History repeats itself. Shazam! is better than Superman. In the 40s, Shazam!, aka Fawcett Comics’ Captain Marvel bested DC’s Superman in sales leading DC to sue Fawcett for ripping off Superman. It was a longshot but DC succeeded.
So why does history repeat itself? The recent Shazam! trailer from the recently-announced and officially named Worlds of DC looks awesome and is quite funny. In this world of Donald Trump, ISIS, Russia, and China, we could sure use a departure from reality and get away from ‘grounded’ movies. With this new, brighter, fantastic and comedic outtake, Shazam! practically gives the middle finger to Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel.
They say that Man of Steel is more grounded and realistically depicts how a boy copes with being different until he becomes a superhero. But it’s all too angst-y and incredibly dark, especially in Batman v Superman. But Shazam! seems more realistic where as a kid that age, were I given superpowers, I’d be so psyched and enthusiastic and not be all morose. At that age, Clark would be more confident of himself even if he had to hide his special abilities, much like in the original Richard Donner film where he plays tricks with his Smallville classmates while pretending to be nerdy.
Zachary Levi looks great in his Shazam! costume which is totally ripped from the comics. The luminous lightning bolt though reminds me of those storm troopers in Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future. Not sure if it’s CG though as it looks like an LED strip which reminds me of Green Lantern which they really didn’t have to completely render in CG making Green Lantern the colossal bomb it became. So it’s not really such bad thing to take a costume right out of the comic book. Richard Donner’s Superman worked wonderfully so why darken the hopeful blue to a depressing hue? Shazam!’s costume looks a bit silly but proper execution and comedic tone should keep the primary colors out of the audience’s mind. Kind of how those primaries are hidden from comic book readers.
With Shazam!, it looks like it’s DC’s time to shine. Shazam! by the way doesn’t disregard the other Worlds of DC films. In the trailer, we see that Batman and Superman exist. But in effect, Shazam! might as well be a DCEU reboot along with Wonder Woman 84 and Aquaman in terms of lighter tone and brighter costumes.
As for Aquaman, whose trailer was also just released, the trailer is awesome. I’m not much of an Aquaman fan, but I’ve gotten to know the character through the animated films especially in Justice League: Throne of Atlantis to which this film borrows from. And honestly, both Aquaman and the Flash are the more interesting characters in the failed Justice League film than The Trinity of Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman themselves.
The colors in the trailer are still consistent with the first DCE—Worlds of DC films but a shade brighter, just like in Wonder Woman. Gradually departing from Snyder’s darker universe. Maybe if Snyder were to come back to work, he’d fit right in with a rebooted Monsterverse. Orm the Oceanmaster and Black Manta look amazing and the effects of Atlantis look just as great. The character of Aquaman’s lightheartedness and carefree attitude are refreshing and Amber Heard as Mera looks wonderful.
Just like with Marvel, it seems like the more obscure characters of DC are the ones that can save them. The world’s audience have been so saturated with Batman and Superman franchises that they just don’t care anymore. It’s probably why Arrow, The Flash and Supergirl have found success on the small screen. Superhero films are still the ticket with these upcoming films. Here’s to hoping they won’t disappoint.