Tag Archives: Shazam


Related Content from And There Came A Day

With the release of SHAZAM! it is very, very clear the powers that be charting the course of the DC Movie Universe have completely altered their direction. While the early offerings were dark, real-world and gritty, the latest films (Wonder Woman, Aquaman and, now, SHAZAM!) are wildly different in tone from the earlier offerings and from each other. This is not a bad thing at all and, if it accomplishes nothing else, it does set the DC movies apart from their Marvel counterparts.

SHAZAM! is a different creature from all of the mainstream superhero movies that precede it in that it embraces the nature of its story so completely and that nature is family. SHAZAM! is the first, true family superhero movie. And it works. Overtime.

Though it does not share the dark overtones of many of the DC films, it is clearly in the same universe and their are constant reminders of this fact. Telling the story of Billy Batson, a young foster child moved from home-to-home, SHAZAM! is also something of a superpowered homage to Tom Hanks’ classic BIG.

Billy receives magical powers from a wizard which turn him from a 15-year-old boy into a superpowered adult with untested and unknown abilities. Part of the fun of the film is watching Billy (Asher Angel) as Shazam (a terrific Zachary Levi) learn just what it is he can do. Aided by Freddy Freeman (Jack Dylan Grazer) , a foster child Billy meets in his latest home, Shazam learns he can fly, is amazingly strong and has “bullet immunity” among other things. The interplay between Angel and Grazer is almost as fun as the exchanges between Levi and Grazer, the constant being Jack Dylan Grazer. This kid is fun!

And so is the movie. With a plot line that tips its hat to Raiders of the Lost Ark, Monster, INC, Ghostbusters and Big, a wonderful turn by scenery-chewing Mark Strong as the unrepentantly evil Doctor Sivana and a major, last reel reveal that should delight even the most cynical among movie goers, SHAZAM! is a world of fun. Director David O. Sandberg leaned into the craziness that is the story of Shazam and that was absolutely the right decision. He also littered the movie with just enough fan service connecting it both to the DC movie universe and the comic book history of the title character.

Be sure you stick around for both post credit sequences. One is incredibly funny. The other is incredibly bizarre. Both fit SHAZAM! perfectly.

SHAZAM! receives FOUR AND A HALF MAGIC 8 BALLS out of a possible FIVE


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And There Came 40 (??!!??) Superhero Movies Between Today and 2020? What?

Uh, what? Is this too much of a good thing?

I mean, for me, the answer is obviously “no,” but 40 superhero movies?  That’s a lot. If there are some box office failures in here, and there are sure to be, this slate will be pruned. But, wow! Bring ’em on!

Graphic from comicsalliance.com

Graphic from comicsalliance.com

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The Best Sequential Art I Read Last Week – October 15 – 21, 2014

I am a comic book collector and happy to be sure. I might say “proud” if I hadn’t, over a year ago, switched to reading digital as opposed to print comics. I feel a bit robbed of the tactile sensations of the hobby – of the turn of the page, the sneaking look to the panel a page over, the bagging and shorting and stacking and filing. Though I read my comics in a different medium than I used to, I still treat each Wednesday (comic book delivery day to specialty shops around the country) as different from the other days of the week. I subscribe and now, rather than go to the comic store to be handed the books pulled for my “Hold Slot,” I click a button on my iPad and watch them download.

Then I read them.

Rare is the week that I don’t read them all between Wednesdays and some weeks I have, well… let’s just say more comic books in my digital downloads than a grown man should. Comic book legend Will Eisner (creator of The Spirit) is one of the most influential men even to put pencil to drawing board in the pursuit of making comics. So influential was he that the industry awards (think the Oscars or the Emmys or the Grammys) are named The Eisner Awards. He called comic books “sequential art,” perhaps because he became embarrassed by his profession when he had to admit what he did for a living. This is my weekly reaction to the comics I read.

I read 10 comics last week: Justice League #35, Edge of Spider-Verse #5, Miles Morales: Ultimate Spider-Man #6, Daredevil #9, Death of Wolverine #4, Batman/Superman #15, Batman Eternal #28, Batman and Robin #35, Avengers World #14, and Avengers and X-Men: Axis #2.

The comic that most arrested my attention, that I thought was the best read of the week and that I most enjoyed was Justice League #35

Justice League 35

Justice League 35

There were a number of good books last week, many of which I considered for this pick. I really enjoyed Miles Morales and Batman and Robin and considered both as personal “best.” Death of Wolverine was too on-the-nose, though had great impact, to be sure, and Daredevil is so good, I could pick it every month. I guess that kind of works against it in the long run.

But the comic that was almost perfect, in my eyes, was Justice League. Geoff Johns knows how to write team books and knows how to give each character her or his own voice. This must be a very challenging thing to do when juggling a cast like the one Johns has in Justice League. Every character gets a good moment in this book, from Cyborg and Shazam to Superman and Wonder Woman and Johns’ handling of Aquaman remains terrific. The King of the Seven Seas really shines here. The League has never sounded better than it does in this issue and Johns hits his stride here in a way that he’s not in the  few “clean up” issues which followed Forever Evil. Here, we get a sense of the League working together, united against a common enemy. How cool is it that that enemy is squarely in their midst?

The addition of Lex Luthor to the team has been nothing short of brilliant and has opened up the kinds of story-telling possibilities that DC’s flagship title should be able to ride for quite a while. The Bruce Wayne/Batman/Lex Luthor dynamic is a blast to watch – as fun to write, I am sure, as it is to read. No one trusts Lex and, as the last page clearly illustrates, they shouldn’t. Lex, as it turns out, shouldn’t even trust himself.

Though Ivan Reis pencils a few pages of the book, the bulk of the interiors are handled by under appreciated Doug Mahnke. Mahnke’s pencils are very good, crisp and sharp, and convey real character in them. He handles the entire League very well and I loved the glances that Luthor and Wayne exchange. Sometimes a good writer knows how to let a good artist tell the story. Johns and Mahnke work well together here, as they have many times before. I read this week that Mahnke is going to get a regular gig penciling Superman/Wonder Woman, and I will be glad to see that. He’s DC’s best kept secret.

Justice League #35 was everything I could want from a Justice League book, from the first chapter of a new arc and from a comic overall. It was absolutely the best sequential art I read last week!

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Hold On Iron Man And Company, Batman And Superman Have Friends, Too

Iron Man, The Hulk, Thor, Captain America, Black Widow, Hawkeye… we know the characters in Avengers, one of the biggest movies of the last five years. When one considers Guardians of the Galaxy, Spider-Man, the X-Men and the coming soon Fantastic Four, one must say that Marvel dominates the film landscape.

What does DC offer on the big screen? Superman and Batman. We know there is Batman v Superman, Dawn of Justice coming in 2016, but, really DC, do you have a plan to compete?

Well, as you can read HERE, the answer to that question is a resounding “yes!”

Joining planned (but oddly not announced) solo films featuring Batman and Superman are Suicide Squad, Wonder Woman, Justice League Part I and Justice League Part II, Shazam, The Flash, Aquaman, Cyborg and Green Lantern.


Only time and box office will tell if these planned films will ever see the light of day but it’s clear: DC has a plan. Use a Justice League jam session to launch individual characters into solo movies. It’s the opposite of what Marvel did in building to Avengers. 

As far as I am concerned, one can never have too many superhero movies. I hope this works!

Photo from newsarama.com.

Photo from newsarama.com.

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