Fans enjoy Peacemaker opening credits and meta-commentary

Aside from the intriguing story, the best part of the James Gunn-directed Peacemaker on HBO Max is its opening credits.

With the first four episodes already aired, it seems the best part of the Peacemaker series on HBO Max is its wacky opening credits and the meta-details in the plot.

Critics and fans are lauding the over-the-top intro and meta-details in Peacemaker. (Images: DC Entertainment/HBO Max)

The irreverent superhero series starring John Cena in the title role has been a surprising early hit this 2022. In fact, it is the highest reviewed DCEU property as of this date on Rotten Tomatoes (with a 94% Certified Fresh critic rating and 84% audience score).

Has James Gunn finally cracked the code for what the DCEU should be, moving forward? Check out the details below.

Fans do not skip the intro to Peacemaker

A lot can be said of the effect the opening sequence of a television show can have on the audience. Good intro sequences can immediately grab a viewer’s interest, but a great intro sequence can keep the audience glued on its own even before the show begins. Examples of the latter include The Simpsons (which always has something different in every episode) or The Six Million Dollar Man (which serves as a brief summary of who the main character is and how he became bionic).

Peacemaker is getting the highest DCEU reviews to date, partly due to the entertaining intro sequence.

Based on the hugely positive response from both fans and critics, the Peacemaker intro falls into the latter category. It is a surprisingly lighthearted introduction, especially when one considers the violence and adult themes in the show itself. Even in The Suicide Squad (2021), Cena’s Peacemaker was presented as an extreme patriot.

His murder of Rick Flag (Joel Kinnaman) during the penultimate climax of the film elicited negative backlash from the fandom, painted him as a villain. The response was such that there were doubts that James Gunn’s Peacemaker series would be well-received. How could Cena’s Christopher Smith aka Peacemaker be redeemed after such a heinous act?

As one fan comments on the YouTube behind-the-scenes video and describes the Peacemaker musical opening credits:

Truly one of the funniest and best opening scenes , the dances are so so amazing 😂😂😂😂😂🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣 the one intro I can’t even skip on HBOMax.

The intro itself is well choreographed with a catchy tune which is the opening riffs to Do Ya Wanna Taste It (courtesy of glam metal band Wig Wam), It presents all the major characters, from Peacemaker himself, to Waller’s daughter Leota Adebayo (Danielle Brooks), to Vigilante (Freddie Stroma), and even Peacemaker’s best buddy Eagly.

The overwhelmingly positive response to the Peacemaker intro had fans buzzing after the first 3 episodes were aired on the same day. And director James Gunn graciously shared on his social media how the production number-style intro was conceived and executed.

Meta commentary and details

One other aspect about HBO Max’s Peacemaker show that keep fans tuning in are the meta details being dropped abotut he larger superhero universe.

While it is still unclear just where Peacemaker’s continuity falls in the larger DCEU, it seems to at least be based on the current established reality. That is from the Zack Snyder-directed Man of Steel to 2021’s The Suicide Squad. This is important, as despite the nearly 10 years of the DCEU’s existence, the universe is still largely unexplored, particularly with how the rest of the superhero community exists and how they are viewed by ordinary people.

However, Peacemaker drops snippets of details that give fans a better picture. For instance, there are references to Bat-Mite and Matter-Eater-Lad. Bat-Mite is the 5th dimensional imp that has an unhealthy obsession with Batman. Meanwhile, Matter-Eater-Lad is a member of the Legion of Super-heroes. Both have been confirmed to exist in this reality.

The meta-commentary about Batman's "no-killing" rule was nearly censored by DC executives.

But perhaps the most meta detail is Christopher Smith’s heated conversation with his father’s old and nosy neighbor (Mel Tuck). As the old man berates how Peacemaker is not a superhero but a supervillain because he lacks a rogues gallery, he points out how Batman has one. Smith’s response is an emotional rant about how he kills his villains and how questionable Batman’s no-killing policy is:

He's a jackass! Who wrestles with murders dressed like clowns and throws them in prison! So they can break out of prison and then murder more people. Riddle me this: How many people you think Batman's indirectly murdered by being too much of a candy-ass not to kill these fools who clearly need to be smoked once and for all.

This echoes a long-debated aspect in comic book fandom about how Batman’s sacred rule may actually be doing more harm than good. Fans enjoyed this meta-commentary immensely, but it also ruffled some feathers in DC. In an interview with TVLine, DC almost censored part of the Batman meta-commentary:

I was very surprised, because they were not too fond of Peacemaker calling Batman a p—y. I’m like, ‘But he talks about all these other terrible things about all these other superheroes that are much worse than calling Batman a p—y.

Regardless of the potential friction with DC management, Gunn was content that they allowed him to push the material the way he did:

They let me get away with what I got away with at the end of the day.

Revelations in Episode 4

The first 3 episodes were stellar, and surprisingly in-depth, establishing for the viewers Christopher Smith/Peacemaker’s background and what his new mission under Task Force X is. The reveals about Adebayo’s parentage was particularly noteworthy, but the 4th episode dropped huge revelations that can shake up the status quo this early.

For one, in this version, Christopher Smith is the son of the White Dragon. In the original comics, Peacemaker’s father was Wolfgang Schmidt, a member of the Nazi Party who managed to escape persecution after World War II. Meanwhile, the White Dragon was a title that has been used by minor supervillains, often associated with white supremacists.

The show appears to have amalgamated these two DC Comics characters as August Ransom Smith, portrayed by Robert Patrick. The character retains the bigoted and overly opinionated traits, amped up to extreme levels. The fourth episode also reveals the White Dragon armor, which will likely play a key part in the later episodes.

Another important revelation in the fourth episode is Task Force X field leader Clemson Murn (Chukwudi Iwuji) is actually one of the butterflies. Murn has been portrayed as an obedient and loyal mercenary under Amanda Waller (Viola Davis), dedicated to accomplishing the mission goals to eliminate Project: Butterfly. Given that the show has established these extraterrestrial winged parasites are the main threats, Murn actually being one of these aliens will have major repercussions once Peacemaker and the rest find out. It also poses the question: is Murn the only butterfly on the team or could there be others on Peacemaker’s team?

Can James Gunn and the rest of the Peacemaker crew keep up the entertainment factor? It’s a tall order, considering how the DCEU has jaded some fans with highs and lows. But if they can pull it off, it might just be the kick in the butt DC Entertainment and Warner Bros. has sorely needed to set the direction of their superhero franchises to effectively match their Marvel Studios rivals.

Episodes of Peacemaker are available for streaming on the HBO Max service.

Geoff Borgonia
Geoffrey "Borgy" Borgonia is a veteran writer, artist, journalist, gamer, and entrepreneur based in the Philippines. When not contributing to some of the top pop culture sites on the planet, he spends the rest of his time running his business, practicing martial arts, working on and developing books, comics, and games. In his man-cave, his only luxury is sleep. Borgy on Linkedin.
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