Saturday, March 9, 2019

Shazam! (2019) Trailer - Review/Reaction

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Warner Bros. has released the (supposedly) final trailer for the next superhero movie: Shazam!

To readers who are unfamiliar with the titular character, here is a quick intro: Billy Batson is a kid who assumes the adult alter ego of Captain Marvel/Shazam by saying the word - “Shazam”.

Check out the trailer:



Shazam was created in 1939 (a year after Superman) and gave the Man of Steel a run for his money in terms of popularity and sales figures. Powers wise too, he rivals Superman in terms of super strengh, speed and flight. Plus, he can manipulate electricity.

The casting seems to be perfect here. Kind of like Aquaman. Zachary Levi looks to be a great choice for the role. The same goes for Asher Angel as Billy Batson and Jack Dylan Grazer as Freddy Freeman.

All three of them show excellent comedic timing in their respective scenes. Looks like David F. Sandberg has repeated the James Wan magic of casting actors who may or may not be great thespians, but can bring these comic book characters to life in the best way possible. And the movie looks to be having a stronger sense of humor than Wan's excellent take on the King of the Seven Seas. 



Speaking of Aquaman, a common link between these two movies is Djimon Hounsou who plays The Wizard who grants the superhuman powers to Billy and played King Ricou in James Wan's picture. More trivia: Djimon also portrayed Korath in Captain Marvel (yes the other one).

David seems to be a huge fan of DC Comics. In addition to the obvious Batman reference in the store, there were a couple of shout outs to Superman.


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  • Shazam catching the bus and placing it back on land safely is a reference to the famous Supes poster.
  • The final scene in the trailer has the line - Leap tall buildings in a single bound”, which is a famous Supes catch phrase. David smartly utilizes this to provide arguably the funniest scene in the trailer.

Of further interest is the fact that the movie includes two cast members from the cancelled Justice League Mortal movie (that would have been directed by George Miller): D.J. Cotrona and Adam Brody. These two actors were supposed to play Supes/Clark Kent and The Flash/Barry Allen respectively. I am curious to see what roles they play in this movie.



Shazam has an extended family known as Marvel Family” and they are making their live action debut as well. Mary Marvel is being played by Grace Fulton.

Finally, we come to Dr Thaddeus Sivana, the antagonist. This is the second time Mark Strong has played a DC comics baddie. He also portrayed Sinistro in the ill fated Green Lantern. To the best of my knowledge, Dr Sivana is pure brains. I suspect that he is playing (temporary) host to Black Adam and is hence able to go toe to toe with the powerhouse known as Shazam. We will see if my theory holds true when the movie hits the screens in April 2019. But come what may, Mark looks better cast here and I believe he will deliver a fantastic performance and leave a much stronger impression compared to his previous DC outing.

After the billion dollar success of Aquaman, DC Films seems all set to continue the winning streak.

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Image Sources: Warner Bros., DC Entertainment, DC Comics, New Line Cinema

Friday, March 1, 2019

Dark Phoenix Trailer - Review and Reaction

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We got the second trailer for the long awaited and supposedly the closing chapter to the Fox's long-running X-Men franchise. As readers know, Disney bought Fox and the merry mutants are now part of the Marvel group under the supervision of Kevin Feige.

Dark Phoenix is directed by Simon Kinberg, the producer and writer of some of the X-Men movies. Joining the established cast (James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas Hoult, Tye Sheridan, Sophie Turner, Alexandra Shipp and Kodi Smit-McPhee) is Jessica Chastain as Smith.

Check out the trailer below:


The trailer is better than the teaser trailer that debuted a few months ago. The movie still looks a bit underwhelming, but I still enjoyed at least two scenes in the trailer: The first in which Jean Grey/Dark Phoenix is trying to crush Magneto's head using his helmet and the second in which Eric uses his mutant powers on the machine guns for an all out assault on the titular character.

Yes, I am a big fan of Michael Fassbender's Magneto and his performance continues to be the highlight of the series. Despite the fact that he does not look as invested in the role as in the previous movies (especially X-Men: First Class and X-Men: Days of the Future Past), still he manages to own the screen as the Master of Magnetism.

As for the rest of the trailer, the movie seems to suffer in production values. Looks like Fox was not sure about the movie and made severe budget cuts. The results are obvious and the movie often gives off the vibes of being staged and executed like a TV show. Further, Simon Kinberg is making his directorial debut and may not have the experience to pull off a comic book based  movie which is not only epic but whose main character literally wields cosmic powers.


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Among the actors, only Jessica Chastain looks to be having fun. Most of the other cast members either look too serious or seem to be phoning it in. Even the always reliable James McAvoy seems to be on autopilot mode.

Here is what I made of the plot: Jean Grey is manifesting her Dark Phoenix personality and Smith is mentoring/manipulating her. When the X-Men try to reason with her, she (mistakenly) kills Mystique. This would explain the cemetery scene with Beast (who goes on to join Magneto's team), Quicksilver having a go at the Dark Phoenix and most importantly, Magneto forming his new Brotherhood of Mutants to take down the woman, who is responsible for Mystique's death. As can be expected, Prof X tries to stop the baddies from harming his beloved student and has Cyclops and other fellow minded folks to help him on his mission.

Speaking of Mystique, I am glad that the movie (hopefully) does away with her. I have nothing against the character per se, but am not a big fan of the way in which Fox made her the lead character just because of the actress who played the role. Mystique is a great character and I genuinely loved Rebecca Romijn as the blue skinned shape shifting mutant in the original trilogy. I especially loved how they portrayed Mystique: as an integral part of Magneto's team and her animosity towards Prof X and his X-Men.

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Jennifer Lawrence's Mystique neither has the necessary physique to pull off the character nor does her character arc is loyal to the comics. Since the last movie, Jennifer Lawrence has been in full Katniss Everdeen mode spouting motivational speeches like: Let's go to war”, “You are not students any more. You are X-Men!”. It is just pure nonsense on the part of the studios to have her train the X-Men (Scott Summers/Cyclops is always the leader of the X-Men in my humble opinion) and she should definitely not be the moral compass/role model that Storm (yes the great weather controlling Ororo Munroe herself) should look up to for inspiration. I mean what would Black Panther say to that?

So hopefully this movie would get rid of this monstrosity and cleanse our palate. Simon Kinberg may not be Bryan Singer, but if he kills off this version of Mystique, he earns brownie points.


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Plus give me a few great action sequences of Magneto vs Jean Grey/Dark Phoenix and I am sold on this movie. Fingers crossed that Simon Kinberg and his crew/actors can pull of a miracle and give a proper send off to what has been (for the most part) a great and enjoyable movie franchise. Kind of what Logan did for Wolverine.

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Image Sources: 20th Century Fox Film Corporation, Bad Hat Harry Productions, Donners' Company, Marvel Entertainment, TSG Entertainment