Peacemaker, the first TV show in the DCEU, boosts The Suicide Squad by giving its least appealing character deeper. The Suicide Squad reintroduced the chaotic squad of supervillains pushed into government black ops work with a mostly-new roster, including the buffoonish jingoist Christopher Smith, a.k.a. Peacemaker, in James Gunn’s 2021 sequel to the 2016 film Suicide Squad. Smith’s character was easily the least likable in the film, but his HBO Max spinoff series provides him much-needed depth, making his debut a far better film in retrospect.
In The Suicide Squad, Christopher Smith is portrayed as an ideal soldier. Smith has a single-minded preoccupation with achieving world peace, in addition to being in peak physical condition and mastering in the use of almost all weaponry. Peacemaker has a strange bloodlust, claiming that in order to achieve his goal, he is willing to kill everyone, including infants. As a result, he tragically killed Rick Flagg in order to prevent him from revealing the truth about Starro the Conqueror to the public.
Peacemaker’s hubris, jingoism, hypocrisy, and murder of Flagg made him the most dislikable character in The Suicide Squad, and his borderline death at the hands of Bloodsport was a cathartic moment wrecked later by the discovery that he was still alive. While people adored Bloodsport and Ratcatcher 2, Peacemaker seemed a strange candidate to feature in a spinoff TV series at first. Peacemaker, set several months after The Suicide Squad in the DCEU timeline, redeems the mainly one-note character. Smith’s youthful immaturity, naïve gullibility, and terrible upbringing under a cruel father are all explored in the series, giving him a more complicated and sympathetic figure.
Smith’s childish behavior throughout Peacemaker makes him appear less like a villainous ignoramus and more like an adult who is still emotionally and intellectually a juvenile. Smith was reared by a father who was both violent and dangerous. Auggie Smith, a.k.a. the White Dragon, is known for hurling racial obscenities against Jews and East Asian-Americans, as well as tormenting his son with toxic and archaic masculine ideals. Peacemaker yearns for his father’s unattainable acceptance, the man who raised him to be the lethal vigilante he is now.
Peacemaker also demonstrates a naive faith in bizarre conspiracies, such as Aquaman’s attraction to fish. He also believes in archaic notions of masculinity, such as being ashamed of crying (which he tries to hide from fellow psychotic murderer Vigilante). Smith looks to be progressively developing a sense of self-awareness, criticizing his reflexive antisocial behavior in private as he discovers he pushes others away automatically. This will most likely give him a series-long character arc, allowing him to grow into something beyond a one-note violent hypocrite like he was in The Suicide Squad.
Peacemaker’s personality and past are explored in greater depth than in The Suicide Squad, making him a significantly more compelling and complex character. Despite his single-minded devotion to his purpose, Smith’s character growth is evident as early as the third episode, when he hesitates to assassinate a quartet of “butterflies.” Peacemaker makes The Suicide Squad an even greater film than it already is by effectively rebooting Christopher Smith (without breaking any DCEU continuity).