Tuesday, September 3, 2019

DCEU: Aquaman vs SHAZAM!

I spent the end of August back in the US. On the plane there, I watched Aquaman (finally). On the way back, I watched SHAZAM!. I'm going to discuss both briefly.

Aquaman had a lot of great visuals, some cool special effects/CGI, and some good action scenes. But the story was full of all the cliches we've been watching for years. In the end, I enjoyed the roller coaster ride the movie took me on, but I never really felt that sympathetic for any of the characters except for Arthur Curry's dad.

SHAZAM!, on the other hand, had some good effects/CGI, but some not so good ones as well. The action scenes were good and a lot of fun to watch, too. And while it had plenty of cliches, but goddamn if I didn't feel connected to Billy Batson and his foster family. Even though the movie has its flaws, I think it's the much stronger piece.

I think I've posted before about my feelings for the DCEU movies. If not, I'll give you a very brief opinion of each of the previous movies. Just my opinions. Feel free to disagree.

Man of Steel: boring, and Superman just didn't feel like Superman. Don't try to make him Batman. It just doesn't work.

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice: boring for the first half, thrilling to watch in the second half, but the character choices in that part of the movie were just all over the place.

Wonder Woman: finally one that wasn't boring! But despite all the praise it garnered as a "feminist" superhero film, I found it fell prey to too many of the traditional (masculine) tropes/cliches. It was good, but ultimately not such a satisfying film for me.

Justice League: started off well, but then sorta went off the deep end once Superman got resurrected. At least it added more humor than the other movies had.

So there's a steady progression of progress in the DCEU! Oh, is the Suicide Squad part of this? Still haven't seen it. Anyway, from Man of Steel to SHAZAM!, I see progress. So hopefully the movies they put out from now on (is The Flash film still a thing? Will they do a new Green Lantern?) will be at least as good, from a story standpoint, as SHAZAM! was.

I'll stick to the Arrowverse as my DC comics come to life fix, though.


  1. I'm wondering if it's just a matter of folks getting sick of the whole "superhero cinema" thing...the tropes and cliches are well-worn but they HAVE BEEN well worn, even from the beginning of the comic-film trend. It was simply delightful to see our comic heroes come to life on the big screen with remarkable special effects able to emulate more than Batman bag o tricks.

    Now that the awe and wonder has begun to pale, we are looking more critically at things like "story" and "character development" and find that it's simply not enough to slap an attractive actor in spandex and provide him/her with a love interest and a world-threatening menace.

    There's still decent "supers" stuff being made for TV/film, but it's all off-the-rails compared to traditional comic book fare.

  2. Maybe, but the majority of the MCU films have taken the effort to bring life to the characters, trying to keep them true to the comic origins, but also trying to treat them as real people. And I think they've done a great job with that overall.

    With DC, I think it was not so much "supers fatigue" as it was them trying to look at what's worked from a box office perspective (Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy) and thinking that that was what people wanted.

    Man of Steel was a lot worse for it, because what works for Batman doesn't work for Superman. What would work for Superman would be more similar to what works for Captain America.

    And while Batman is the most popular DC property, Superman really is the key figure in the Justice League.

    The DCEU Superman is just a half-step away from Homelander in The Boys. :D

    My take on it, anyway!

  3. Shazam has definitely been my favourite superhero movie since Christopher Reeve's first Superman movie. I prefer lots of bright scenes and costumes, and fewer, shorter, funnier fights.