‘Shazam!’ deserves a shot and so does DC

By Clarissa Pompa | Reporter

“Captain Marvel” premiered last month, and it was a good movie. “Avengers: Endgame” premieres later this month and is possibly the most anticipated movie of the year, nay the decade. However, there is another movie coming out this month called “Shazam!.”

“Shazam!” features Zachary Levi, previously seen on the TV show “Chuck,” as Shazam. Asher Angel portrays Billy Batson, a teen with an attitude. An unexpected protagonist is bestowed with gifts and uses them for the greater good. Such is the plot of “Batman,” “Thor,” “Captain Marvel” and other successful superhero movies.

It is unfortunate that the release date of “Shazam!” is right between the first female-led superhero movie and the end of a saga over 10 years in the making. But with those important aspects of these releases, “Shazam!” is also notable due to its 78 year movie history.

Marvel/Disney has done an amazing job of churning out stellar movies. So much so, that when it comes to superheroes in film, people seem predisposed to like Marvel over DC.

When you are a child, you may decide you don’t like mushrooms on pizza and live your life without it. You could later go to college and realize that mushroom pizza is actually not bad and really one of your favorite things. That seems to be the attitude toward DC movies, but without the revelation. Have there been a few duds? Of course. Has Marvel had their fair share (Looking at you, “Incredible Hulk” and “Thor: The Dark World.”)? Just because some movies didn’t pan out doesn’t mean you can discount the success of DC. Of the top 50 highest grossing superhero movies, “Batman” (1989) is 46 but is the earliest entry. Not only that, DC was the first of the two companies to produce a film adaptation of their comics. Furthermore, the first character to be adapted in such a fashion was Shazam himself.

In March 1941,The Adventures of Captain Marvel” was released. Yes, Captain Marvel was originally under the domain of DC, but due to complicated publication history, the moniker was left to Marvel and the future character of Carol Danvers. “The Adventures of Captain Marvel” was a movie serial series that is in the public domain now. All this is to say, the history of film and comics is greatly tied to DC. This is not to slight Marvel or underestimate their influence, but to give the respect to DC that so many seem to withhold.

The latest DC movie, “Aquaman,” was more than just a good movie. It was a capital-G Good movie. Was it something we have never seen before? Not necessarily, but it was almost devastatingly pretty, and so was Marvel’s “Black Panther.” The plot didn’t throw viewers for a loop, but neither did “Iron Man.” In fact, before the premiere and success of “Iron Man,” the character was relatively obscure. People place Marvel movies higher just because of the previous success that had to start somewhere.

No one is claiming that “Shazam!” will break boundaries or heralding it as the most spectacular movie to be made. It isn’t looking to start a franchise, but it might make you laugh and provide the form of escapism that movies and comics hope to offer in the first place.

If superhero movies aren’t your thing, that is perfectly fine. If you dislike DC movies, that is your prerogative. However, if you predetermine your dislike of “Shazam!” because you haven’t liked DC movies in the past or would rather watch a Marvel movie, then you might be missing out.