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How Shazam Can Change Audiences' Opinions on Man of Steel

Youth is king in Shazam!, and the bright, electric superhero fantasy could finally change people's negative opinions of the DC films directed by Zack Snyder, starting with Man of Steel. In Shazam!, fans will see the Worlds of DC through the lens of teenagers for the first time, as young Billy Batson (Asher Angel) gains the power to say the magic word and transform into the World's Mightiest Mortal (Zachary Levi). This is a critical perspective because it will spark a new side of the political and social debate about the value of superheroes that began in Batman v Superman.

Shazam! takes place in the post-Justice League world, and things have changed significantly after Batman (Ben Affleck), Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot), Aquaman (Jason Momoa), Cyborg (Ray Fisher), and The Flash (Ezra Miller) resurrected Superman (Henry Cavill) and saved the world from Steppenwolf. Justice League ushered in a brighter, more optimistic time than what was presented by Zack Snyder, and Shazam! will carry on that lighter touch. But with the Justice League now welcomed by the world as their shining heroes, has the debate about the dangers of superheroes and their place in the world ended?

Related: The DCEU Is Finally Generating Good Post-Justice League Buzz

Shazam! is poised to deliver some answers on how the people of the world see their superheroes. The young characters the film centers around grew up in this reality, witnessed both the destruction caused and the heroism displayed by the colorful defenders of justice, and they still admire their superheroes. Here's how the way Billy and his friends view Superman, Batman, and the Justice League could help reframe how fans in the real world see them - as well as put the controversial prior films in a new perspective.

The DCEU's In-Universe Debates About Superman Matches Real-Life Criticisms

The real-life detractors of Man of Steel and Batman v Superman cite how dark and violent those films are. Zack Snyder's singular stylistic vision didn't sit right with many fans who bemoaned a Superman who says little, hovers menacingly in the sky and killed Zod (Michael Shannon) by snapping his neck. Batman was even more violent, going to extremes by branding his enemies with his bat symbol and spending a fortune plotting to stab Superman to death with a Kryptonite spear. Compared to the mega-popular Marvel Cinematic Universe, Snyder's DC was a foreboding world where superheroes didn't offer any "fun" at all.

Snyder actually addressed this controversy and wove it into the text of Batman v Superman while pushing his vision even further. After the Kryptonian invasion that destroyed Metropolis and other parts of the world in 2013, Superman's presence and the potential danger he poses to the world had been a topic of endless debate. The media and lawmakers roundly criticized the Man of Steel and fear of Superman is what prompted Batman to declare him his enemy, with Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg) secretly pulling the strings from the shadows. All of this mirrored real-life fans debating about the classical ideal of Superman versus the more "modern" version Snyder believed in - though many fans have certainly embraced Snyder's vision as well.

Regardless, Batman v Superman sparked a backlash that stunned Warner Bros. and the studio attempted a sudden course-correction: they cut Snyder's original plan for a two-part Justice League saga into one movie before firing the director altogether and replacing him with Joss Whedon, who oversaw extensive reshoots to lighten up the team-up film. The goal with Justice League became to shift the overall tone of the DCU into a brighter, more optimistic universe, something that - underwhelming box office and critical response aside - it kind of succeeded at. This is now something the more humorous tone of Shazam! will carry forward and revel in as it's essentially a child's wish-fulfillment power fantasy. While this does alienate the fans who loved Snyder's vision and want to see it continue (or at least completed by a Snyder Cut of Justice League), the ongoing debate could become one Shazam! directly addresses.

Related: Justice League's Snyder Cut Is Important Even If You Don't Like Zack Snyder

Because the film is seen through the eyes of kids who grew up in the gritty Zack Snyder-led universe, Shazam! is set to look at the Justice League and the controversies Batman and Superman caused from the inside, while still carrying the flag for supporting the superheroes, despite the mistakes they've made.

Page 2: Shazam! Could Make Fan's Defenses Of The DCEU Canon

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Key Release Dates
  • Aquaman (2018) release date: Dec 21, 2018
  • Shazam! (2019) release date: Apr 05, 2019
  • Wonder Woman 1984 (2020) release date: Jun 05, 2020
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