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Superheroes Meets Big: Will Shazam! Prevail?

Shazam! will premiere on April 5, 2019.  Directed by David F. Sandberg and starring Asher Angel and Zachary Levi as the titular character, Shazam! centers on 14-year-old orphan Billy Batson and his ability to transform into a godlike adult superhero by saying the magic word “Shazam”.  After being transported to another realm via subway car, Billy gains the powers from an ancient wizard Shazam played by Djimon Hounsou. According to the trailer, the big bad of the film will be one of Shazam’s most nefarious enemies, Dr. Thaddeus Sivana (played by Mark Strong).

For those unfamiliar with Shazam’s origins, the character started out as Fawcett Comics’ Captain Marvel.  Created in 1939 by artist C.C. Beck and writer Bill Parker, Shazam/Captain Marvel was a hit.  He has been around just as long as other big heroes such as Wonder Woman, Batman, Captain America, and Superman.  However, this will be the first feature length live-action movie based on the comic book superhero.  But Shazam is no stranger to adaptions as there have been two previous television incarnations of the character. The first was a 1941 serial called Adventures of Captain Marvel and the second was the 1970s live-action television series called Shazam! (the Shazam/Isis Power Hour).  However, there’s still no telling what to expect with Shazam! since there is only one trailer out.

The trailer does not show much, which is actually good for once since DC has a habit of releasing trailers that explain the whole story before the movie is released.  With what little we see, there were some things I liked. For instance, I was excited to see Sivana was going to be the big bad and that there seems to be an underlying theme of family.  Additionally, Shazam seems to be Billy in a godlike heroic body which is a great approach to the character. If you would like to read more about what I personally wanted to see in Shazam!, you can read all about it here.

One of the best things going for Shazam! is the superb cast.  Mark Strong as Dr. Sivana will be quite interesting.  Young Asher Angel as kid Billy Batson seems to be quite decent even with only a handful of acting credits under his belt.  The only one that might take some getting used to is Zachary Levi as Shazam, but that just might be me. We really won’t know until the film is out but I’m hoping this cast pulls through.

The anticipation for Shazam! is lukewarm at best.  It’s really poor planning to put out the movie between two Marvel powerhouses–Captain Marvel and Avengers:  Endgame. Not to mention, it will also be competing against the Hellboy movie franchise. There’s also the fact that the casual movie-goer will not know this hero as much as the others. While Shazam is one of the most powerful heroes alongside Superman and Wonder Woman, he just isn’t that important in DC Comics. The one thing this film has going for it is its appeal to kids. After all, the marketing makes this film look more like a kid’s movie than a superhero one.

Since Aquaman surprised everyone with its decency on top of the fact DC and Warner Brothers seem to be taking the DCEU in a new direction, this movie might be tolerable.

 What are your thoughts? Do you plan on seeing Shazam!? With Captain Marvel and Avengers:  Endgame bookending Shazam!, will it succeed?  Or will it be a flop?  Let us know what you think in the comments or send us your thoughts on Facebook or Twitter!

About the author

Dara Berkey

Superhero nerd. History nerd. Favorite personal hero--Shazam/The Original Captain Marvel. Favorite female hero--Any of the Batgirls. Favorite male hero, other than Shazam--Any of the Robins.