“Shazam!“ — will the DCEU plummet after “Aquaman“?

Shazam! - Billy Batson and Freddy Freeman check out Shazam's new suit

Forthcoming film Shazam! may prove to be a setback for the DCEU.

Two Captain Marvel films in such a short space of time? Not quite, as DC Comics' Captain Marvel is also known as Shazam. To save the confusion, the upcoming DCEU exploration of the character will be called Shazam!; it makes things a little easier for all involved. The character has a rich history and was created by artist C .C. Beck and writer Bill Parker way back in 1939. He perfectly captures the wish fulfilment of a young demographic, as he's actually the superhero alter ego of the young Billy Batson. When he says “Shazam!“, the everyday kid becomes a fully grown man with powers of strength, flight, speed and more. 

David F. Sandberg's (Lights Out, Annabelle: Creation) journey into the superhero genre looks like a lot of fun. When exploring such a concept, there are many avenues and possibilities posed; what would a kid do with superpowers? Well, the trailers humorously answer this question the best they can and have left audiences wanting more. 

The trailers tease a narrative of a teenager transformed and honestly it looks like a really refreshing step for the DCEU to take. Often, the franchise has been criticised for its consistently gloomy approach to the superhero genre, but after Aquaman things truly are changing. It will be wonderful to see Shazam! harness humour so encompassingly, but sadly there may not be as many seeing it as anticipated. 

As reported by ScreenRant, Warner Bros.' Shazam! is sadly projected to secure the lowest box-office opening of any DC Extended Universe effort. Hopes are certainly low for the film's opening weekend, but until that weekend rolls around, it's surely way too early to condemn the project. Why have they projected this? Well, it's not difficult to pinpoint. The DCEU is in its sixth year and we've seen the likes of Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman and Aquaman secure the studio box-office. These are iconic characters and cornerstones of popular culture, eclipsing such superheroes as Shazam. As good as the film looks, it's not exactly billed as essential viewing in the way that the aforementioned characters' films are. 

 

Early screening of Shazam! have generated positive word-of-mouth and it's likely that critics will find at a rather charming, refreshing addition to the DCEU. Hopefully, the film quickly gains a good reputation and encourages more audiences to see it. He may be a lesser known superhero, but cast your minds back to 2016's Deadpool; the titular character wasn't exactly widely known beforehand, but then again, that marketing campaign was one of the best in recent years. 

The fate of Shazam! looks uncertain. Sure, it's unlikely that the film will dominate in its opening weekend, but after this, word-of-mouth could really help the films gradual financial success. The DCEU really needs a film like Shazam! to do well, so hopefully, it's as fun as it looks. Shazam! lands in cinemas April 5, 2019.

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