I’m self-aware enough as a person, and a reporter, to admit that I have a bias. That being: I far and wide prefer DC Comics over Marvel. As such, I have yet to see Captain Marvel and am decidedly apathetic toward Endgame. However, I am very much on top of all and any news regarding the Birds of Prey movie helmed by Margot Robbie and set to come out next year. My girl Cassandra Cain is set to be the movie’s focus and I am honestly so excited. But this article isn’t about that (yet, give me a couple months until it actually comes out) but the most recent news in the DC Extended Universe.
Let’s start with the bad: The Joker trailer dropped.
Now before you yell at me some short credentials. Robin was my comics gateway and I’ve read way more Batman and other Gotham hero based titles than is probably healthy so I think I can speak fairly confidently on the subject of Batman’s rogues. The Joker is far and away the most overrated and overused of them all. Consistently poorly written, the character has turned into nothing more than a way for writers to be sadistic and hateful in the name of man pain for the heroes.
The trailer shows Joker before he becomes a villian, getting beat up and trying to do some good in the corruption of Gotham. It makes you want to empathize with a character who has literally become the embodiment of evil in the DCU. Which really doesn’t sit right with me.
If that’s not the vibe you’re getting then maybe you’ll understand the other issue I have with it. The one thing that I will give the character, when written correctly, is that his origin — who he is and why he does the things he does — is one of the biggest and most compelling mysteries that Batman and company face. The movie seems to be getting rid of that completely by creating an origin story for him.
Now let’s end on the good: Shazam! hit theaters this past weekend.
As a fan of Zachary Levi I was really looking forward to the movie because if anyone could play a teenager suddenly finding himself in the body of a full grown adult with superpowers it’s him. And he didn’t disappoint. Levi and Asher Angel — who plays Billy Batson the teenage half of the character — were perfectly in synch for their performances. I was so impressed to notice they were even making the same facial expressions and using the same physicality.
More than just amazing performances it was a truly fun film. At its core it was about family and finding your people. Around that was perfectly timed jokes and antics that could be expected when tackling an origin story that involves magical powers and subway cars, a secret identity being protected by being an actual child and leaning into the goofiness of a comic character from the 1940s whose epithet is “The Big Cheese.”
More than that (without spoiling) the movie included so many elements from the comic and I was actually shocked by the ending, staying so true to the source material in a move that was frankly bold compared to other superhero films. In all honesty, my only complaint was that it was set in Philadelphia and had a conveniently located SEPTA subway station. I could suspend my disbelief for everything but that.