As far as final shots in superhero films go, Shazam! climaxed on one helluva doozy. I barely had time to realize the image in my mind, and already I was violently anticipating the inevitable sequel. Apparently, this was not a unique occurrence. The film may have ranked lower than any previous DC comic book movie, but it still managed to top box office attendance for the weekend and stoke the fires for future stories. Just say the word.
Shazam! is a darn good time at the movies, and in the coming months, our enthusiasm for its good nature will only grow stronger. Zachary Levi beams as the Champion born from The Wizard’s magic name and his placement next to other titans like Aquaman and Wonder Woman can only elevate the joy that Warner Bros. is obviously looking to capture in its current market strategy. For those seeking shelter from the gloomy rainclouds of Gotham City, Shazam! is the new icon to worship. Sequels are gonna crush.
As reported by The Wrap, a second chapter is well on its way, and writer Henry Gayden will return with director David F. Sandberg expected to follow suit. The DC films are riding high in the cultural conversation right now, and they’re looking to maintain audience enthusiasm with equally good cheer. As presented in the first solo outing, there is any number of arenas Part !! could stray, so, as much as we may want to bring the ever-promised Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson into the fisticuffs as Black Adam, I’d argue they should focus primarily on what this first film already firmly delivered.
↓Shazam! Spoilers Below↓
First off, that final shot. Superman sidles next to Shazam during Freddy’s lunch hour, revealing the picked-upon kid’s genuine connections with the superhero community and establishing him as the raddest person in the whole darn school. The Man of Steel’s presence in a Shazam! sequel could be a gravitational pull impossible to rip free from, and the best bet is to relegate Clark Kent to a supporting-supporting player. Think Iron Man in Spider-Man: Homecoming.
Who knows how Shazam struck up his first conversation with Superman, and that’s as good a place as any to start the next film. Did Henry Cavill call it quits on playing the character? Reports seem to indicate yes, but his Instagram account says something altogether different. If we make enough noise, we can make sure that Cavill receives the joyous Superman appearance he was always destined to encapsulate.
Freddy guided Shazam in his quest to be a proper superhero, and Superman will have to take him all the way to Justice League status. Shazam can’t be Supes’ sidekick but can aspire to be worthy of breaking bread between him, Aquaman, and Wonder Woman. That means he has to prove that he can hold his own against world-ending catastrophes, and then he’ll square off against Black Ada- no, no, no, not yet.
We got to deal with that mid-credits stinger first. Dr. Thaddeus Sivana (Mark Strong) is trapped in his cell, scrawling his madness upon the walls, and blithering like a sore loser. He’s desperately searching for the right combination of magic symbols that will return him to the Rock of Eternity where his BFFs, the Seven Deadly Sins, are imprisoned. From a corner of the room, we hear the laughter of a little worm, “Oh, what fun we’re going to have together. The Seven Realms are about to be ours.”
Mister Mind crawls into frame. He’s a treacherous alien caterpillar from Venus determined to not only take over our reality but the six others that are known to exist. Mister Mind once called the Rock of Eternity his prison as well, and he’ll find a zealous partner in Dr. Sivana. Together they should be twice the danger of the original encounter. Expect more CGI spectacle mixed with truly odd, old-fashioned comic book imagery. But hell, that’s what Shazam is, and we frickin’ adore him for it. I say more capes, more tassels, more talking animals.
Shazam could call on Superman for backup, but that would defeat his Justice League proof of worth. Instead, he should call on a little help from his friends. The Shazam Family, compromised of Freddy, Mary, Pedro, Darla, and Eugene, barely had an opportunity to flex their muscles during the first film’s showdown. Shazam! 2 needs to give them more room to breathe… or fly and punch. They made quick work of the Seven Deadly Sins, so whatever monstrous society of evil Sivana and Mister Mind concoct must be of a greater threat level.
Enter, Black Adam. He’s not the two-dimensional black and white villain a la Sivana or Mister Mind, and as such he should not be wasted on a third act brawl. As The Wizard explained to Billy Batson (Asher Angel), there was once a champion who lacked a pure heart and destroyed the other council members that ruled over the Rock of Eternity. We never get a good look at his face, but his magical projection bares a strong resemblance to Black Adam and tracks with what we know about the character from the comic books.
Teth-Adam was an Egyptian slave who revolted against his station. He and his nephew Aman find their way to the Rock of Eternity to seek freedom. The Wizards grant Aman the power of Shazam and Adam’s nephew releases all the slaves but refuses to bestow death on their oppressors. Adam is disgusted by Aman’s righteousness and murders his nephew in a fit of rage. Adam steals the magic of Shazam for himself and disappears.
What’s really going on behind the scenes at Warner Bros. is anybody’s guess, but I’m still expecting Johnson to get his solo movie before he ever enters a Shazam sequel. Shazam! 2 should build to a climax that makes way for that epic confrontation with a freeze frame final shot that seals the deal and prepares us for a full-on Justice League vs. Black Adam punch-out as the trilogy capper.