“Shazam” Costume a Commentary on DCEU?

Several photos have been leaked from the sets of Shazam, the DC Extended Universe movie that is set to come out in April of next year. In particular, we have now seen images of the protagonist’s superhero costume from both the front and the back, which has, in turn, led to much discussion among fans and critics about its merit or lack thereof.

What many have focused on is the costume’s decidedly “old school” design—that is, the fact that it looks like spandex, rather than the sort of “armored” look that has been used through the DCEU. This style came into fashion with the Christopher Nolan Dark Knight Trilogy and is designed to look more functional. The Shazam outfit, as seen worn by star Zachary Levi, looks more like something Christopher Reeve would have worn in one of the old Superman films.

Of course, that may be the point. From the beginning, Shazam has been billed as a lighter, more humorous film than the other entries in the DCEU, which have been criticized as being overly dark (except for Wonder Woman, which notably has also been the franchise’s only unqualified success). A decidedly “sillier” costume could help to emphasize that point, giving Shazam/Captain Marvel (real name Billy Batson, a teenage boy who transforms into a superpowered adult) a purposefully less “realistic” look.

We already have some hints that Shazam will go for some meta humor; one of the leaked photo shows a toy store filled with superhero plushies, which interestingly do not match the characters’ appearances in the DCEU. For now, we are left wondering just how different this movie will be, and how well the costume will help reflect that difference.

“Shazam” Begins Filming

The upcoming DC Extended Universe film Shazam has finally begun filming, with director David F. Sandberg announcing the milestone on his Instagram account.

His photo from the set does not give us a lot of information, however: it simply shows a clapperboard with the film’s working title, “Franklin” on it, along with the scene, take and roll (308, 1, and B1, if you’re curious). Sandberg’s message: “Let’s go!”, along with a lightning bolt emoji (lightning being a motif of the movie’s superhero).

Based on the classic Golden Age superhero Captain Marvel, Shazam stars Billy Batson (played by Asher Angel), a teenage boy who can transform into an adult superhero (Zachary Levi) when he says the magic word “Shazam!” He will have to go up against the evil Thaddeus Bodog Sivana, who will apparently be some kind of sorcerer (in the comics he’s usually a mad scientist), as well as his children Beautia and Magnificus.

It is set to be the seventh entry into the DC Extended Universe, premiering in April 2019 after this year’s Aquaman.

Sandberg has promised that Shazam will be a more humorous take than the other entries in the franchise, which (with the exception of Wonder Woman) have been criticized for being overly dour and convoluted. This story, about a poor and orphaned child who turns his life around by becoming a superhero, however, has always been about wish fulfillment, and Warner Bros.’s decision to fast-track it may be a deliberate attempt to turn the perception of the DCEU around.

Levi’s character may not be the only superhero in this movie, either; current rumor says that Henry Cavill’s Superman may show up for a cameo in this film, but so far this remains unconfirmed.