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HBO Max’s Peacemaker Continues Twisted Saga of Suicide Squad | TV/Streaming

If you remember, Peacemaker was basically dead at the end of “Suicide Squad,” but comic books (and the movies based on them) have never been too concerned about that before. Brought back to life, he ends up working with some of the crew who overthrew Waller (Viola Davis) at the end of the movie, including the burly Economos (Steve Agee), who Peacemaker nicknames “dye-beard,” and tough-as-nails Harcourt (Jennifer Holland), who sees right through Peacemaker’s macho schtick. The team is filled out by the stoic leader Murn (Chukwudi Iwuji) and a new member named Adebayo (the great Danielle Brooks), who brings a secret to the squad. And don’t forget Peacemaker’s animal sidekick, Eagle-y.

Before long, Peacemaker and his new team of outcasts—Economos and Harcourt are convinced they got this assignment because of their mutiny—stumble upon an alien invasion, allowing Gunn’s Troma background to come out and play. Having said that, much of “Peacemaker” is tame when compared to the lunacy of the film that inspired it. When it does allow itself to go off the rails in an action scene, it springs to life, but I’m not sure anyone needed a “Peacemaker” that’s this talky. Of course, maintaining the pace of the film couldn’t work for eight roughly 40-minute episodes, but “Peacemaker” definitely suffers from that common modern problem wherein it seems a little thin for its ultimate running time. The first couple and last couple episodes blaze—the middle often feels like filler.

At least the filler is often pretty funny. Freddie Stroma is great as Vigilante, the Robin to Peacemaker’s Batman, even if the hero never really asked for him. He’s kind of like a superfan who decided he wanted to go on killing sprees with his favorite hero. Robert Patrick is effective as Auggie Smith, Peacemaker’s vile father, a virulently racist character who formed the worst parts of his son’s personality. Much of the season is about Chris realizing that he has no peace in his life not because of the world around him but the home in which he was created. As for the main cast, Cena gets more to work with than he did in the film (including so much glam rock accompaniment) and he’s a likable lead, capturing the naïve inadequacy of Peacemaker without turning him into a caricature. Brooks is the audience surrogate who comes to understand and even appreciate the Suicide Squad’s dumbest member, while Holland makes for a convincing action hero.

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