It’s official! According to director David F. Sandberg’s Instagram, Shazam! finally begins filming. The upcoming blockbuster by Warner Bros. stars Zachary Levi as the titular hero “Shazam” (aka Billy Batson). Mark Strong will star alongside him as the nefarious villain “Doctor Sivana”.
This marks a new era for the DCEU (or whatever they’re calling it these days). For better or worse, Shazam! will be the first film under Walter Himada’s guidance. I’m inclined to believe it’ll be for the better. Everyone involved expresses a unique vision, with Zachary Levi pitching it as “Big, but with superpowers”. Sandberg even goes so far as to say that it’ll have a lighthearted, humorous tone, but not in the quippy sense that the MCU gives us:
“I think it’s very funny, but the humor comes more from the situations rather than quippy one-liners (for people who read too much into things, that’s not intended as a dig at Marvel or anyone in particular. Quippy one-liners can be great). The important thing for me is to mix the funny with a threat that’s serious and to also have dramatic moments. All funny all the time takes the weight out of it.”
I’m skeptical for the upcoming horror-inspired Aquaman, however, Sandberg’s vision for Shazam! is a fully-realized breath of fresh air. It perfectly suits the film’s unconventional hero. Rather than an average testosterone-fueled adult, plucked from every ten-year-old’s fantasies, it’ll be a ten-year-old actually living out their fantasies.
Shazam! is rumored to have a guest appearance from the big blue boy scout himself, Superman! Say what you will about Cavill’s jelly upper-lip in Justice League, his performance in the film finally brought Superman’s characterization where it needs to be. I look forward to seeing where the DCEU will take Superman’s character next. Watching his dynamic with Billy Batson should be a treat.
Shazam! will be released on April 5th, 2019. Fingers crossed that this film will work to kick the DCEU off into the stratosphere.