Monday, May 23, 2016

Shazam movie update

One of the producers of the upcoming Shazam! movie, Hiram Garcia (VP of Seven Bucks Productions, the company making the film in conjunction with New Line Cinema), in an interview with gives a much awaited update on the project.
"We're a good way into development. We're expecting a next draft soon which I think is really gonna put us in the zone that we're hoping for... the great thing with Shazam for me as a fan, I was always a fan of Superman and his mythology as I grew up. I remember it was Alex Ross's Kingdom Come that was the first time that ever made me look at Shazam just differently. I just knew of Shazam, you know the name, you knew the word, but I thought Alex Ross... He portrayed him and drew him in that epic kind of conflict that him and Superman ultimately had. It just made me look at Shazam in way like this is a bad mf'er."

OK, hit pause. First he refers to Captain Marvel as ShazamCrap.  Bad sign. "You know the name".  Yeah, but it's the wrong name. Then he calls Captain Marvel a "bad mf'er". Uh.... no... just no. Captain Marvel is a hero full of hope and optimism. Batman is a "bad mf'er". Captain Marvel is Americana wish fulfillment. As for the name conundrum, if "Captain Marvel" simply cannot be used, don't use any name.  Diana was never called Wonder Woman in Batman v Superman. Selena Kyle was never called Catwoman in The Dark Knight Rises. We know who Captain Marvel is, so there is no reason to use any name in the dialogue (in the credits, he can be called "World's Mightiest Mortal").  If and when Captain Marvel Jr comes around in a sequel, it just takes a little bit of creativity to work around it.  As the injured Freddy lays dying, Captain Marvel tells him to "say my name", and we cut to a very wide shot where we do not hear what Freddy says, but we see the effect of thunder and lightning.

Garcia continues, "That whole world, as well as Black Adam as you start looking into Black Adam, so our take on that world is first and foremost, movies like that can be grounded and can have real stakes but can still be fun. That's the place we always want it to come from. We have a character in Shazam that is a boy who is in this man's body who is having the ultimate fulfillment that I think all comic book fans and everyone can associate with. Like, what if you wake up one day and you can just do all this great stuff? And then on the other side, you have this force of nature who is really anchored by what he lost in his family and that thread that he's bringing with him throughout this journey. There's a real grounding there. That combination of youth and enthusiasm and being in new to a world and then the place that Adam's coming from. It makes for a great dynamic that not only allows us to have not only real stakes, real story, and real emotion, but a ton of fun in the process. There's no reason that there should ever be a version of this story told that's devoid of that. That's our goal in doing this: following the path of the films that have been coming out and have done such a good job. Marvel has, everyone knows, really locked into that place where they're able to tell you really grounded, rooted stories that have real repercussions and there's a real wake that's left after what's the done but while through the whole process they still acknowledge that, you have a blast while you're watching that. They find the moments where you're constantly having fun and you're able to go on the ride and that's the place we're gonna be playing in." 

OK, this is good. He admits Marvel Studios will have more of an influence than Synder's films. But I'm concerned he wants to ground this film in a form of reality that leaves behind the uniqueness of Captain Marvel's world consisting of evil alien worms, talking tigers dressed in plaid sports coats... a world where a homeless boy not only gets the power to be a superhero, but also works his way up to becoming something of a child celebrity... a world where your mad scientist arch enemy happens to have a hot blonde daughter who has a crush on you.  In other words, I fear Garcia just wants another generic take on Superman done in a Marvel Studios style.

Garcia adds, "I promise you dude, we're not gonna f-- this up! My vision is so clear for this story and this movie. As story tellers, you sometimes get on projects but this has always been a priority. I've been carrying the Black Adam torch for so many years before we finally locked it in and I'm telling you we're gonna knock this thing out of the park. It's gonna be a blast and it's gonna be a dope ride, so get ready!"

Well, dude, I have no doubt your main priority is to get Black Adam right, but my concern is that your dope ride leaves Captain Marvel on the side of the road to hitch hike. You need to get Alex Ross on board as a creative consultant. 

Consider me officially concerned about this project.

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