Warner Bros. and DC's latest entry into the DCEU film franchise, Shazam!, has officially (and unsurprisingly) been rated PG-13 by the MPAA. It's no secret that the DCEU's journey hasn't exactly been a smooth one so far. Following the groundwork for Zack Snyder's vision of the DCEU being laid in 2013's Man of Steel - which did well financially, but drew criticism for its changes to Superman's characterization - 2016 saw the release of both Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad. To say that both of those films proved divisive among fans would be quite the understatement.
Thankfully, the DCEU rebounded in 2017 with Wonder Woman, Gal Gadot's first solo outing as the Amazonian princess. The good will didn't last very long though, as Justice League arrived in the fall to disappoint pretty much everyone, and almost immediately lead to calls of "release the Snyder cut!" in reference to Snyder's firing as the film's director and replacement by Joss Whedon. Now, it wouldn't be fair to say that all of the aforementioned DCEU films don't have their fans as well as critics, but DC's franchise struggles to maintain the consistency currently found within the MCU.
After taking a year off, the DCEU roared back to life with director James Wan's Aquaman, which chronicled Arthur Curry's (Jason Momoa) quest to claim the throne of Atlantis and stop his evil brother Orm from declaring war on the surface world. Aquaman has since been crowned as the highest-grossing DC film of all time, and obviously, fans of the DCEU are on cloud nine. DC hopes to continue this momentum with Shazam!, directed by David F. Sandberg and starring Zachary Levi as the titular hero. As per usual for DC films, Shazam! has now been rated PG-13 by the MPAA, due to the inclusion of "intense sequences of action, language, and suggestive material."
Shazam will now face a test that no other leading DCEU character has had to face before, in that this will be the first ever film appearance for the alter ego of kindhearted kid Billy Batson (Asher Angel). Superman and Batman of course both came into the DCEU with extensive cinematic pasts, and Wonder Woman got to play a supporting role in BVS before making her solo film debut. Aquaman got an introduction in Justice League before his solo movie as well. While it's true that Suicide Squad and Justice League marked the first proper film roles for characters like Deadshot, Harley Quinn, The Flash, and Cyborg, none of them had to carry the whole movie on their shoulders, unlike first time sole headliner Shazam.
After Aquaman's smash success, Shazam has a lot riding on him, and for the sake of DC fans, he'll hopefully live up to expectations. One thing in Shazam!'s favor as a film is that it sports an irreverent tone not found in any prior DCEU entry, even the more humorous than average Aquaman. The attractiveness of seeing something original should never be underestimated, especially in the current pop culture climate that's dominated by reboots, remakes, and sequels. That said, its reported Superman cameo won't hurt things either, if it happens.
- Shazam! (2019) release date: Apr 05, 2019
- Joker (2019) release date: Oct 04, 2019
- Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) (2020) release date: Feb 07, 2020
- Wonder Woman 1984 (2020) release date: Jun 05, 2020
- DC Super Pets (2022) release date: May 20, 2022
- The Batman (2021) release date: Jun 25, 2021
- The Suicide Squad (2021) release date: Aug 06, 2021