The box office is certainly feeling the “fury of the gods” as Shazam! Fury of the Gods has officially debuted at #1 opening weekend! And as audiences have discovered, director David F. Sandberg has managed to lovingly craft homages to Harryhausen throughout the film, showcasing his youthful spirit within each frame of the picture. But now that the film is out, we at The Nerds of Color are finally able to dive into things a bit more, as we were given the opportunity to attend an event with Sandberg to find out several secrets from him about the making of the movie!
It’s Shazam! Week at The Nerds of Color. And so far, we’ve been incredibly lucky to have been able to chat with stars Zachary Levi, Asher Angel, and Jack Dylan Grazer about their new film Shazam! Fury of the Gods. And it has been a true honor for us because the first Shazam! film was an absolute delight. However, with Fury of the Gods coming to theaters this Friday, the question becomes — will lightning strike twice? Let’s break down the answer for this right now!
Part of the charm of the first Shazam! film was watching the sweet coming-of-age friendship between foster brothers Billy Batson and Freddie Freeman develop, as they navigated the superhero business together. Portrayed by Asher Angel and Jack Dylan Grazer, the two actors sparked the characters to life with their chemistry and relatable comedic timing. Now, with Shazam! Fury of the Gods coming out, we get to see both the characters and the actors mature further as the adventures of Freddie and Billy, as well as the rest of the Shazam-ily, continue!
Welcome to Shazam! week folks! Back in 2019, Billy Batson made his glorious film debut with the release of the utterly charming Shazam! The film ended up gaining some of the best reviews in the DCEU, and was a financial success. And a large part of that was due to the terrific performance from star Zachary Levi, who truly embraced the zany Big-meets-DC wish fulfillment concept of the picture.
We are going to have to wait a bit longer to witness the fury of the gods, as Shazam: Fury of the Gods, the sequel to 2019’s delightful Shazam! is due to hit theaters March 17. Originally the highly anticipated follow up was supposed to go toe-to-toe with Avatar: The Way of Water this Christmas, but was pushed in the wake of the WB/Discovery merger and the updated plans for the DC film slate. But never fear, just because we aren’t getting more of the Shazam family this year, doesn’t mean we aren’t getting some fun stuff. Today, WB/DC just debuted a new poster for the film.
Hands down, my favorite movie in the DCEU, and probably the biggest surprise of 2019, was Shazam! Directed by David F. Sandberg, and starring the brilliant Zachary Levi and Asher Angel, along with the charismatic Jack Dylan Grazer, the film really brought a wonderfully charming superhero-spin on Big, while remaining completely faithful to the New 52 run of the characters. It was funny, different, and most of all, unexpectedly full of heart. Today at the DC FanDome, the cast was reunited once more to talk about not talk about insights for the upcoming sequel!
It’s been three months since the launch of the Disney+ streaming service. Since then, viewers have fallen in love with Baby Yoda on The Mandalorian, shed tears over the new shorts released from Pixar’s SparkShorts program, and of course, revisited and binge watched old favorites.
There are two superhero movies dominating the box office right now, and they both happen to have the same name — well, historically at least. Marvel Studios’ Captain Marvel starring Brie Larson and Warner Bros.’ Shazam! starring Zachary Levi both center around a superhero named Captain Marvel, though neither use that name in their respective movies.
On a recent episode of the DC TV Classics podcast, Keith and Britney discussed the 1970s Shazam television series but also reviewed both movies. On this special crossover pod, we’ve isolated Keith and Britney’s movie talk to focus on their reactions to both movies.
This past weekend I had the opportunity to attend “Incredible Kid Day!” with the cast of Shazam! in Hollywood! The event, sponsored by Warner Bros., Camp Fire, Hispanic Heritage Foundation, Kizuna, and Jack and Jill of America, was organized to celebrate the achievements of some of the most impressive youths in the Southern California region, in such areas as science, sports, academia, and responsible citizenship.
Helping these kids celebrate their wonderful achievements were Marta Milans (Rosa), Jovan Armand (Pedro), Grace Fulton (Mary), Ian Chen (Eugene), and Faithe Herman (Darla), who play Billy Batson and Freddie Freeman’s adopted family in the movie. The cast passed out awards and the kids were able to take one-on-one pictures with the whole crew following the conclusion of the ceremony.
That’s two in a row for the DCEU! At this point in time, given that even other WB/DC properties like The Lego Batman Movie have openly mocked the franchise’s former unnecessarily dark and cynical roots, we’ve certainly seen a gradual shift towards optimism and fun from Wonder Woman to Justice League. Then to the colorful craziness of Aquaman,and now, Shazam!; DC’s lightest and most family-friendly movie to date. And honestly, especially after seeing Shazam!, in my opinion the results work so much more than they did in the earlier stages of the franchise.
The wisdom of Solomon! The strength of Hercules! The stamina of Atlas! The power of Zeus! The courage of Achilles! And the speed and flight of Mercury! Those are all the powers that are imbued upon mere mortal 14-year old Billy Batson to become The World’s Mightiest Mortal, SHAZAM! (Note for all you noobs who have no idea what I’m talking about — I said SHA-ZAM, not to be confused with KA-ZAAM, the genie who plays basketball better than he acts, raps, or plays Shaq-Fu.)
A lot of people of color of my generation who are passionate about diversity and representation in the media tend to point to the media we consumed as children as the reason why — to the absences, omissions, and misrepresentations, and to the token presences we latched onto like lifelines. Today, our childhood experiences are ever-present motivators in our lives as fans, consumers, and creators in our own right, trying to redress past wrongs by ensuring the existence of the mirrors, windows, and doorways we were denied years before.
As a father watching contemporary media aimed at kids, tweens, and teens with my own tween and teen daughters, I’m slowly getting the hopeful feeling that their future will be different — or, if it isn’t, there will be hell to pay. That’s not to say that there isn’t vast room for improvement — we haven’t solved it, not by a long shot — but the energy, the diversity, the mere and sheer presence in the media world with which my children interact and which they take for granted as normal is so far from what we grew up with, and so close to what we wish the media landscape at large looked like, that I can’t help but be a little optimistic.