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Friday, September 05, 2014 

Captain Marvel movie may have fun in store after all

IGN reported that the movie based on Billy Batson is going ahead under WB's affiliate New Line, and that, contrary to earlier backstage stories, this Shazam project will have a fun tone:
...New Line Cinema president Toby Emmerich addressed what the tone of the upcoming superhero will be and how it will differ from Warner Bros.' other DC Comics adaptations (New Line is a subsidiary of Warners).

“It feels to me like Shazam will have a tone unto itself,” Emmerich told Entertainment Weekly. “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."

Emmerich added that Shazam “will have a sense of fun and a sense of humor. But the stakes have to be real.”
And maybe this movie, because it's being produced under an affiliate banner rather than the flagship WB, might succeed, but that depends on how good the screenplay and performances are, whether DC and TW's higher echelons allow the filmmakers more freedom of choice than Man of Steel's filmmakers had, and whether the audience is interested. I'll certainly be glad if Geoff Johns has no involvement in this movie, and gladder still if it doesn't rely on his retcon to Billy Batson. Nobody hoping for a good time should look to Johns' botch jobs to find it.

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IMHO, the original Captain Marvel worked best in tongue-in-cheek stories. But, by the time DC acquired the character in the early 1970's, the medium had been taken over by fanboys who took super-heroes seriously, and who wanted their comics played straight. And adults who liked tongue-in-cheek adventure in other media (e.g., James Bond movies) did not read comics.

DC has never found the right balance with this character. In 1973, they went too far with the campy comedy. More recently ("Curse of Shazam"), they tried to make it as grimdark as Deadman or Dr. Fate. They don't seem to understand the concept of subtlety, and they go to one extreme or the other.

Hopefully, New Line will get it right. But if DC/WB/TW plans to have Shazam tie in with Superman and Batman at some point, then they may decide that the tone has to be consistent, so they may try to make Shazam as grim as Batman.

And I will be very annoyed if the hero is called "Shazam" instead of Captain Marvel.

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