is. Minor mentions of characters like Bat Mite and White Dragon - who may or may not actually be Peacemaker’s father, played by Robert Patrick - add even more depth to the ever-expanding universe. However, it’s the inclusion of obscure characters like Judomaster and Eagley (Peacemaker’s pet eagle) that give credence to Gunn’s quirkiness and help define the show.
There are moments where it does drag a bit admittedly, but once again the dialogue is entertaining enough to hold you over as those moments are built towards the inevitably excellent action.
The first episode is a prime example of that. It isn’t until the final five minutes of the episode that we finally get to see Peacemaker back in action. Prior to that, we just follow him as he readjusts to his “normal” life. The first half of the second episode continues to build off of that action, following him as he tries to pull a reverse-Raid and escape an apartment complex as the cops continue to flood it.
Although I don’t think the series is as great as The Suicide Squad, it’s getting there. But whether or not the series will be on par with it is irrelevant. In the first three episodes alone, Gunn has made it abundantly clear that he’s more interested in subverting our expectations for what a streaming superhero show should be and doing things much differently than ever before. The dance number that accompanies the opening title sequence is proof of that alone.
The bottom line? Peacemaker kills.