After the mixed reactions towards Man of Steel, Batman V Superman, Suicide Squad and Justice League and the unequivocally positive reception that Wonder Woman received, it looks like DC has finally gotten its shit together. Not only that, it looks like the folks at Warner Bros are also starting to pave their own path as opposed to their previous blueprint which I’m sure simply read CATCH UP TO THOSE MARVEL DIRTBAGS… FAST!
DC appears to be dialled back and focused on making good solo films (and giving almost complete creative control to each director) instead of cooking up movies that function as nothing more than universe building devices. Just compare the amount of universe-set ups and tie-ins found in Batman V Superman and Suicide Squad to Aquaman, which beyond a single throwaway line — “you defeated Steppenwolf” — focused all its energy on being a singular movie.
And it looks like Shazam! will be the same too. In an interview with ComicBook.com, Shazam! director David Sandberg discussed how his film would be very much a standalone adventure.
“It’s [Shazam!] very standalone. You don’t have to have seen any of the other films, because it’s its own contained story. It is more the world of it that’s part of a story.”
But don’t worry, the DCEU (are we still calling it that?) isn’t abolished or anything. Sandberg added that the film will still be set in the same universe previously established by Zack Snyder.
“Well this movie’s mostly just about introducing Billy Batson and Shazam and who he is, how he came to be. “It takes place in this DC world where all these heroes exist, but in some ways, it’s both sort of self-contained while also being a part of something bigger, but, yeah. That’s a non-answer.”
This comes at the heels of a recent statement made by Warner Bros chairman Toby Emmerich.
“We all feel like we’ve turned a corner now. We’re playing by the DC playbook, which is very different than the Marvel playbook. We are far less focused on a shared universe. We take it one movie at a time. Each movie is its own equation and own creative entity. If you had to say one thing about us, it’s that it always has to be about the directors.”
As far as box office numbers and critical reception is concerned, it looks like this is the right way to go. After all, Aquaman, despite being a relatively unknown character outside of the comic book fans circle, is the highest grossing DCEU film globally (US$ 1.07 billion), while Wonder Woman ranks third ($US 821.8 million). Wonder Woman and Aquaman are also the only two movies in the DCEU so far that have a positive score on the Tomato Meter, with 93% and 64% respectively. Would Shazam be able to follow suit? Only time will tell.
Shazam! hits cinemas on 4th April 2019.