Zachary Levi's 'Shazam!' Puts The Humor Back in The DCEU!
Written by D.J. Rivera
Most people, including myself, thought DC was taking crazy pills when they announced a Shazam! movie. And it is safe to say I may have jumped the gun on this one. In my defense, the trauma from Batman v. Superman, Suicide Squad, and Justice League was still weighing heavy on my existence. While I had lost all hope for Marvel’s biggest rival, Aquaman and Wonder Woman found some serious success playing by themselves and not really sharing a universe, thus rekindling the hope I once had. This strategy looks to be the norm going forward for DC cinematic endeavors. and from the looks of the latest Shazam! trailer. it seems they are not afraid to shake up the genre. Most DC films are notoriously known for being dark, gritty films that end up feeling like poor attempts at replicating a Chris Nolan movie. But Zachary Levi’s take on the DC hero Shazam! feels more like it is doubling down on the comedy factor resulting in a movie that looks like Tom Hank’s Big but the main character gets superpowers as well as an adult body.
Through this trailer, it becomes very apparent that Shazam! looks to tell a great story that brilliantly illustrates that everyone has a hero inside them. For Billy Batson, played by actor Asher Angel, he has it a bit easier than the rest of us because all he has to do is say the word “Shazam!” and he becomes a ripped, fully-matured superhero (played by Zachary Levi). And instead of the clichéd origin story that sees heroes losing a loved one and then traveling to the mountains to train with a mysterious figure, this DC character’s zero-to-hero tale looks like it will be full of side-splitting ups and downs on his way to becoming as experienced as Cyborg, Batman, or even Superman. Each of these heroes has apparently become very popular, as we see glimpses of merchandise being sold for the vigilantes. If Shazam! wants to get his own set of action figures and lunchboxes to throw at bad guys, he’ll have to learn what it truly means to be the hero after you say the word.
I think I speak for everyone when I say congratulations to Warner Bros. for healing from the wounds of the past and figuring out a formula that finally works. Their new approach that focuses solely on individual stories is exactly what these heroes needed to successfully transition from page to screen and resonate well with audiences. While I do not think that Shazam! will be a bigger success than Wonder Woman or Aquaman, I think Shazam! will do well enough to garner a sequel and is poised for a run similar to that of Marvel’s Ant-Man franchise -- Not a heavy-hitter but a solid player that is worth keeping in play. Not everything has to be Infinity War and these films can just be a fun time at the movies, which is apparent in everything we have seen so far. It does appear everyone, from the director David F. Sandberg to Zachary Levi himself, is having the time of their lives bringing this film to life. And that will definitely translate into the final product.
Shazam! touches down in theaters on April 5, 2019.
(Image via Warner Bros.)
- D.J. Rivera, YH Contributing Writer