Back in 2008, Marvel wasn’t really sure of Iron Man’s success before the release of the film. The comic book movie by Jon Favreau went on to become a huge hit and this set the tone for the expansion of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The Studio hasn’t looked back since and no matter how dark their storyline gets, all movies have a subtle comic tone to them. This has enabled MCU to build a strong fan base and become the highest grossing company in the world.
Meanwhile, Warner Bros. hasn’t had the same luck with their DC extended universe. It all began in 2013 with Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel which received mixed reviews from both fans and critics. Expectations were high from Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice but we all know how miserably it failed in the box office. Suicide Squad ignited hope in fans once again but it was subjected to negative reviews as well. These movies did generate money worldwide but failed to impress the critics.
Wonder Woman by director Patty Jenkins did include some dark elements (like poisoning an entire village by gas) and the movie also had a touch of comedy to it. The film was appreciated by fans and critics and as many fans pointed out, it felt more like a Marvel movie. Then came Justice League, the movie we all had been waiting for.
The movie resulted in a box-office disaster, becoming the least successful movie in DCEU. The movie looked underperformed and was an absolute disappointment for fans who had waited for years to see their favourite heroes together on big screen.
During the recent Comic Con at San Diego, Warner Bros. revealed their new slogan “Worlds of DC”. This slogan seems appropriate, keeping movies like The Joker (Joaquin Phoenix) in mind, which will be standalone projects with no connection to the main DC Cinematic continuity. This means that the universe has been re-branded and the road is clear for more heroes to embrace the screen. Yes, we’re talking about Shazam! here.
You may love or hate Zack Snyder but the director should be credited for giving a solid foundation to a shared universe. The classical heroes were seen to be re-constructed in Batman v Superman but this was done to achieve the goal to get them all to the point that fans know and love today. These heroes took time to become the characters everyone recognise from the comics but this was Snyder’s initial plan. These heroes have reached that point now where people know and that shouldn’t be ignored. These heroes might be re-casted in future for the better but their past shouldn’t be thrown away.
Shazam! comes with an orphan kid named Freddy Freeman, who adores all these heroes as we see him wearing a variety of shirts featuring these superheroes and his room is always packed with news articles and books about heroes. He even has his own memorabilia of Battang and a bullet that either bounced off Superman or Wonder Woman. In Freddy’s world, Superman has saved the world thrice, Batman has been a vigilante striking fear in the hearts of the criminals in Gotham for about two decades and Wonder Woman is a mysterious figure who fights the bad guys and deflects bullets with ease.
Even Aquaman is famous in this reality as we spot a few teenagers wearing his t-shirt. Now take a moment to imagine how cool it would be for Freddy to imagine about these larger than life characters around him: his world has heroes and it’s expanding. Rebooting the entire universe will remove that foundation entirely. Shazam has the actual potential to give Superman a better comeback stage than Justice League; a BvS follow-up that the Man Of Steel actually deserves.
Even if the character cannot make an actual cameo in the film, Superman has been seen as an inspirational figure in Shazam, and his actions have been supported by Freddy. Superman’s return in Justice League should have been more epic and emotional but what we received from DC was an absolute disaster. One of the best scenes of Superman were deleted from the movie where Superman met Alfred after stepping back into his suit.
The trailer of Shazam! itself offers glimpses of the admiration Freddy has for Superman which gives Superman the true emergence that he deserves. This might also just act as a catalyst to excite fans for Man of Steel 2.
What do you think about the new Shazam trailer? Is Shazam the reboot DCEU needs or is it the reboot that DCEU deserves? Let us know in the comments below!