As a fellow DC fan, I have grown to become adjusted to the constant rise and fall of the DCEU. After the cinematic Batman masterpieces that Christopher Nolan presented us, it was so hard to see something just as incredible be brought back to life.
We had some pretty good wins with Man of Steel, Wonder Woman, and Aquaman recently, which were all films that reminded me why I loved the DC universe so much in the first place. With charming character development, great ensemble casting, and solid story telling.
But then, the DC Extended Universe had hit some major bumps in the road. Lest we forget Batman vs. Superman, Justice League, and probably the biggest disappointment of them all (at least for me), Suicide Squad.
I’ve been in a love-hate relationship with DC for the last few years, wanting so badly to receive another film like The Dark Knight, but none have ever measured up to my high expectations. I have succumbed to the fact that we may never have an extended universe as connected and brilliant as Marvel have done, and maybe that wasn’t a bad thing necessarily. After all, DC never really had done a cinematic universe before, and that’s what made Nolan’s films so great. Perhaps, we just needed to lower those expectations?
So, I went to Shazam! This weekend with those small expectations. As a more comedic type of DC film, I was expecting a solid comedy with interesting characters, and not much else. It certainly wasn’t as much as a cinematic experience as The Dark Knight was, but I was absolutely surprised by it.
A bit slow in the beginning, I felt that it was a lot longer than it needed to be. Shazam! Showed us a long, yet interesting backstory to the villain and origin. However, I felt like a lot of dragged on for too long.
It tells the story of a foster kid, Billy who is constantly running away from home in search for his birth mother, whom of which he got separated from when he was younger. Due to his “pure heart,” he was given the powers of the wizard, Shazam; in order to help prevent the Seven Deadly Sins from escaping from the Earth.
However ,even with Billy’s new powers, we of course learn that they do in fact escape regardless. And as Billy learns what it’s like to become a superhero, is when the fun really begins.
Instead of trying so hard to tie it into the extended universe, what makes Shazam! so unique is that it puts it directly in the center of it all. Instead of connecting Billy to Batman or Superman in some unusual way, it has Billy in a world where both are already heroes, and have been introduced to society as that.
With Superman and Batman memorabilia everywhere, constant referencing to the things that they have done together from previous films, and Billy’s best friend being a huge fan of them and helps Billy become a hero; the movie pays a perfect homage to not just superheros, but to superhero fans.
I can’t even deny, I myself even got a little excited during the ending in hopes to see Superman. Alas, it was just a tease, but for a split second my eyes widened with hope at the slightest chance of seeing Henry Cavil back on the screen, but no luck.
In addition to spoilers, and making a sixteen year old version of myself extremely excited during the big fight scene at the end. If you grew up being a big fan of The OC like I was, you would’ve had a smile as big as mine seeing Adam Brody appear on your screen as an older version of Freddy, and a superhero!
If you’re not a fan of The OC, shame on you and binge it on Hulu right now. But if you don’t know, Adam Brody’s character, Seth Cohen, was a huge comic book nerd; and even at one point said, “I’d never make a good superhero.”
I had a vision Seth sitting in the theatre somewhere in Newport freaking out after seeing it for the first time. It was definitely a highlight in the movie for me. Also, Adam was a perfect casting choice as an older version of Freddy, and I was so excited to see him back acting again.
Shazam! Was witty and fun, and reminded me for many reasons why I loved DC all these years. And with an after credit scene teasing a sequel (Mister Mind?!), I have high hopes for Shazam’s future.
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