The Netflix Superhero Epic Nearly Saved An Entire Franchise

By Douglas Helm | Published


The now-defunct DCEU is a contentious franchise, to say the least. Many fans were critical of the dour and dark tone of superhero films, while the MCU was building a more fun, more colorful universe on the other side of the cinematic aisle. However, the DCEU seemed to make a shift of sorts to the goofy side of superheroes with Shazam!, which you can stream now on Netflix.

Shazam! On Netflix

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Shazam! is based on the DC comic book hero of the same name, who can summon the powers of Solomon’s wisdom, Hercules’ strength, Atlas’ stamina, Zeus’ lightning power, Achilles’ courage, and Mercury’s speed by uttering the titular phrase.

The film is faithful in its approach to the hero’s origins, with the young teen Billy Batson (Asher Angel) gaining the ability to transform into an adult superhero (Zachary Levi) after meeting an ancient wizard (Djimon Hounsou).

His powers are put to the test when the evil Dr. Thaddeus Sivana (Mark Strong) puts his plans into action.

A Breath Of Fresh Air


Directed by David F. Sandberg, Shazam! isn’t a masterpiece of a superhero movie by any means, but it was definitely a big breath of fresh air for the DCEU at the time.

While Wonder Woman did a lot of good for the serious side of the DCEU, films like Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice still had fans craving something a bit sillier from their DC blockbusters. In that department, Shazam! easily delivers.

Great Reviews And Box Office Success


Asher Angel and his foster siblings give us a grounded, charming family to root for, while Zachary Levi is having a ton of fun playing a child in the body of a superpowered adult.

It’s a direction that the DCEU didn’t really lean into and one that many fans enjoyed seeing.

It’s strange that the DCEU didn’t take the cue either because the film received warm reviews from fans and critics and brought in a respectable $367 million worldwide at the box office.

DC Should Have Built Off Shazam!


It’s not hard to imagine a world where the DCEU decided to build off the success of Shazam!, especially with Dwayne Johnson’s Black Adam being something a lot of fans were looking forward to seeing.

It seems like it would be an obvious choice to quickly follow up Shazam! with Johnson’s solo Black Adam and then watch the two clash in a sequel. However, this is not what happened.

Pushing Aside Henry Cavill

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At this point, the turmoil surrounding Black Adam is an infamous moment in the DCEU. Not only did the film fail to meet financial expectations, but Johnson reportedly pushed to include Henry Cavill’s Superman as a nemesis for Black Adam.

Not long after Cavill’s return as Superman, he was subsequently let go from the role, and James Gunn and Peter Safran were announced as the new leaders of the upcoming DCU.

Shazam! Stands Strong


It would have certainly been cool to see Shazam face off against Black Adam, but it seems like that will be something we have to hope for further down the line.

With that being said, Shazam! still stands strong as one of the most fun movies that the DCEU put out. Make sure to go check it out on Netflix this week.