Shazam! star Mark Strong ensures fans that the film will be both funny and tonally the opposite of the rest of the DCEU. With the startling success of Wonder Woman, Warner Bros. had quite a counterexample of how well a bright and hopeful film could fare at the box office. That at least in part led to a restructuring of Justice League, though the last minute rework didn't do the film many favors in the eyes of fans and critics. When it comes to Shazam!, however, the lighter tone will be baked in from the start.
Given the wish fulfillment nature of Shazam! and the cadre of young characters involved, it was always going to be a different film from something like Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. But director David F. Sandberg has assured fans it will be both fun and funny in its delivery—a little surprising considering his background in horror films. There will be stakes, of course, as Mark Strong will play the villainous Sivana. But the film as a whole will likely hew closer to Thor: Ragnarok in its delivery.
Total Film (via Games Radar) spoke with Strong about his new DC role. For the actor, no stranger to playing villains, he confirmed that the film will be both funny and distinct from the rest of the DCEU.
"Zachary Levi, who plays the lead [Shazam, the superhero alter ego of Billy Batson], is a very funny guy, and I’ve no doubt he will play with that part and make it interesting. I think DC have realized that they’ve got their canon of films that are dark, and they’ve now found one that’s pretty funny! There are some really funny moments in it."
If Shazam! does well for DC, it could see a new era of more lighthearted, family-friendly films get produced. It could also ensure Strong has the chance to be part of an ongoing superhero franchise. After the poor reception of Green Lantern, he never got the opportunity to play the villainous side of Sinestro. But with Doctor Sivana, he has another shot.
"Sinestro was meant to go evil in the second one. The final frame of the first film is him trying on the yellow ring and his whole costume going yellow, and that was when he went evil. So I was really looking forward to that. The film didn’t do as well as they expected… so it never got made. So I was definitely conscious that Sivana is almost like the next stage that I wasn’t able to take."
As we await our first look at Strong as Sivana and Zachary Levi as the title character, the synopsis for Shazam! again highlighted the film's tone and comedic nature. DC has yet to really aim a film at all ages, though Wonder Woman certainly came close. Still, its focus on war may have kept some youngsters away. Shazam!, meanwhile, is practically designed to pull in kids as well as adults. In the end, it could prove a successful formula for DC and guarantee a long future for the Shazam! franchise.
Source: Total Film (via Games Radar)
- Wonder Woman 1984 (2020) release date: Jun 05, 2020
- Aquaman (2018) release date: Dec 21, 2018
- Shazam! (2019) release date: Apr 05, 2019