Let’s Talk About “Shazam”

Let’s Talk About “Shazam” March 20, 2023

I went and saw Shazam: Fury of the Gods in early previews last week and I really enjoyed it. Like the first film, I felt that this was another solid entry into the D.C. cinematic universe. I found it to be a fun, highly engaging adventure that the entire family could enjoy. I definitely recommend this one if you’re looking to go to a movie theater for a fun experience.  After spending the weekend reading comments and watching social media outlets, I’m not alone in this. Many folks who watched the movie are saying the same thing. Some have even said they enjoyed it more than the first one.  However if you were to only look at news outlets, that’s not what headlines are saying.

Image courtesy of Warner Bros.

The Great Divide

Over the weekend I watched the entertainment news outlets and for the most part, they all seemed to state that the movie was a horrible entry into the D.C. Universe and was destined for nothing but mediocre failure. My news feed on several social media sites decried the abysmal numbers at the box office before the movie had even reached the second official day of release. However, many of the comments from people who had seen the movie showed people enjoying it.  In fact, as of Monday morning, March 20th, 2023, Rotten Tomatoes is currently sitting at a 52% critic’s score vs. 88% audience score.  Funny enough now, at time of publishing, it’s sitting at a 90% fresh rating with an 82% audience score. Guess it just took some time for those reviews to break through the weekend submissions.

Faith film audiences aren’t surprised when they see scores on various sites that seem to run in direct opposition between critics and the audience. This is usually when you hear the cry of ‘sending a message’ to Hollywood and often, you’ll see faith audiences get more passionate about their films. This will usually result in a better box office for faith films. But what about when you see it with a film that’s not only mainstream but considered a tentpole release for a studio? It remains to be seen how this will play out in the long run for the entire Shazam franchise.

Why the hate?

Right now there’s a discussion happening in some circles about whether this is a product of recent headlines about the D.C. Universe ( the slate being re-imagined and shuffled with many projects dropped completely) or if it’s a general exhaustion with comic book or superhero movies. Regardless of the reasons, there’s no doubt that negative headlines can have a decided impact on the box office of a film. This can also cause doubt for the future of a franchise and, in many ways, take it out of the hands of the fans. These headlines can create odd circular situations where media outlets put headlines and stories out there and when potential moviegoers see them, they decide against going to the film. This means those news stories have just become self-fulfillling prophecies.

The Impact

It feels a bit like the days of fans being able to push the needle on their favorite films and television shows are long gone. My career in film and television got a decided boost from my participation in a fan-led campaign to save a canceled science fiction show (Farscape). I’m proud to say that in that particular case, the fans made an impact and a revival mini-series (Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars) was produced to wrap up what should have been seasons 5 & 6 of the show. Are those days over now? Is it even possible to have that sort of impact in a noisy social media world? Honestly, I’m not completely sure. Social Media has given a strong voice to fans who are passionate about their entertainment choices. But it’s also given just as much power (if not more) to many of the media outlets as well. So, I’m curious to see how this all shakes in the upcoming weeks. Will the audience look at today’s numbers and decide it’s time to go see the film? Or will the naysaying headlines from over the weekend put a halt to any forward momentum the film might have had.  It will be interesting to see what the long term impact might be on Shazam: Fury of the Gods and the upcoming D.C. slate.

Either way, if you’re looking for a fun break away from the daily grind, I definitely recommend this one. It’s a lot of fun, still has the heart and passion of the first film, and it underscores the importance of team work and family. And if you do go, stay until the lights go up! There are two cut scenes at the end that you don’t want to miss.

About Lori Twichell
Lori Twichell is a screenwriter, publicist and marketing coordinator in the entertainment industry. You can read more about the author here.

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