Peacemaker Series on HBO Max Exceeds Expectations

Daniel Cortez, Staff Writer

After the release of The Suicide Squad in 2021, James Gunn (writer, director, and producer) was given the opportunity to make the TV series based on the character Peacemaker. Many fans were confused about why this unknown character was getting his own show, but the series was recently released on HBO Max and it blew fans’ expectations out of the water.

Peacemaker, played by John Cena, was one of the best characters in the film. Cena has expressed his love for the character and he was happy to come back for the TV series. The series premiered on January 13 on HBO Max. The first three episodes were put out together and fans loved them.

Peacemaker with the rest of The Suicide Squad

One thing that immediately stuck out to fans was the TV show’s opening credits. The opening credits feature all of the characters in the show doing a choreographed dance to Wig Wam’s, “Do Ya Wanna Taste It.” Many fans took to social media to show love to the intro, claiming it to be one of the greatest TV intros ever.

The first three episodes were a breath of fresh air to the DC Universe. The DC Universe is known for being very dark, but this show has a mixture of both fun lightheartedness and dark depressing themes. The humor in the show was hit or miss for some people, but the characters were very well written. These three episodes left the fans wanting more.

The show focuses on Task Force X, a group that consists of six main characters. Peacemaker (Christopher Smith) is a vigilante who will do anything to achieve peace, no matter how many people he has to kill to get it. Emilia Harcourt and John Economos are two federal agents who were working for and went against Task Force X’s leader, Amanda Waller, in 2021’s The Suicide Squad. 

Leeota Adebayo is the daughter of Amanda Waller and she was assigned to Task Force X by her mother to plant evidence on Peacemaker. Vigilante (Adrian Chase) is a mentally unstable vigilante who murders criminals and idolizes Peacemaker. Clemson Murn was selected choice of Amanda Waller to be the leader of Task Force X. Murn was once a mercenary who committed numerous horrible acts. Eagly is Peacemaker’s pet eagle who helps Peacemaker fight crime. Eagly helps Task Force X but is not an official member.

Poster for the members of Task Force X

The character development is an example of the show’s great writing. Most of these characters go from hating each other to becoming a great group of friends. All of Task Force X, besides Vigilante, started off disliking Peacemaker thinking he’s nothing but a killer, but as the show goes on, they become closer.

In the series, we find out about Peacemaker’s deeply traumatic past. Chris had no mother and his father was a really horrible person. Chris’s father, August Smith, was a white supremacist who was also the leader of a racist clan similar to the KKK. August was also a supervillain known as the white dragon. August had trained and forced Chris to be a killer going as far as to make him kill an innocent man by stabbing him.

August Smith a.k.a The White Dragon

Caution!  [Spoilers ahead!]

His father was also responsible for the death of Keith Smith, his other son, and Chris’s only brother. He died after Chris accidentally killed him during a fistfight. The fistfight happened because of a child fighting ring set up by their father for gambling purposes.

August and his racist clan bet on who would win the fight and this led to the unfortunate death of Keith. This traumatized Chris for life, causing him to believe that he was responsible for his brother’s death. When Chris’s brother died, he prayed to God saying, “I’ll do whatever you want, for peace.”

The plot focuses on Task Force X trying to stop a group of alien species known as ‘butterflies’ from taking over planet Earth. Butterflies are an evil symbiote-like species that kill humans and possess their bodies to use as hosts. They can retain the memories of their host and have complete control over their body.

Midway through the show, we discover that the group leader, Murn, is one of these butterflies. Murn is one of the good butterflies and wants to prevent his species from taking over the Earth. Throughout the show, Task Force X becomes very close. Peacemaker and Leeota become best friends and Emilia Harcourt and Peacemaker fall in love.

The leader of the butterflies, Goff, is saved by Peacemaker after Task Force X had meant to kill him. Meanwhile, Leeota gets close to Peacemaker and eventually plants a fake journal in his trailer home to get him arrested.

The journal is meant to be a fake, that is supposed to frame Peacemaker and put him in jail. It contains evidence of Peacemaker committing crimes that he didn’t actually do.  Leeota doesn’t want to do this but is forced to by her mother, Amanda Waller.

Goff stays with Peacemaker for a while until he escapes and takes control of a police detective. This police detective has been investigating Peacemaker for a while and eventually the police decide to raid Peacemaker’s home. They break in which leads to Murn escaping and taking control of the detective.

Murn reveals to Task Force X the butterfly’s food source, which comes from a giant alien cow. Goff kills Murn after discovering that Murn tells Task Force X about the cow.

The giant alien cow where butterflies got their food from

Task Force X’s final mission is to kill this cow since killing the cow would mean killing the butterflies. They succeed and kill the cow but Harcourt ends up getting seriously injured. Harcourt is taken to the hospital and ends up being fine. The show ends with Peacemaker sitting in his trailer looking out into the sunset.

Gunn took a group of D-list characters, gave these characters excellent development and a good plot, and made one of the greatest comic book TV shows ever. The cast knocked it out of the park with their great acting and the cinematography was amazing and the costume designs were beautiful. The CGI in the show looked very realistic–which is rare in films and shows nowadays.

The beautiful suit designs for Peacemaker and Vigilante

Cena delivers an emotional performance as Peacemaker which was very unexpected for someone who started their career off as a professional wrestler. Another reason being, his previous acting roles haven’t been all that great. Cena displays emotions from anger to sadness and overall does a great job portraying Peacemaker.

Another aspect that the series excelled at were the montages in the show. There were montages of Task Force X using teamwork to defeat the Butterflies. We saw Peacemaker and Vigilante in a forest blowing objects up with their weapons and gadgets.

One of the better montages was Peacemaker reliving his traumatic past. In this montage, we see Cena’s acting abilities at its fullest potential, showing how Peacemaker’s past truly affects him.

The music selection in this show was very adequate, but this is no surprise since the director is James Gunn. Gunn is known for his excellent music taste and implementing it into his movies, but this time he did it for his first TV series.

The show was recently renewed for season two and James Gunn will return to write and direct all of it. The cast is also set to return for the new season releasing in 2023.

Overall, Peacemaker gives the DC Universe something fresh and new. From the writing to the acting, this show is a must watch if you’re a fan of comic book movie and TV show adaptations. Gunn proves once again that he is one of the best working directors/writers in the film industry right now.