To celebrate the release of DC adventure Shazam!, Screen Rant’s Ryan George reveals what (probably) happened in the pitch meeting for a movie so fun that even its title has an exclamation mark. Directed by David F. Sandberg, Shazam is the latest entry in the DC Extended Universe, which is currently undergoing a bit of a remodel in order to shake off the grit and make things a little more light-hearted.
For Aquaman, that meant hiring Pitbull to record a remix of Toto’s “Africa,” but for Shazam it means casting adult child Zachary Levi in the title role. The movie follows rebellious foster kid Billy Batson (Asher Angel) as he moves into the last foster home in Philadelphia that he hasn’t already fun away from or been kicked out of. After saving his new foster brother Freddy (Jack Dylan Grazer) from bullies (who like to run down disabled kids in their car, steal their crutches, and then kick them while they’re down – you know, the normal bully stuff) Billy gets rewarded with a set of superpowers to rival even Superman’s.
Unfortunately, Billy was sort of a last resort when it came to handing out these powers, and he isn’t immediately inclined to use them for the greater good. Instead, his first instinct is to try and figure out how he can use his newfound abilities to steal money and buy beer. Billy’s career as the world’s first busking superhero is cut short by the arrival of bad guy Sivana (played by perennial bad guy Mark Strong), who has already obtained the power of the Seven Deadly Sins and would now like to add Shazam’s powers to his set as well.
He might be a newcomer to the DCEU, and one that most people had never heard of before, but Shazam has a long history in the comics and once upon a time (back when he was still called Captain Marvel, before that name got complicated), he was so wildly popular that his comics were outselling even Superman’s. The rivalry was reignited when Shazam and Superman met for the very first time in DC Comics… an immediately got into a big fight. That’s why you shouldn’t do Red Kryptonite, kids.
Though Shazam may not be one of the DCEU’s biggest heavy-hitters at the box office, the movie’s modest $100 million budget means that it’s already broken even after just a couple of weeks in theaters. In fact, the wheels are already turning on Shazam 2, with screenwriter Henry Gayden returning to work on the sequel’s script. Hopefully the sequel will help explain to casual moviegoers why that evil worm with a robot voice showed up at the end.
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