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Shazam! Movie Review

Warning: Spoilers!!!

 

Yesterday, I went to see Shazam at my local movie theater, but before I start my review, here is some background.  Who is Shazam, A.K.A Captain Marvel?  Something interesting to consider about Captain Marvel (Shazam is the name of the wizard who gave Billy Batson his powers) and the Shazam family, is that originally they weren’t created by DC, but by a minor comic company called Fawcett Comics.  Fawcett was popular around the Golden Age of comics, but started to die out after the late 1940’s, so Malcolm Wheeler Nicholson, the founder of Adventure Comics (later turned into Detective Comics, then DC), bought all the rights to the characters.  It’s interesting because there was actually once a lawsuit of Nicholson versus Fawcett  regarding Captain Marvel being a copy of Superman, but Fawcett then brought a counter-suit against Nicholson suggesting  Lex Luthor was a copy of their own bald, bad guy, Dr. Sivana, before the sale of the characters.  After the companies merged, there were also complications about Marvel’s new hero, also Captain Marvel, having the same name as Shazam, even though DC’s Captain was almost 30 years before Marvel’s.  Anyway, here are my thoughts of the film and how I think it could have been better.

To start, I will say that Shazam was, in fact, an entertaining movie.  Whether or not it was completely comic accurate is a different story.  I did like that the movie was a comedy as well as a superhero film, and for a DCEU movie, it was considerably good.  It was definitely more light-hearted and fun as compared to previous DCEU movies such as Justice League, and was higher quality, as well.

Despite it being a entertaining film, I feel that it could have been more so, if the plot itself didn’t feel so rushed.  I feel like the process of Billy obtaining and controlling his powers went by a little too fast, since the movie was supposed to focus on Shazam’s origin.  Although I felt it was rushed, it did hit key points about the main antagonist, Dr. Sivana, but his character was a bit different from how most fans remember from comics.

In comics, Dr. Thaddeus Sivana was a mad scientist with a genius level intelllect and a knack for developing strange and experimental technology.  In the Shazam movie, however, Sivana is given much more, almost supernatural, power because he “controls” the Seven Deadly Sins, which were originally their own characters, not allies with Sivana.  In more recent comics, the mad scientist can see magical forces with his eye, but that is just about the height about his magical properties.  In the mid-credits scene, the movie teases Mister Mind, who is another super villain and ally of Dr. Sivana’s.  I, personally, think that the film should have stayed a bit more on target with Dr. Sivana’s abilities, but he was still an intriguing villain, nevertheless.

Something else that was changed from comics was Billy’s origin, but a factor that we must consider when we look at the movie compared to comics is the timeline.  The first publication of Shazam was actually in the same year WWII started, which was 1939, so since the comics were American, one can expect that they would make their own hopes possible through the fictitious hero. An example of this is winning the war.  A good part of Captain Marvel’s crime fighting career was actually battling Nazis.  This was a shared story plot with all of the Shazam family, especially Freddy Freeman, or Captain Marvel Jr.  The comics only used Nazis as major villains because of the time at which they were written, so the movie follows New 52, which modernized every DC Comics character, except Hellboy and other characters who have a set time period.

Although I would have liked the movie to be very comic accurate, with every movie adaptation, there are going to be some minor or major changes. Also, something that I really thought was missing from the movie was action.  Yes, there were fighting scenes, and yes, there were explosions, but I feel like the some of the best parts of the movie were shown in the trailer.  This is just because when I saw some of the scenes, like when Billy is getting his powers, when he is testing his powers, and during the fight with Dr. Sivana, I didn’t get the full effect because I had already pretty much seen them in the trailer.  I also think that the ages of the characters were a bit messed up.  For instance, in comics, Billy Batson is around eight to ten years old, and in the movie, it is stated that he is around fourteen to fifteen.  This makes the change from Billy to Captain Marvel less drastic, and therefore, less ironic and funny, but there was still enough of an age difference for it to be entertaining.

On the other hand, my favorite part of the movie was when the rest of the Shazam family got their powers.  And power wise, it was accurately done because each member possesses one of the traits that Captain Marvel and Mary Marvel have.  Once again, this is based on the New 52, so this Shazam family is very different from the original.

For example:

Darla Dudley – Super Speed

Eugene Choi – Lighting Manipulation

Pedro Peña – Super Strength

Freddy Freeman – Flight

Here is a side by side comparison of the some of the characters and their associated characters from the movie:

 

Billy Batson:

Image result for billy batson comics Image result for billy batson shazam movie

 

Captain Marvel:

Related imageImage result for zachary levi as shazam

 

Freddy Freeman:

Image result for freddy freeman dcImage result for freddy freeman shazam movie

(There is also a version of Freddy Freeman which actually looks more like the one from the movie, but it isn’t New 52, or the newest version.)

 

Captain Marvel Jr.

Image result for freddy freeman dcIMG_0405.jpg

(Once again, there is an alternate version of Freddy Freeman who the actors resemble more, but that version was featured in the original publications, so I’m confused as to why they would make the whole movie based around New 52, but than have the original Freddy Freeman, but the original version is featured below.)

Image result for freddy freeman dc

(As you can see, the art looks much older.)

Dr. Sivana:

Image result for dr sivana comicsImage result for dr sivana shazam movie

 

Shazam (the wizard):

Image result for shazam wizard comics Image result for shazam wizard movie

 

Overall, despite this movie having made major changes from the comics, it is still a fun and entertaining version of fan favorite heroes, and I totally recommend seeing it!

 

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What is Brightburn?

DC Comics has many upcoming movies for 2019, but one of them leaves people sort of confused.  The trailer for Brightburn was released in early December, and people have been questioning it since.  The film is directed by James Gunn, who directed both Guardians of the Galaxy movies and was recently fired from Marvel.

The concept of the movie is: What if a being like Superman came to Earth, but isn’t a hero, rather is something sinister?  While the film makes it clear that the boy, the main protagonist of the film, isn’t Clark Kent, it does, however, show that he possess abilities similar to Superman’s.  This leads us to believe that he is from a planet similar to Krypton.  We know that he isn’t Clark Kent because of small hints throughout the trailer, such as the family’s mailbox that says Breyer, and people calling him Brandon.  The film is just simply playing with the idea that Bruce Wayne/Batman had in the earlier DCEU movie, Batman Vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice, which is that aliens aren’t to be thought of as saviors.  Long story short, the movie is based on a Kryptonian becoming a villain, instead of a hero.

I’m not sure if I will be a fan of this movie, given that it wasn’t a comic book series and is a new concept.  I see this as a trend for newer superhero movies.  For example, Marvel’s upcoming film, The New Mutants, is supposed to leave an unsettling feeling in the viewer, along with the DCEU’s The Trench.  All three are similarly labeled as part of the horror genre.

Hero of the Week: Kilowog

From the planet Bolovax Vik, Kilowog is known among fans as one of the strongest Green Lanterns ever to be introduced.  In the comics, his role as recruit trainer has led to many success stories, such as Hal Jordan and John Stewart.  Kilowog takes his role as drill-instructor/trainer very seriously because he knew what it was like to join the Green Lantern Corps. and to have a very strict teacher.  When Kilowog was recruited, he was trained by the extremely tough, Ermey.

Kilwog is not only an exceptional Green Lantern, but he is also a very intellectual scientist.  Using his knowledge and strength, he became one of the head planners of the corps.

Although Kilowog is one of the lesser known Green Lanterns, he did have an on screen appearance in the 2011 Green Lantern movie, where they created a more realistic version of the pink burly alien, using CGI.  Overall, despite not becoming a fan favorite like Hal Jordan or Abin Sur, Kilowog is one of the most skilled and personable Green Lanterns.

 

Kilowog’s Stats:

Image result for kilowog green lantern

Real Name: Kilowog

Occupation: Green Lantern/Hero

Base: Oa

Allies: Green Lantern Corps.

Foes: Sinestro

 

Hero of the Week: Dr. Fate

Dr. Fate is one of the hidden gems of DC Comics.  He is not only one of the most unique characters in the company, but also one of the most mysterious.

First appearing in More Fun Comics #55 in 1940, he has been featured in many different animated movies and cartoons.  Additionally, Dr. Fate has had time on the small screen being featured in DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, and he even has his own DC Rebirth comic series.

The interesting thing about Dr. Fate is that it is actually just a helmet that requires a host body.  The spirit that possesses the helmet is called Nabu and has had many different hosts in the past. The main and most loved host has to be Kent Nelson.  Kent Nelson is actually just an old man that found the magical helmet while digging at an archaeology site in the Valley of Ur in Mesopotamia.  Once he put on the helmet, Nabu took control of his body, and didn’t let him go until Nabu found a host body that was just as good of a match.  Until the new host was found, Nelson began to enforce the laws of the mystic order.  Multiple members of the Justice League have been Dr. Fate, but newest host is Khalid Nassour.

Dr. Fate’s Stats

Image result for dr. fate

Real Name: Nabu (needs host body)

Occupation: Hero

Allies: Justice League, Justice Society of America

Foes: Anyone who disobeys the Order

Review: DC Universe Streaming Service

On Batman Day (September 15), DC Universe was released, and it has lived up to my expectations, for the most part. . .  Here are my Pros and Cons for DC Universe!

Pros

  • Right away, I was happy to see that there was an app because it makes viewing the service on your phone a lot easier
  • There is a huge selection of animated TV shows and movies available
  • The older TV shows on it, like Wonder Woman (1970’s) and Batman the Animated Series (1990’s), were remastered, so the graphics and audio were a lot better
  • There will be original shows coming out like Titans, Swamp Thing, Doom Patrol, and Young Justice Season 3
  • The comic book selection is massive and literally has hundreds of comic books which include new ones, classic ones, and even some of the first ones ever published
  • There is an encyclopedia option where you can find out about practically every character in all of DC Comics
  • There is an option to view merchandise and collectibles that are exclusively available for purchase by DC Universe members
  • The $7.99 price per month or $74.99 per year (a year and three months if you pre-ordered it) is pretty average for a streaming service, and I don’t think it is as bad as it could be

Cons

  • Although they app works pretty well now, at first it kept on crashing, and it still does sometimes
  • On my phone, I can’t use the service on the website because it just keeps on saying to open or download the app
  • There is a good amount of live action movies on the service, but some of them are only on it for a limited time, so I don’t think there are as many on there as they made it seem
  • The original shows aren’t out on the streaming service yet, and depending on when you buy it (if you bought it for a full year), you might not get to see some of them
  • The option to look at the exclusive merchandise isn’t fully functional yet
  • I wish that there was a way to download the app on things like game systems (similar to how you can with Netflix and HULU), so that people could watch it on an actual TV if they don’t have Apple TV

Overall, I love DC Universe, and I would totally recommend it to the ultimate DC Comics fan.

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SHAZAM! Teaser Trailer

Last month, the teaser trailer for the new Shazam movie came out.  The trailer is very informative on what’s to come in the movie and even revealed who the main villain will be: Dr. Sivana.  I am looking forward to seeing it, but personally, I think that some of the actors are a little too old for their roles, considering that in comics, Billy Batson is 10, and in the movie, the actor is 15.  I hope that in the movie, like in the comics, all the kids get powers, not just Billy Batson.  I would love it if, at some point in the movie, Black Adam makes an appearance or cameo.  Overall, if the movie is anything like the trailer, I think it will be worth watching.

 

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Villain of the Week: Deathstroke

First introduced in The New Teen Titans #2 in 1980, Deathstroke has been a favorite among fans everywhere.  Originally the main Teen Titans villain, he has progressed to fighting big time superheroes such as Superman in Batman in more recent comics.  Deathstroke’s real name is Slade Wilson, and his origin is that he joined the military when he was a teenager and had so much potential that he was used in government secret experiment to turn him into a meta-human soldier.  The procedure left him  unstable, but left him with incredible super human powers such as being able to use over 90% of his brain capacity, super strength, and being skilled with many weapons.  After discovering his powers, Slade Wilson chose being a mercenary as his day job and began to do contracted kills.  Despite being a criminal, Deathstroke had a family and was convinced to retire for a short bit to be with them, but instead he recruited his son to go on a mission with him.  This resulted in his son dying, and the original story of how Deathstroke lost his eye was when his wife found out that their son died, she shot him in the eye (this story has changed a lot in the past and the most recent one was that Green Arrow stabbed him in the eye).  Although he vowed to never let his kids get involved with his job again, he trained his daughter Rose to become an assassin, but she became Ravager and joined the Teen Titans as a hero.

 

Deathstroke’s Stats

220px-Deathstroke-DC-Comics

Real Name: Slade Wilson

Occupation: Villain

Allies: Secret Society of Super-Villains

Foes: Teen Titans

 

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Doom Patrol TV Show

Along with shows like Titans and Swamp  Thing, which have recently been announced, a Doom Patrol tv show will also appear on DC Universe (see my post on DC Universe).  We can’t say much about Doom Patrol because it seems like the creators might be switching the members around a bit.  Listed are the Doom Patrol members that have been confirmed and the actors that will portray them:

  • Robotman – Brendon Frasier
  • Crazy Jane – Diane Guerrero
  • Negative Man – Dwain Murphy
  • Elasti-girl – April Bowlby
  • The Chief (Dr. Niles Caulder) – Bruno Buchir

 

This news really excites me because the Doom Patrol has never had much media attention, but now even though it isn’t on the big screen, at least it will be on a screen.

 

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