Warner Bros. has finally included Shazam as a prominent inclusion to their full DC superhero movie slate1 and here’s why, this is a character who once surpassed Superman in popularity, and the basic wish-fulfilment elements that make up his origin are timeless.
To many Shazam fans this is a moment to rejoice as Shazam hit cinemas this Wednesday 3rd April 2019! After almost 79 years it’s finally back on the silver screen, Shazam’s story hasn’t been told on the big screen since 1940.
That’s right, a character who has been around almost as long as Superman and Batman, and who beat both of them to the screen with Republic Pictures’ The Adventures of Captain Marvel (which is not only a standout among movie serials but is actually one of the finest superhero movies ever made, but that’s an argument for another article), hasn’t been seen in theatres in almost 75 years. He hasn’t even been seen on TV (in live-action, at least) in over thirty.
So why should you care about an old-fashioned twinkle fingers superhero fighting what is essentially an evil version of himself? Read on…
Billy Batson is a boy (between the ages of 10-15, depending on which era of the character’s history we’re looking at) who says one magic word that transforms him into the World’s Mightiest Mortal, wielding the power of six mythological figures: The wisdom of Solomon, the strength of Hercules, the stamina of Atlas, the power of Zeus, the courage of Achilles, and the speed of Mercury. What does that spell? This is a character with a publication history as rich as Batman or Superman It’s this idea of perfect wish-fulfillment that rocketed Shazam to comic book superstardom. Powered by creator C.C. Beck, Shazam adventures rarely dealt with mundane criminal acts, but rather the Captain (and his ever-expanding family of Marvels, not to mention a talking tiger named Tawky.
Why Should You Care?
There is a reason that, despite rumours of a “no jokes” policy regarding DC Comics superhero movies at Warner Bros, something which sounds kind of unenforceable to me, the idea of doing a “serious” Shazam movie just doesn’t line up. Luckily, New Line’s Toby Emmerich sees it the same way, promising that the film will have “a sense of fun,” and that “Shazam will have a tone unto itself…the feeling of the movie will be different from the other range of comic book movies.”
What Else do You Need to Know?
Fun Fact: don’t expect Shazam to show up in the Justice League movie. And there are a few reasons as to why including the tight shooting schedule of both Batman v. Superman and Justice League, which will release within 18 months of each other. Another being it’s difficult to imagine this movie playing too heavily in that sandbox. That doesn’t mean they won’t take place in the same universe, but it’s unlikely we’ll see crossovers any time soon. After 15 years of trying to bring Shazam to life, its finally here it looks like it’s time to say the magic word, catch Shazam out in cinemas on April 3rd 2019.