The DC cinematic universe has been through its ups and downs. While their first phase of films didn’t strike a chord with the audience (well except Wonder Woman), things are looking better now. Hell, they even changed their name to “Worlds of DC”, which frankly fit their vision much better now. While this year will tell the tale of Aquaman, there’s a new guy who’s flying into theaters next year: Shazam!

So, who is this Shazam you ask? Lucky for you we did all the hard work (not really) to find out who and what he brings to the table. The very messy table than DC now has to clean. So let’s start with the basics.

Shazam! is here - Worlds of DC
Shazam! is here

The Origin – Captain Marvel

Let’s get the boring stuff out of the way. Which, funnily enough, is there in the synopsis itself.

We all have a superhero inside us, it just takes a bit of magic to bring it out. In Billy Batson’s (Angel) case, by shouting out one word—SHAZAM!—this streetwise 14-year-old foster kid can turn into the adult Super Hero Shazam (Levi), courtesy of an ancient wizard. Still, a kid at heart—inside a ripped, godlike body—Shazam revels in this adult version of himself by doing what any teen would do with superpowers: have fun with them!

While the aforementioned origin has been quite simplified from the comics, it gets the basic points across. Billy Batson can say a magic word, and boom! Lo and behold, he’s now basically Superman. Why “Shazam” in particular? Well, it’s an acronym: Solomon, Hercules, Atlas, Zeus, Achilles, Mercury.

SHAZAM with Freddy
SHAZAM with Freddy courtesy Entertainment Weekly

Early on in his comic book history, the superhero was also known as Captain Marvel. Yeah, it might remind you of someone else these days. Anyway, after several copyright disputes over the name, DC had to stick with Shazam (refer here).

So What Can He Do?

Well, essentially everything Superman can, and more! Seeing as how his name is comprised of other Gods’ names, it must be concluded that his powers must be related to that too, right? Right.

SHAZAM!
SHAZAM!

Originally his power set was as follows: The wisdom of Solomon, strength of Hercules, the stamina of Atlas, the power of Zeus, the courage of Achilles, and the speed of Mercury. While in later years, different writers have expanded experimented with them. As of now, it’s kinda unclear what powers the movie will explore. Ideally, we should get to see all the basics. You know, the super strength, super speed, flight, etc. Oh, and lightning bolts. Expect lots of lightning bolts!

The Promise of A New Era of DC

Justice League - Worlds of DC
Justice League – Worlds of DC

DC has had its fair share of criticism thrown at them. And for the right reasons. They’ve constantly been in the wrong to force a style and tone for their movies. Their recent efforts with Shazam and Aquaman are clearly showing that maybe, just maybe, they’ve learned. While I don’t expect to see an announcement for a new Justice League movie soon, I do hope that the standalone films are good.

Shazam!’s fun and campy tone are inherently great. Keeping the tone in line with the spirit of the characters is what they should have done in the first place. With the absurdly high number of comic-book films coming out, Shazam looks to be different. And that’s good.

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