Shazam! has been confirmed for a two-hour runtime by producer Peter Safran. The DCEU franchise has experienced mixed fortunes compared to its Marvel rival, but it's accurate to say that the shared universe has enjoyed more success with its solo movies than with its team-up efforts. After Wonder Woman proved to be a critical and commercial hit, 2018's Aquaman followed a similar pattern, cleaning up at the box office and attracting favorable reviews from both fans and critics.
The next venture on the slate is Shazam!, starring Asher Angel as young Billy Batson and Zachary Levi as Shazam, the superhero Batson transforms into whenever he says a certain word. No prizes for guessing which. Mark Strong (Kick Ass, Kingsman) also stars as the villainous Thaddeus Sivana, an inventor trying to gain magic powers of his own. A trailer for Shazam! was released to a positive reception last year and highlighted the film's comedy leanings, a first for the relatively dark DCEU franchise.
Screen Rant recently attended a roundtable Q&A session with Shazam! director David F. Sandberg and producer Peter Safran. During the talk, Safran revealed that the movie would be approximately two hours in length.
This would make Shazam! one of the brisker DCEU entries thus far, in the same ballpark as Justice League and Suicide Squad. This limited runtime perhaps suits the relative newness of the character as far as mainstream moviegoers are concerned and also plays nicely into the film's comedic tone. Realistically speaking, nobody expected a three-hour epic.
If Shazam! can continue the momentum created with the release of Aquaman, then the DCEU's prospects will look an awful lot brighter than they did this time last year and with Wonder Woman 1984 also on the horizon, the franchise could soon see a dramatic turnaround in fortunes. Shazam! also represents a fairly low-risk project for a superhero movie. Since most cinema-goers won't have read the comic books or seen any other interpretations of the character, Levi's Shazam will likely be taken at face value by most audiences, with few preconceptions about what the hero should or shouldn't be to cloud opinion.
With that said, Shazam! is quite a departure from DC's past movie output. While Marvel have dabbled in both magic-based superhero fare and comedy, the DCEU is entering fresh, light-hearted territory. Given the backlash the franchise received for its overserious tone (see Deadpool 2), Shazam!'s approach is likely to garner a positive reception, but only if the movie offers something different from the standard origin story formula.
- 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 (2021) release date: May 21, 2021
- The Batman (2021) release date: Jun 25, 2021
- The Suicide Squad (2021) release date: Aug 06, 2021