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While DC's live-action universe began with the dark and gritty movies by Zack Snyder, the studio is now making blockbusters that bring something new to the table, including levity. No clearer can this be seen as by the first trailer for David F. Sanberg's Shazam!, which premiered at San Diego Comic-Con. The movie will have duel protagonists, with newcomer Asher Angel playing 14-year-old Billy Batson, and Zachary Levi inhabiting his superheroic alter-ego Shazam. Superhero castings have a ton of pressure and naysayers attached, but Angel actually thinks Levi was the perfect choice to play the title character in Shazam!, mostly because he's just a big kid. As he recently told his co-star,
I mean, Zach, you're the perfect Shazam because I mean look, we look alike kind of, but you know we're funny, we have a lot in common, I mean he's really a kid too. So, he's a kid in an adult. Zach, I love you, buddy, I can't wait for what's to come, and you're the best.
Considering Zachary Levi is playing a teenager with superpowers, a youthful energy is pretty much essential. But it's nice to hear that that type of wonder and joy was present throughout the set, even when the cameras weren't rolling.
Asher Angel's comments to Variety will hopefully quell the fears of the naysayers out there. When Zachary Levi was first cast as the massively popular hero, there was plenty of backlash from the hardcore comic community. Some comic purists thought Levi didn't have the right musculature, despite the actor logging tons of hours at the gym. Ultimately Levi's fitness and the question of whether or not his suit was padded followed the actor through filming, although the stellar first Shazam! trailer seems to have gotten fans excited.
Shazam originally seemed like an unlikely character for DC to adapt into live-action, especially considering the shared universe's dark roots. Shazam! will follow Philadelphian foster child Billy Batson, as he is unexpectedly given amazing powers that can nearly rival that of Superman. While Billy is ultimately trying to use his powers to find his long lost mother, he'll be thrown into the world of superheroics with his first villain, Dr. Thaddeus Sivana. And although action sequences are sure to be part of the narrative, Shazam! looks like something we've never seen in a comic book universe before.
Ultimately, fans are going to decide for themselves if Zachary Levi's performance as Shazam is as wild as his co-star Asher Angel suggests. But if the first trailer is to be believed, Levi might be as good as the hype would suggest.
Shazam! will arrive in theaters on April 5, 2019. In the meantime, check out our 2018 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.