Bad news for those of you wanting Captain Mar… sorry, I mean Shazam, to grace the silver screen. While promoting his new film Grudge Match, director Peter Segal gave an update on why we probably won’t see his “Billy Batson and the Legend of Shazam” project on the big screen. No surprise here, but the Big Red Cheese’s similarities towards Superman seems to be the primary reason.
After Bryan Singer’s “Superman Returns,” it seemed like there was a moment in time where Shazam was going to see the light of day. That’s when you heard those stories. Now that Superman is being invigorated and going up against Batman, I think it’s difficult for DC to figure out how to launch this character in the wake of Superman’s resurgence.
Segal goes on to say that the movie would have taken a more humorous approach, although this wouldn’t have necessarily made it kid-friendly.
At its core, it’s a lot like Superman. There’s this boy trapped inside of a superhero’s body. He’s still a boy inside, so there’s this opportunity to play a lot of humor with the action.
While I’ve learned to like Shazam a lot more since Geoff Johns revitalized him in the back-up stories of Justice League, I can understand studio executives not wanting to release a movie starring a character too similar to Superman. Although there was a time in the early ’40s when Captain Marvel (because that’s what he was called then) was more popular than Superman, the Man of Steel has soared past and cemented himself not only as the most famous superhero, but an important pop culture character. To the general audience, all they’ll see with Shazam at first glance is another hero with a similar costume who’s also really strong and can fly.
However, being a comic book fan I realize Shazam deserves more than to be looked at as a Superman knock-off. With a mythology steeped in magic and showing a boy trapped in a hero’s body, Shazam could make a really cool movie. What DC needs to do is utilize him more across all properties. Make sure he has a constant presence in the comics. Use those DC Nation shorts to introduce him to little kids, or better yet give him his own show. We got to see Shazam in Injustice: Gods Among Us, so make sure he appears in any other relevant DC video games.
I mean, it’s about time people learned where the word Shazam came from.