The comic book industry is one of those things that once your attached to it you are hard pressed to move away from it. From the comics, the toys, the cartoons and all the clothing. There is a magnetism that just draws you to it. I want to be a superhero. And that is undeniable the truth.
We are really blessed to live in an era where all the things that we’ve read about are now capable of being created for our big screen enjoyment. But that also means that sometimes it’s not to our enjoyment. Film is one of the most open and versatile mediums ever. You can create ANYTHING in film now. George Lucas said it best. “Anything I can imagine, I can create”. Now that is a statement every writer, artist, director and producer has always thought to themselves. Now it’s possible. And that’s a good thing right?. Sometimes, not so much. Every idea is not a good idea. All stories are not created equal. And all superhero films are NOT good.
We pride ourselves on being fans. On loving all the things made by the powers that be; by those that dictate the way we see our heroes. But should we just sit passively and not even have an opinion of the media we consume?! Yes I love comics. Yes I love superheroes. But should I just mindlessly watch whatever is put in front of me, when I know it should be better? My answer is no. Many fans and viewers say it’s no big deal. That people like myself take all this way too serious. OK I’ll take that. I do. Not just because I’m a fan and love these characters. But I also liken myself to a creator. A writer. And an artist. No I’m not one of those guys doing it. Not right now anyway. Give me a job why don’t you. Although that will not keep me from having a say in the matter. I’ve been quiet for a long time. Keeping my conversations to barbershop banter and comic book group discussions. But this last bit of news just hit me over the head. And like my friend Popeye says, “That’s all I can stand and I cant’s stands no more”.
When you hear the words “SHAZAM” what is it that comes to your mind? Is it the orphan boy? The man that he transforms into, that so many equate to a knock off Superman? Or the wizard that gave him his powers? For me it is all these things and so much more. Captain Marvel or should I say Shazam is not a knock off of The Man of Steel. He is Earths Mightiest Mortal. An ideal of magic giving a boy his fondest wish. To be strong and wise. To have the ability to defend yourself. To be able to fly. The story of Shazam is not only a superhero story but also of wish fulfillment and magic.
It is a child’s wish of a better life. Of being better and wanting to be a hero…….like Superman. This is one half of the core of Billy Batson’s story. The other half is far from Superman and much closer to Wonder Woman. MAGIC is the other half of the driving force of Shazam. More myth than sci-fi, here is where we get a close look at the difference between Kal’El and Billy.
Greek mythology breaths into this world a life that a child can only dream of. As I have continually said he is NOT Superman. This is the meaning of SHAZAM!
S – for the wisdom of Solomon
H – for the strength of Hercules
A – for the stamina of Atlas
Z – for the power of Zeus
A – for the courage of Achilles
M – for the speed of Mercury
All of these cool mythical heroes rolled into a little kid. Pre-teen or whatever the case. DC Comics and WB have a chance to do something neither themselves or Marvel has yet to do. In my opinion the blue print for Shazam has already been laid out in two movie franchises. Of course the first is Superman because of the similarities. But we also find a world of magic with a kid that’s the”chosen one”. Does that sound familiar. Harry Potter. That element of child wonder, magic, Greek mythology and the ideal of the ultimate Super Hero is perfect for the Power of Shazam. The possibilities are boundless. Just a side note. As Billy progresses through the movie we should see how each power works individually and cooperatively. And we hear just a whisper of the wizard speak the power , “The Speed of Mercury” and then Shazam does something in epic fashion. Ultimately this would be done in the Final climax of the film.What is a hero without a villain?! Of course Black Adam was cut from the film as Shazam’s nemesis and okay I can live with that. But we should definitely see him in the first part of the film. Ground work should be laid for the myth of Shazam. We should see Dwayne Johnson as Black Adam rampaging through Egypt. Shaman the Wizard must stop him and seal him away until another champion of mankind is chosen. Then we get Billy Batson running from the cops. There has to be something hardcore to bring this orphan kid to understand what this is all about. The villain of the film would be Dr. Sivana of course. With the age of all things technological and digital that we live in we could see technology vs magic. And he should not share his power.
And now for the part everyone has been waiting for. As of this writing Zachary Levi has been chosen to play the role of Shazam. Personally I don’t really care for it. Lets tell the truth. We all have our own pick for every super hero. But when you look at all the comic book media being created you wonder is anybody looking at the great scheme of things. Its like are the television executives talking to the film executive!? When creating these giant films companies tend to stagger at staying true to medium. And say that because these characters have been around for decades. There is enough source material to make what ever has been in ANY comic a reality. Now Zack Levi may be perfect. But this is my pick……
Alan Michael Ritchson. Most of the comic geeks would know him from his portrayal of Aquaman in Smallville. The Hunger Games. Or even the CGI version of him in the latest Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles films as Raphael. Many people would probably be like, what!?!?; that dude. But look at his body of work. Look at what he is doing “right now”. And then take a very close look at him. I mean Google him. And look at him. Listen to him talk. Now look at Shazam. We can save the rest for another conversation. But playing Hawk in The Titans television show is a COMPLETE WASTE of this actor. Well that is in my meager opinion. Ritchson is just the perfect fit. He has been a few heroes before. He’s going to be once again. If an obscure one. He already has the build of a superhero. As for being Shazam; he has similar shaped eyes like Shazam has. And it also pays homage to the original design. Also Alan Ritchson has the killer smile which is also a staple of Captain Marvel. All he would have to do is dye his hair and Alakazam you would have the perfect version of C.C. Beckett’s Big Red Cheese.
When you look to pull an icon off the pages of any book we must consider the spirit of character we are trying to bring to life. Look toward the writers and artist that have shown us the heart and soul of the heroes. We may have our own vision of what is to be brought to the masses in the big screen. But we should not neglect to keep the purity and power of what has come before. Whether it be the Dark Knight of Gotham, The Fastest Man Alive from Central City or the Last Son of Krypton, let us remember that these are Heroes. That these are Icons. They were created for us to look up to. To hope. And to dream. As these comic book superheroes are brought to life let us not forget that they were made to be the best of us, that we might learn to be the best of us. And SOAR……