Movies & TV / Columns

Will DC’s Shazam Solidify Their Cinematic Universe?

March 26, 2019 | Posted by Steve Gustafson
Shazam Zachary Levi

If you haven’t been paying attention, DC’s cinematic universe is on a bit of a roll. 2017’s Wonder Woman received largely positive reviews and set numerous box office records. It grossed over $821 million worldwide and its sequel, Wonder Woman 1984, is one of the most highly anticipated movies for 2020.

2018’s Aquaman also gained favor with audiences and critics, along with grossing over $1.1 billion worldwide, becoming the highest-grossing DCEU movie as well as the highest-grossing film based on a DC Comics character, surpassing The Dark Knight Rises. It has a sequel being planned and a spin-off, The Trench, is in development.

Which brings us to Shazam, a project that’s been around since the early 2000s. All eyes are on its release and if it can keep the momentum up for DC?

If early reviews are to be believed, Shazam will be another victory and build on their previous triumphs. Those who have seen it have said the movie strikes the perfect balance between fun and serious, giving the DC movies something it has been sorely missing: joy.

Say what you want but Zack Snyder’s impact on the early stages weren’t connecting with audiences and left reviewers and audience-goers feeling disconnected from the movies. No one is saying everything has to be bright and cheery but Snyder’s dark moods left many feeling numb to the universe they were trying to build.

While Marvel was pushing forward with its well-planned connected universe, DC was stumbling out the gate, using a scattered plan to pull in audiences, with mixed results. While they achieved box office numbers, reviews were split, often time on the negative side of things.

It took Wonder Woman to turn things around and lay the groundwork of bringing things around. Now Shazam looks to cement things and that should be celebrated.

When you look at the subject material, you shouldn’t be surprised. Billy Batson (played by Asher Angel) is a 14-year-old runaway teen who gains superpowers when he shouts “Shazam!” That simple word grants him the wisdom of Solomon, the strength of Hercules, the stamina of Atlas, the power of Zeus, the courage of Achilles, the speed of Mercury, and it’s contained in the body of someone 15 years older and at its physical peak (played by Zachary Levi).

It’s a familiar, yet cool, concept that should connect with audience instantly. So far the movies Fandango preview screening has brought in $3.3 million, which has beat a number of other high profile movies.

DC has quietly put together a winning formula and that’s good to see. With some of the most recognizable and entertaining superheroes on its roster, audiences deserve a worthy big screen translation.

What are your expectations for Shazam?

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Shazam, Steve Gustafson