It’s been a few days, but just in case, spoilers are coming if you haven’t watched the first two episodes of Peacemaker, one of the most cringe-worthy yet entertaining shows on HBO Max at this time. Even though it will be said, that John Cena somehow fit the mold for this role since his time in the WWE saw him as the face and sometimes as the heel, but almost always as the guy that people would jeer and catcall right before they cheered his various antics and victories. Peacemaker isn’t quite as easy to take as Cena was in his WWE days, but at the same time, he’s trying, so he gets a little credit. Even the director, James Gunn, admitted that the character is meant to be an enormous douchebag, and somehow Cena pulls this off so well that it’s easy to sit and watch this show with a look of pure amazement on your face as you realize that yes, they did go there. Surprisingly though, it’s probably best that they did, since otherwise, this show doesn’t feel as though it would have been worth that much.
It’s almost easy to feel sorry for Peacemaker in the initial episode since no one cares about this guy, as he’s allowed to leave the hospital as he dons his costume, or uniform, and makes his way home to a trailer park, to a home that’s fairly easy to pick out given the fact that it looks horrendous and is as patriotic as anything can be. Having to break into his own home though is a bit saddening, and then finding that his phone service is still working after so long and his mailbox has been flooded by his ‘buddy’, another crimefighter/murderer known as Vigilante, kind of paints a pathetic picture of a life that’s supposed to mean something and ends up meaning next to nothing.
But then we get to meet Peacemaker’s father, Auggie Smith, who’s easily as racist and pathetic as his son, perhaps even more so. From the fact that he flies his American flag upside down to denote that America is in trouble, to the grief he gives his son and the disappointment that settles on his face when Peacemaker’s failures are flung back at him, Auggie is one of the absolute worst. But, he does supply his son with a wealth of technology as we get to see various helmet designs and an impressive room filled with technological wonders that are somehow folded in upon itself until Auggie opens up the room. In other words, DC is making great use of the technology they’ve come up with for their stories, and when Peacemaker selects another helmet one can’t help but roll their eyes and wonder what’s going to happen next. Oh, if you’re wondering what happened to his original helmet, he had to pawn it off for cab fare. Yes, that really happens. But then, as if to drive home the point of his character and how ridiculous he is, we find out that he has a pet eagle named, wait for it, Eagly. Yes, EAGLY. So far, there are no bounds to how out of control this character is going to get.
Eventually, he is ‘recruited’ for something called Project Butterfly, during which he meets his team, at least one of which we met in the Suicide Squad movie. It’s also made apparent that Amanda Waller’s daughter is a part of the team even though she gets little to no respect as the newbie. But things only get better when Peacemaker, who has been in prison for a while, tries to proposition Harcourt, the badass woman of the group, only to find out that she’s not interested in the least. He still ends up finding a woman to spend a few pleasing moments with, at least until she tries to kill him, forcing Peacemaker to kill her with a sonic blast up close from his helmet. Needless to say, the cops are called since Peacemaker, who’s rescued by Harcourt and the newbie, Leota, leaves his battered car, which leads the cops to his father after John performs a bit of computer magic to keep the heat off of Peacemaker and their group.
To say that the first two episodes in this show were indicative of what’s to come feels like a serious understatement, especially since amazingly, things appear as though they’re going to get a lot crazier. Peacemaker is the type of character that almost feels heroic in some instances but slips right back into the role of being a violent vigilante with a seriously twisted sense of justice. From the introductory dance number to the end of each episode thus far, we’re learning more about Peacemaker, but we’re also learning that his life is a serious mess from front to back.