The next DCEU movie in production, apparently, is Shazam. With David F. Sandberg as the director and Henry Gayden as the writer of the screenplay, I honestly don’t know what we should expect. But I know that I’m not going to be expecting much though—because DC/New Line Cinema have not even cast anyone (that I know of) in any of the major roles like the Wizard, Shazam/Captain Marvel, or Billy Batson. I know who I want for each of the roles, but they aren’t likely.
In addition, DC Comics has constantly failed the character—except with recent gems like Convergence: Shazam! and Multiversity: Thunderworld (two of my recent favourites). The character is not even in Rebirth, which has been doing quite well in comparison to the New 52. Even so with the bleak aspects of the movie, these are 8 things we want to see in Shazam (Note: To be fair and not rip my hair out with explanations, I refer to the character as Shazam/Captain Marvel all the time.).
8. Called the World’s Mightiest Mortal
Please, please, I want this to be thrown around a lot in the movie. With Shazam/Captain Marvel’s name in contention all the time, the easiest thing to do would be refer to him in universe as the World’s Mightiest Mortal. It’s like the Man of Steel or the Dark Knight. There might be some issue with it though too because The Avengers are called Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, but Shazam/Captain Marvel had it first.
7. More Like Thunderworld
I hope that the screenplay writer will take more from the concept of Thunderworld of Grant Morrison’s creation rather than the New 52. The New 52 is not the favourite version of any Shazam/Captain Marvel fan—even if I can take a few good things from it, like the expansion of his family (I like that) and attempting to update the character (although in a poor way, it’s like DC thinks all teenagers are little a$$holes). Thunderworld evoked the classic feel of the character and his supporting cast and villains, but in a modern way.
6. Billy Batson/Shazam/Captain Marvel Divide
The fact that Billy Batson can say the magic word “Shazam” and turn into a super-powered grown adult to fight evil is awesome. However, it is actually kind of problematic. Before Crisis on Infinite Earths, Billy and Shazam/Captain Marvel were actually two distinct personalities, so Billy was more like an Avatar for the Champion of Magic or more aptly like Yugi and the Pharaoh in Yu-Gi-Oh! In the more modern instances, save Jeff Smith’s awesome Shazam and the Monster Society of Evil, Shazam/Captain Marvel and Billy are one in the same. I think that it would be necessary to have it better the latter of the same, Shazam/Captain Marvel and Billy being the same person, just different forms.
However, there are two things that need to be done to make none of it problematic. One and the most important, DO NOT give either form of the character a love interest, not even if it’s comedic in value. Yes, a lot of superheroes are attractive and fan service is a big must in superhero movies, but not for this character. Secondly, if Billy is going to be a teenager like 15/16—do not have him sound like a transplant from the 1940s and be all ‘holy moley’ (you can only get away with that when you are over than 25 and need replacement curse words so you’re nephews don’t start repeating them). Have him sound like regular 21st century teenagers.
5. Moral Compass of the Hero
One of the major things about Shazam/Captain Marvel that I always like was his strong moral compass (putting the Injustice deal aside). I know that it’s such a stretch these days and I can’t believe I have to explain this—being kind-hearted doesn’t mean that you are a naïve or childish who doesn’t understand the world. I know that darker and grittier and meaner are what people want but there are times for being dark and times for being hopeful.
Being kind isn’t a weakness. I was not too fond of the personality shift of the character of Billy Batson from a kindhearted kid who tried his best to do the right thing to a kid with a chip on his shoulder and a bad mouth and temper. If I wanted a black-haired boy with a chip on his shoulder, I would check out the nth number of Batman-related books. Like I understand what Geoff Johns was trying to do (and I don’t agree with it), having him being ‘mean’ as a shield, but guess what? Being a good person is a shield too—because if you’re a good person, people will be willing to help you more.
4. Tawky Tawny
As you can tell, I’m hoping for a more positive and hopeful take on the character and his story. I would like Tawky Tawny in it. For those of you who don’t know, Tawky Tawny is a magical tiger and sort of guide for Billy Batson. The best interpretation of Tawky Tawny was in the DC Showcase short Superman/Shazam: The Return of Black Adam. Please go with that version of the magical tiger.
3. Theme of Family
It didn’t start out this way back when he was first created, but Shazam/Captain Marvel stories became about family. The family that you build in your life, made up of blood relatives and friends who become like family kind of family, I mean. Now, I don’t want them to flood the movie with characters. What I would like to see is Billy on the streets of Fawcett City, having run away from the foster care/orphanage system. His belief in kindness and goodness wavering, but then the big Bad gets into play and suddenly he’s whisked away to meet the Wizard. I want to see him missing his parents and his missing sister. I want him to overcome his struggles and at the end of the movie, returning to the state orphanage and promptly getting placed in a new home.
The end of the movie should be Billy walking up to the Vasquez house and being greeted by the couple and the other kids.
2. Cameos and Allusions
No Superman cameo. No Black Adam cameo. It’s fine to allude to their exist. But either of them in the movie would take away from Shazam/Captain Marvel/Billy’s story. They also need to allude to Mr. Mind and the Monster Society of Evil. And if they need a member of the Justice League to cameo, please let it be Wonder Woman, in an after-credit scene. I think that Wonder Woman should be the cornerstone of the DCEU. Have Billy want to be mentored by Wonder Woman, have her be his number 1 hero and not Superman. Already, after all, the rest of the Justice League looks to her in battle and that’s just from the trailers.
1. Dr. Sivana as the Big Bad
Finally, Dr. Sivana has to be the Big Bad of the Shazam movie, because Shazam/Captain Marvel isn’t just about magic/fantasy, but science-fiction (Rock of Eternity outside of time/space, anyone?). Dr. Thaddeus Sivana was Billy’s first major rogue. Sivana is a genius on par with Lex Luthor, a mad scientist and a politician. He’s nefarious and cruel. And sometimes, he even knows the true identity of Shazam/Captain Marvel, so that could be major trouble.
There are arguments about who is Shazam/Captain Marvel’s greatest foe—Sivana or Black Adam?! I think that it’s a case of the same for Batman with Joker and Ra’s Al Ghul. Also it is the case with Superman with Luthor and Brainiac and Wonder Woman with Ares and Cheetah. Black Adam shows Shazam/Captain Marvel what he could become if the power corrupts him. Sivana is the one that keeps Shazam/Captain Marvel on his toes because of Sivana’s genius.
So there you have it, folks. This is my list of what I want to see in the Shazam movie. I may have gone over-board. None of it is going to happen, but we can dream, right?