Shazam Could Be A Commentary On The DCEU
The potential inclusion of Superman already opened up a significant amount of thematic possibilities for Shazam! in relation to the wider franchise, one that has courted quite a lot of controversy.
Indeed, while most are in agreement that Henry Cavill is an actor born to play the Kryptonian refugee, there has been wide range of heated discourse on the portrayal of DC Comics' most recognizable character in Man of Steel and Batman v Superman, then on the effectiveness of Justice League's pivot, in part thanks to the obvious reshoots, in particular Cavill's CGI-removed mustache. The problems all center on the perceived notion of heroism, and how heroic the central characters are viewed in the world at large: Dawn of Justice had Superman a controversial figure, then Justice League twisted him to be a beacon with little outward change.
That's been the biggest hurdle for the DCEU with audiences, and may be something Shazam! can actively explore. We've already discussed how Superman's presence could serve as a way to explore the Man of Steel from a new perspective, reframing his Justice League introduction, but if the film was to have that influence pair off and impact our new hero directly, we could end up with a dissection of what makes the franchise unique so far.
There's nothing more honest than a child's opinion. The film will be told through Batson's eyes, allowing us to view the reality where there are heroes with the power of gods battling in the sky, underground, and throughout the city streets from an unencumbered perspective. If Shazam is likewise the classical view of a hero - think Reeve's Superman - then there's an inherent contrast in the character to the wider franchise. In this way, the film could end up being a sort of commentary on the DCEU's thesis so far and highlighting of its relevance. Whether or not the costume changes happen doesn't influence this aspect - you can make the point either way - but it would be a visual representation of a middle ground conclusion.
By the time Shazam! releases, the DCEU will be six years old and have released as many movies. Comparisons will always put it behind Marvel in terms of growth, but it is a movement for sure and a moment of pure reflection could be just what it needs. Shazam is the perfect hero to do it; he is a lighter, more old school hero who can provide a perspective that no other DC hero quite does at this point in their evolution. Again, this doesn't hinge on a costume change, but if everything goes well, with Shazam! we could see the DCEU gain a real sense of self-awareness.
- Shazam! (2019) release date: Apr 05, 2019
- Aquaman (2018) release date: Dec 21, 2018
- Wonder Woman 1984 (2020) release date: Jun 05, 2020