Shazam! star Zachary Levi helped James Corden live out his superhero dream by turning him into a bad Shazam in a hilarious Late Late Show video. First appearing in Whiz Comics #2 under the name Captain Marvel, the superhero Shazam has lasted through multiple comic book, movie and TV iterations over the decades, and is now joining the DC movie universe with his own comedic superhero movie.
Directed by David F. Sandberg, Shazam! stars Asher Angel as Billy Batson, a tough-talking foster kid who's transformed by a wizard into an adult with super powers (played by Zachary Levi). Because Shazam is a teenage kid in an adult's body (with super powers to boot), things take a decidedly humorous turn in this particular DCEU entry. Critics have thus far been kind to Shazam!, which currently carries a 92 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes. For once critics and regular fans seem to agree on a movie, as Shazam! also carries a 90 percent audience rating on RT.
With Shazam! set to hit theaters this weekend, hoping to drum up some good numbers in the few weeks before Avengers: Endgame arrives to stomp all the competition, star Levi hit up The Late Late Show with James Corden for some comedic hijinks. In a fun little bit starring Levi and Corden, the Shazam! star helps the late night host realize his dream of becoming a superhero by turning him into Shazam. Naturally, things do not go quite as Corden expected. See the clip below:
As the video teaches us, just having a superhero costume doesn't automatically make you a superhero. Corden may look the part of Shazam but finds out he can't even tear a thin paper script in half. As for super-speed, Corden can't run any faster than he could before he allegedly became Shazam. Adding to the hilarity, when Corden tries calling on his powers by saying the magic word "Shazam!," it only causes him to grow a long, comical beard. In a twist ending, the beard proves amazingly useful in helping Corden achieve true superhero cred by apprehending a criminal.
Levi's natural comic gifts come in handy in the clip with Corden, as they do in Shazam! itself, which has been described as the Superbad of superhero movies. Of course, Shazam! continues the trend of the DCEU moving away from the darkness and grittiness of the Zack Snyder movies and toward a tone that's much lighter and much less serious. As last year's Aquaman proved, with its $1.1 billion box office haul, there's absolutely a market for DC movies that dial back the seriousness and pile on the humor. Aquaman of course also brought spectacle, an element that looks to be in short supply in the relatively modest Shazam!.
It remains to be seen if audiences will further embrace the sillier side of DC with Shazam!, but if they don't like it, there's always the apparently horrifically dark Joaquin Phoenix Joker to bring them back to the darkness.