The first trailer for the 2019 DC movie Shazam! was released at San Diego Comic.co and it looks like a breath of fresh air compared to the darker tones of the other movies in the DC Comics,
It is intended to be the seventh installment in the DC Extended Universe (DCEU). The film is directed by David F. Sandberg from a screenplay by Henry Gayden, and a story by Gayden and Darren Lemke. The film stars Asher Angel as Billy Batson, a teenage boy who can transform via the magic word “Shazam” into an adult superhero, played by Zachary Levi. Shazam! also features Mark Strong, Jack Dylan Grazer, Grace Fulton, Ian Chen, Jovan Armand, Faithe Herman, and Djimon Hounsou as supporting characters. It will be the first film version of the character since the 1941 serial Adventures of Captain Marvel (the character’s original name) and will be the first full-length feature film centered around the character.
It took five years since the announcement of Batman v Superman, but Warner Bros./Time Warner Inc.’s DC Films franchise finally “won” the San Diego Comic-Con. To be fair, the WB presentation (which included trailers and footage from six major upcoming releases, only three of which were DC) would have been impressive and buzzy by any standard even if Marvel and Disney hadn’t sat out this year. And the rock-solid trailers for Godzilla: King of the Monsters (probably the best “released online” trailer of the weekend) and Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (I continue to be shocked at how much I’m enjoying the Fantastic Beasts 2 trailers considering I didn’t like the first movie) further the important notion that WB is more than just their DC Comics movies.
The first (more obvious) reason why the Shazam trailer was the weekend’s big winner is that it made the Shazam movie look pretty darn good. James Wan is a trusted big-scale director, and we all somewhat knew what to expect from Fantastic Beasts 2 and Godzilla 2. But Shazam, from the horror filmmaker who gave us Lights Out and Annabelle: Creation, was much more of a question mark. That’s not to say Sandberg is a lightweight , but it was an exceptionally light/breezy superhero movie courtesy of an established horror director. But Shazam, at least in what we’ve seen, nails the tone and looks like good fun no matter your investment in the DC Films brand.
Since Shazam isn’t a household favorite, the movie will have to live or die on its own specific value. It’s not like this is a Wonder Woman movie or Aquaman movie, where general audiences have an awareness and interest in a given pop culture icon. Since DC Films isn’t exactly a trusted brand at the moment (“from the studio that brought you Suicide Squad and Justice League!”), the film will have to sell itself on its own merits right between Marvel’s more zeitgeist-y Captain Marvel and Avengers 4. But, like the Super Bowl trailer for Walt Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, this strong sell makes the case both for the movie as a stand-alone entity and an extension of a franchise.
That brings us to the other big reason why the Shazam trailer made an impact. The message is clear: This kind of movie, with a kid-friendly and gee-whiz tone, can coexist with the likes of Suicide Squad and Dawn of Justice. That is an essential sell as we move past the Zack Snyder era of DC Films. Whether you like those movies or not, the first five DC Films flicks were essentially one Superman-and-friends trilogy from a single director, an acclaimed prequel to that trilogy and an offshoot spin-off that is considered the worst movie of the brand. Aquaman, Shazam and Wonder Woman 1984 will offer the first chance at seeing three disconnected-but-in-continuity DC Films superhero flicks that aren’t essentially about setting up Justice League.
Based on the looks of the latest trailer from Warner Bros, Shazam will not be a movie that superhero fans will want to miss. Marvel and DC fans alike are sure to be pleased with this unique adventure, which will perhaps start a new leaf for the rest of the DC Extended Universe. You can watch the trailer for yourself below, and be sure to see Shazam when it hits theaters on April 5th, 2019.