Shazam! is the story of a 14-year old foster kid (Asher Angel) who, thanks to an ancient wizard, can turn into lightning-spitting superhero Shazam (Zachary Levi). It’s also set in the same DC universe that gave us Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad, so it was only natural to assume that there would be ample brooding, wanton destruction, and at least 17 different, pointless subplots. Trying to get ahead of this criticism, Warner Bros. and New Line have bent over backwards to try and cast the film as “fun” and “family-centric.” The candy-coated synopsis, too, talks about “the joyful recklessness of a child,” and cracks wise about hero Billy Batson using his new powers to “skip his social studies test.” Oh, wouldn’t that be a trip?
In a live video posted to Facebook yesterday, fans got their first look at the chemistry between stars Levi and Angel and, dear god, it’s exhausting watching two people try so hard to shoot rainbows from their eyeballs. “It’s a fun family movie and everyone’s gonna wanna watch it!” Angel practically screams at one point, the producers in his earpiece likely telling him to tone it down a notch. Levi, meanwhile, tries a more subtle approach, describing the film as “Superman meets Big,” but it isn’t long before Angel is again asserting that “it’s a family movie, people!”
We’ll find out exactly how much pure, childlike joy a single film can contain when Shazam! opens on April 5, 2019, by which point DC will probably have already shifted tone a few dozen more times.
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