Peacemaker reviews are in: “Action-packed, profane, and bizarre”

Reviews for The Suicide Squad spin-off Peacemaker are in – and they’re all largely positive. 

The HBO Max series from creator James Gunn follows John Cena’s titular character, AKA Christopher Smith, and picks up where The Suicide Squad left off. This time round, Peacemaker has joined another team to take on another alien threat, but the series is also going to delve into the complex relationship between the vigilante and his father, as well as the bond between team members. 

Both praise and criticism has poured in from critics, with reviews mainly focusing on the show’s treatment of its main character’s morality, the overall tone, and its sense of humor (and soundtrack). We’ve rounded up a selection of reviews below to give you an idea of what the critics are saying – scroll on to get up to speed on all things Peacemaker. 

The Hollywood Reporter (opens in new tab) – Angie Han

“For all the show’s feints toward edginess, it colors well within the lines laid out by its predecessors. That’s not entirely to its detriment – it makes Peacemaker a comfort rather than a challenge. Too much familiarity over the course of a season, however, leads to a series that’s easy not to mind watching instead of one that’s hard to quit watching. In its quest to shed new light on a character who came out of his last movie looking dangerously close to outright villainy, Peacemaker loses too much of the darkness that made him compelling in the first place.”

Collider (opens in new tab) – Carly Lane – C+

“As the first potential spinoff devised from The Suicide Squad, Peacemaker is definitely a less bombastic series, dealing more in relationships than action overall, but it might have also proven more successful if it wasn’t so focused on trying to render its lead more of a likable douchebag or retroactively justifying his murderous past. It’s possible he may have been too good a villain in his first appearance, because the series itself doesn’t serve as enough road for him to fully change course in a satisfying narrative way. There are intermittent shining moments, briefly-glimpsed reminders of how Gunn can also thrive in the earnest elements within exaggerated, comic book-rooted comedy – and of course, the soundtrack undeniably slaps. (Good luck getting the opening theme song out of your head after you first hear it.) But what makes Peacemaker such an interesting and compelling character is his unrepentant awfulness, and the series choosing to back-pedal on what could be considered his defining traits only makes for an aggressively fine follow-up.” (opens in new tab) – Jenna Anderson – 4/5

“From the jump, HBO Max’s Peacemaker has had a fair amount riding on it – it’s the follow-up to a masterpiece of a superhero film, it’s the first TV show set officially within the DCEU, and it’s centered around a character who is still far from a household name. Still, all of those elements seem to work in the series’ favor, allowing for it to tell the action-packed, profane, and bizarre story that perfectly suits its protagonists without any real expectations. Yes, there are a small number of growing pains, but they are vastly outweighed by the creative and entertaining things that the series does right. Like the countless DC Comics solo series of the 1980s, Peacemaker proves an essential point about the DCEU – that when you showcase the weirdest possible fringes of a fictional universe, it helps the entire universe feel much bigger and more complete.”

IGN (opens in new tab) – Samantha Nelson – 8/10

“Peacemaker isn’t quite as sharply written as Amazon’s The Boys, but James Gunn is aiming for the same sort of subversive superhero show, using excessive violence and biting humor to deconstruct the failings of the genre. The three-episode premiere offers a goofy takedown of vigilantism while hinting at bigger and darker plots to come.”

Polygon (opens in new tab) – LaToya Ferguson 

“The Suicide Squad’s hyperviolence continues in the series, with careful attention put into practical effects like having a background corpse continue to ooze blood. Salty language and gratuitous female nudity also contribute to the R rating. Given this style, it’s fair to ask whether the series is mocking edgelord-y teenage-boy sensibilities, as the buffoonery of characters like Peacemaker and Vigilante would suggest that it is, or whether it’s leaning right into them. A lot of evidence suggests the former, given how the series treats Peacemaker’s potential for growth. Gunn seems to get a thrill out of threading the fine needle of lampooning exploitative excess, while also taking full advantage of it. The approach allows for interesting performances out of the whole cast, who balance heavy drama with crass, juvenile humor extremely well.”

Peacemaker lands on HBO Max this January 13. In the meantime, check out how to watch DC movies in order to get up to speed on the DCEU. 

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