Here's Why Shazam Will Be More Fun Than Other DC Films

With titles like Guardians of the Galaxy and the Iron Man trilogy, Marvel Studios has done an excellent job cornering the market for action-packed blockbusters with plenty of jokes and lighter entertainment, but now it seems like DC Comics and Warner Bros. are ready to start battling in the same arena. Earlier today we got news that Dwayne Johnson has been confirmed to play Black Adam in the upcoming Shazam movie, but what you may not know is that the film will differentiate itself from titles like Zack Snyder's Man of Steel and Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight by being more of a fun adventure story.

New details about the Shazam movie have emerged thanks to the folks at Entertainment Weekly, who recently had the chance to chat with New Line president Toby Emmerich about what we can expect from the film (yes, this title is being made by the WB subsidiary New Line, not Warner Bros. proper). While the executive couldn't provide any plot or release date information for the project, what he did add to the conversation is that the tone of the feature will be different from all of the other comic book movies out in theaters. Said Emmerich,

"It feels to me like Shazam will have a tone unto itself. It’s a DC comic, but it’s not a Justice League character, and it’s not a Marvel comic. The tone and the feeling of the movie will be different from the other range of comic book movies."

What's slightly bizarre about this quote is that Shazam is a Justice League character in the comics, and has been so - off and on - since the late 1980s. Perhaps even more importantly, he has also been included as part of the Justice League in the New 52 comics, which is said to be a an influence on the growing DC Cinematic Universe. It's possible that Emmerich is saying that Shazam wasn't a founding member of the Justice League, but his phrasing is still a bit awkward.

As for what we can expect from the Black Adam set to be portrayed by Dwayne Johnson, Emmerich didn't give up any juicy details, but he did make another interesting choice of words describing him. While Johnson has said that he enjoys Black Adam's presence in DC Comics as an anti-hero, the New Line President paints the costumed character instead as more of an antagonist. Said Emmerich,

"Black Adam is a complex character. The villain in superhero movies is often, I think, what makes the movie. And I thought Dwayne’s take on the character, and the way that he saw Black Adam, was really compelling and fun."

It doesn't sound like Shazam has actually found a director yet, but the studio has hired Darren Lemke to start working on a script. The screenwriter previously worked with New Line to make the Bryan Singer-directed Jack The Giant Slayer, but his other credits include the animated features Turbo and Shrek Forever After, as well as the upcoming Goosebumps movie starring Jack Black.

In the comics, Shazam is actually a young boy named Billy Batson who can turn into an adult superhero by just saying "Shazam!" - the name of the wizard who granted him his powers and an acronym for the sources of his greatest abilities (Solomon, Hercules, Atlas, Zeus, Achilles, and Mercury). We expect this to be a very active project over the next few years, so be sure to stay tuned for more updates!

Eric Eisenberg
Assistant Managing Editor

Eric Eisenberg is the Assistant Managing Editor at CinemaBlend. After graduating Boston University and earning a bachelor’s degree in journalism, he took a part-time job as a staff writer for CinemaBlend, and after six months was offered the opportunity to move to Los Angeles and take on a newly created West Coast Editor position. Over a decade later, he's continuing to advance his interests and expertise. In addition to conducting filmmaker interviews and contributing to the news and feature content of the site, Eric also oversees the Movie Reviews section, writes the the weekend box office report (published Sundays), and is the site's resident Stephen King expert. He has two King-related columns.