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“Shazam!” movie review and what’s next for the DC Extended Universe

The DC Extended Universe, or simply the DCEU, is the name given to the recent slate of films produced by Warner Brothers that take place in the dark and gritty world of the DC Comics. While many believe that, when compared to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the DCEU cannot keep up or produce good movies in general, after the massive success of 2017’s “Wonder Woman,” some believe that the DCEU is finally heading on the right track.

Now admittingly there have been some bumps in the road with films such as 2016’s “Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice” or 2017’s “Justice League,” yet these slight bumps are made up for with great films such as “Wonder Woman,” 2018’s “Aquaman,” and, now, “Shazam!” starring Zachary Levi.

“Shazam!” is a bright and charming addition to the slate of films inside the DCEU. Levi brings a refreshing face and persona to the otherwise realistic and gritty world of the DCEU. The film is bright and colorful, and it also has a surprisingly well-written and heartwarming story. The overall cast and plot add to the film, and, while the end turns into a sort of ensemble film, “Shazam!” handles becoming a team film better than the previously mentioned “Justice League” does.

“Shazam!” is another great addition to the DCEU and is a bright step forward for the future of the DCEU. However, there is still a question that needs to be asked after the release of “Shazam!” What’s next for the future of the DCEU?

With Ben Affleck and Henry Cavill both reportedly stepping down from their respective roles as Batman and Superman, it’s hard to tell exactly what the future holds for the interconnective universe of films. The only other film that Warner Bros. has planned for the 2019 movie season is “The Joker” set to release this fall. “The Joker” will be an origin story for the infamous clown prince of crime and will star Joaquin Phoenix as the title character of The Joker. Now, this might be confusing for the common moviegoer for two reasons. One, there is already an established Joker character in the DCEU that is portrayed by Jared Leto, who made his debut in 2016’s “Suicide Squad” alongside Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn. It is unclear if Leto’s Joker is scrapped from the DCEU because Robbie’s Quinn is still slated to appear in 2020’s “Birds of Prey” film and 2021’s “The Suicide Squad” directed by James Gunn. The second issue is that 2019’s “The Joker” takes place in the 1980s while the rest of the DCEU movies, besides 2017’s “Wonder Woman” and 2020’s “Wonder Woman 1984,” take place in the present day.

While Marvel’s films keep a solid timeline and continuity with their films, it’s easy to say that DC’s films have not yet perfected this formula. However, the DCEU has slowly been showing that it has what it takes to produce great films with box office successes such as “Wonder Woman” and “Aquaman” and critic success with their latest entry of “Shazam!” Regardless, the DCEU will continue to keep both moviegoers and comic book fans rushing to theaters for the next blockbuster entry from the lore-filled world of DC Comics.

by Davis Hicks

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