HBO Max’s Peacemaker is the perfect antidote to those increasingly generic and formulaic Marvel Comics Universe shows.
Call me overly enthusiastic, but I think I’ve finally found a TV show that Stuart Sweet and I agree on. It’s HBO Max’s latest turn in the DC universe. Do you remember the Peacemaker character from The Suicide Squad? He was deftly played by wrestler-turned-actor John Cena. His performance cemented Peacemaker as a breakout character, which is why he got his own show. If you’re a fan of superhero shows, you’re probably already watching this. But if you’re getting burned out on this genre, Peacemaker will restore your faith in the genre. Here are six reasons why you should check it out!
1. It Hits the Ground Running
The series starts with a brief wrap-up of the events in The Suicide Squad. This is important because it shows how Peacemaker survives being shot in the neck and having a building fall on him. With that out of the way, viewers are propelled into the drama of the series. Hint: It focuses on Peacemaker being chosen for “Project Butterfly.” (Trust me when I say it’s worse than it sounds.) From there, we meet Peacemaker’s father, his team, and a very powerful foe. All this in 40 minutes or less!
2. It’s the Perfect Mix of Action and Comedy
Yes, Peacemaker is funny. But it’s the kind of funny that I appreciate the most. DC movies and TV shows are more self-aware and self-referential than Marvel movies. In other words, DC doesn’t take itself too seriously and that’s a good thing. In the first episode of Peacemaker, members of the team tease Peacemaker about Batman being the “real hero” while Peacemaker is a loser. The titular hero of this series doesn’t take the ribbing well, which makes it even more humorous.
3. Peacemaker is More Than Just a Buffoon
Granted, he’s a pretty big buffoon. The character was deliberately written that way. But there’s also a vulnerability about him that makes him likable. As a viewer, I find myself rooting for him and wanting him to win, despite his shortcomings, both real and perceived. Credit to John Cena for being able to bring out the character’s vulnerability and sensitivity at key times during the show’s fast-moving narrative.
4. A Realistic Take on Superheroes
Have you ever wondered what would happen if regular people had superpowers? Peacemaker gives you a pretty good idea of this just in its first episode. What you need to know is that Peacemaker is flawed… very flawed. And, in the series’ first episode, we find out why. I’m not going to say our hero has daddy issues, but he has daddy issues. Big ones, in fact! His father is played by Robert Patrick, who’s made a career of playing bad guys. (He was the “Bad Terminator” in Terminator 2.) This should give you some idea of the subtext.
5. A Diverse, Inclusive Cast
DC really delivers on this one. Just take a look at Peacemaker’s handlers, aka his “team.” It features a multicultural group that consists of Chukwudi Iwuji as Clemson Murn, Jennifer Holland as Emilia Harcourt, and comedian Steve Agee as John Economos. The team is joined by its newest member, Leota Adebayo. She’s played by Danielle Brooks, who some might remember as “Tasty” on Orange is the New Black. The TV show’s inclusivity extends to a variety of minor characters as well. For many viewers, this will serve as a welcome change from superhero movies of the past.
6. Eagly the Eagle
Yes, I’m serious. This awesome and majestic bird – the symbol of our nation – is a good reason to watch this HBO original series. In many ways, Eagly is the only one who seems to truly care about Peacemaker. The bird even gave his human friend a big hug in the first episode. Granted, no one believes Peacemaker when he tells them this. (His dad was ignoring his son when Peacemaker asked him to take a pic of the moment.) The hug was real though and so are Eagly’s skills in battle. So, if for no other reason, watch this series for the bird. Seriously!
I Wish There Was More I Could Tell You…
But I’ve only watched the first two episodes. The ultimate plot hasn’t really unfolded just yet. All we have are two teases as to what’s going on:
Peacemaker is part of “Project Butterfly,” which is a mission to “decommission” former assassins.
Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) is back and likely running a mission-within-a-mission within Project Butterly. As such, she might be the leak that’s already compromised the mission… or maybe not.
That’s all I know for now but that’s enough for me to get hooked. Hopefully, you will, too. I’d hate to think that I’m the ONLY one who agrees with Stuart Sweet regarding this show. Talk about ending up with egg on my face!