Bru’s Reviews – TWO-FER: SHAZAM! THE ORIGINAL CAPTAIN MARVEL BESTS MARVEL’S CAPTAIN MARVEL April 8, 2019 – Posted in: Blog, Bru's Reviews – Tags: action movie, Avengers, brie larson, captain marvel, cc beck, clark gregg, Comics, dc, fantasy, funny, justice league, marvel, mavel vs. dc, Nick Fury, sam jackson, shazam, Superman, suspense, zach levi
All original written content is (c) 2018 Mike Pascale. Visual content is (c) its respective owners. Bru-Hed art is ©2012 and a trademark of All Ages Media and Mike Pascale.
Wrap your geek head around this! The original Captain Marvel (a kid who became a guy in a red and yellow uniform with a lightning bolt on his chest) was introduced in 1940 and ended up outselling Superman, so DC sued the publisher, Fawcett, claiming he was a ripoff of Supes. DC won and put ’em out of the comic-book business. (Fawcett ended up publishing paperback books).
In 1967, Marvel came out with their cosmic Captain Marvel (aka Mar-Vell, an alien Kree warrior dude ina green and white outfit), which continued thru the ’70s and they trademarked. So in 1972 when DC licensed the Fawcett version (basically admitting he really wasn’t a Supes ripoff after all), they published new adventures of him under the title SHAZAM!, the name of the Wizard who granted his powers (which alter ego Billy Batson yells to become CM; “Shazam” stands for Solomon (wisdom), Hercules (strength), Atlas (stamina), Zeus (power), Achilles (courage) and Mercury (speed)).
According to Wikipedia, DC bought all of Fawcett’s characters in 1991. Marvel cancelled their Captain Marvel but brought it back a gazillion times to keep the trademark, first in their first graphic novel to kill him, then as a black woman (Monica Rambeau), then at least two alien-white guys (including the first guy’s son), a white alien woman, another white alien guy, and eventually the current white Earth woman, Carol Danvers, who was the girlfriend of the first guy and is now besties with Monica who in the film is just a normal Air Force pilot.
Finally, around 2013, DC said the heck with this dual Marvel thing and with a relaunch of their “universe,” officially changed theirs to “Shazam.”
Got all that? (If so, please explain it to me before my head explodes.)
Anyway, a month after Marvel’s female Captain Marvel flick, DC’s finally has finally showed up. Though late, Marvel’s is still in theaters so here are Quickies of both. First, Marvel’s Captain:
Screenplay by committee: Anna Boden & Ryan Fleck & Geneva Robertson-Dworet from a story by Nicole Perlman & Meg LaFauve and Anna Boden & Ryan Fleck & Geneva Robertson-Dworet (whew!). Directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck.
Initial character created by Stan Lee and Gene Colan.
- Good cast (Brie “KONG: SKULL ISLAND” Larson, Samuel “90s Nick Fury without the patch” Jackson, Clark “AGENTS OF SHIELD/AVENGERS” Gregg, Jude “FANTASTIC BEASTS: CRIMES OF GRINDELWALD, SHERLOCK HOLMES” Law, Ben “READY PLAYER ONE” Mendelsohn, etc.) Larson is hot, both in and out of costume (that is, in civvies…unfortunately this flick is only PG-13 and not because of any nudity). There is typical Marvel humor, Stan Lee’s (final?) cameo, tons of action, great FX and important life lessons learned. Cat lovers will adore her scene-stealing feline. Great “girl power/female empowerment” stuff for the enlightened. Artists & writers credits. Lots of ’90s references/easter eggs. Good bad guy twists, and tie-in to AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR/ENDGAME. The usual two credits/post-credits scenes.
- Tons of flashbacks, one withan alien voiceover and a couple of which are shown several times from different perspectives with additional info, which gets confusing and breaks up the action/forward momentum. Same with some of the Skrull twists.
- Don’t piss off a Flerkin. Keeping all the versions of Danvers’ memories straight.
If you’ve seen most or all of the Marvel flicks in the theater, this one fits right in and is worth the dough for the effects. (But I will rent a version for home viewing so I can pause and rewind certain scenes. Did I mention “side-boob”?) Since this Cap apparently plays an important role in the Avengers sequel next month, you should see this before that. And ya can never have too much Fury or Coulson!
NOW FOR DC’S CAPTAIN MARVEL, AKA SHAZAM!:
Screenplay by Henry Gayden from a story by Gayden and Darren Lemke. Directed b David F. Sandberg (LIGHTS OUT, ANNABELLE).
Initial character created by Bill Parker and C.C. Beck.
- Hilarious and fun! The humor is perfect and genuinely funny. Cap is really just 14/15-year-old Billy with an adult body and acts like it. Excellent cast (Zachery “CHUCK/MARVELOUS MRS. MAISEL” Levi as Cap, Jack Dylan “IT” Glazer as Freddy Freeman, Faithe Herman as Darla, Mark “KINGSMAN/JOHN CARTER/GREEN LANTERN” Strong as Dr. Sivana, etc.) Especially loved the “Big Red Cheese” with Freddy and lil’ sis Darla. Nice touch to have Djimon “GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY” Hounsou as wizard Shazam, as he’s also in Marvel’s CAPTAIN MARVEL. Quick cameo in the foreground of Mr. Mind in the first subway scene. Great scenes of powers discovery as well as battles. Pretty heavy life lessons so it’s not totally one-dimensional. Some pretty fun and cool DC (and even Fawcett) easter eggs. A marvelous family. Major creators credited. Two credits/post-credits scenes.
- Some typically DC darkness pervades: opening sequence and with the bad guy and his violence later on; monsters chowing on people (without blood, though). Some of the mom search/foster family stuff may bore some action-seekers like moi. No tie-in with the 1940s serial and no Mr. Tawny the talking tiger (yet).
- No one should ever spit out beer, even if they’re teens. Super-dumb move changing the superhero’s name to Shazam…which must make it tough to introduce himself without changing back to Batson (don’t say it too loud)!
Fer yer pal Bru, the most enjoyable and probably the best DC flick yet. [MIKE: Co-creator C.C. Beck would hate this updated version–he would want an animated G-rated one.] Not too dark, not too serious. Basically a Marvel film. (If ya can’t beat ’em, be like ’em.) I liked it more than CAPTAIN MARVEL just for the humor and characters, despite Marvel’s T&A. I bet the Bluray/DVD will have some great and fun extras (like hopefully a gag reel) so I may also BUY IT. But certainly theater-worthy.
P.S.: Want your own Captain Marvel–ANY version? Pascale can draw a great one for you to decorate your wall or inspire you to yell his/her name. Get some art and get a 20 percent discount if you mention this review.
Just ask Craig here!