We admit, we didn’t have high expectations for this one. First, because the character has resisted any real attempts at being interpreted for a non-comics-reading audience, leaving him as a relative unknown who’s also something of a pop culture punchline. Second, after the creative failure of the DCEU launch, which gave us an increasingly dour and grim universe as depicted in Man of Steel, Suicide Squad, Batman v. Superman and Justice League, we didn’t trust the studio’s sudden embrace of lighthearted, comedy-based superheroics. There was always going to be a huge risk of the script going way overboard on the wackiness, trying to oversell what sure looks like a massive course correction on DC’s part. And finally, we never really warmed up to Zachary Levi. Don’t @ us. It’s just a thing.
Anyway, we’re happy to announce that they got this one exactly right, at least if we’re going by the trailer:
Going the “What if the classic Tom Hanks movie Big also had a superhero aspect to it?” route is just about the best possible way to interpret this character at this time. Since Shazam (formerly Captain Marvel, but let’s not get into that part) was always seen as a Superman ripoff by his detractors, any attempt to bring him to the big screen was going to have to find a way to counter that comparison. As far as we can tell from the above footage, it blows it completely out of the water – especially when you consider that this film takes place in the same universe occupied by Henry Cavill’s po-faced Kryptonian.
Yes, the costume’s more than a little cheesy, but that would seem to be the entire point; first, because it takes a hard pass on any serious attempts to make this classic costume more cinematic in the modern sense, which tends to set it apart from most modern superhero movie costumes, and second, because the character represents a boy’s wish fulfillment, which means the costume he’s wearing should probably be just a little naive if not downright goofy. It just works, right down to the hilariously obvious padding – and a huge part of the reason why is due to Zachary Levi, who absolutely nails the attitude you’d need to swagger through a scene wearing a little white cape and tights. The whole thing looks exactly like what a Shazam movie should look like: big, goofy fun.
[Photo Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures – Video Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures via YouTube.com]