Is Shazam! Worth Your Time?

Shazam! is a very fun, likable, superhero film! One of the best in the DCEU!

Shazam! (not the music app on your phone) was directed by David F. Sandberg and stars Zachary Levi. The best way to describe this movie is the superhero version of Big, starring Tom Hanks. In this film, young Billy Batson is a foster child who was abandoned by his mother when he was very young, and now roams from place to place looking for his mother once again, while running off from all the foster homes who attempt to take care of him. However, he one day gets zapped away while on a subway in Philadelphia, and meets the wizard Shazam who quickly informs Billy that he needs to transfers his powers to him in order to fight an oncoming threat. When the wizards manages to do so, Billy finds that he now becomes a god like super hero whenever he yells the word “Shazam!”. Not knowing how to handle these powers, he gets help from his roommate, Freddy Freeman, who helps him test out what powers he does and doesn’t have.

Shazam! was a ton of fun! Super light hearted, very funny, and very touching. This seems to be the DCEU film with the most amount of heart and thought placed into it. I still think Aquaman is better for its technical scope and as an epic action film, but Shazam! is a better film altogether, despite its down to earth setting.

The film doesn’t really boast much visual grandeur. Instead, it simply gives the audience a good experience.

Shazam! definitely seems to be a movie that is more concerned with developing its characters and its themes rather than boasting grand action scenes with elaborate cinematography. I will say, at times I was disappointed as I wish this film could have more epic action scenes and grand shots, but I really admired the characters and the journeys they all went through. Billy Batson is a very likable character that I found myself rooting for given his snarky personality and tragic backstory. Freddy Freeman was a character I really admired as I found myself oftentimes relating to him, which was a pleasant surprise. He tries to be very funny and in your face, but ends up coming off as aggressive which is a struggle I know many kids can definitely relate to. These two characters essentially make up this entire film. The relationships Billy develops with every character, in fact, is really the bread and butter of this film. It was really fun seeing Billy Batson as “Shazam” as he does many things that a fourteen year old boy would absolutely do if he was able to transform into an adult himself. Although many of these moments are expected and even at times obvious, having the added factor of him being a super hero as well made these moments not feel tired.

After seeing this film I was able to discern a trend that seems to be going on in many Hollywood films. Many of these films disguise themselves as Hollywood blockbusters, but actually end up serving as coming of age comedies instead. The first instance I would say where I noticed this recent trend was in Spider-Man: Homecomig and Bumblebee, and Shazam! seems to follow in that trend. When I realized this is what has been happening in films recently, I initially wasn’t sure what to think. One the one hand this is a flawed concept as we go to coming of age comedies and blockbuster films on different occasions depending on the mood, but it also serves as an opportunity to present some very clever and creative stories that could potentially be interesting on a budget. Personally, I probably wouldn’t make a movie like this because I think what makes them both work are very different, but I can understand that from a business decision, this makes sense. My one hope for this trend going forward, however, is that they can manage to properly mix the tones that these movies intend to present so that it doesn’t feel uneven. That’s been my main issue with these movies so far, and that is my main issue with Shazam!. The characters and the struggles they go through are great, but it undermines the action at times. It’s almost as if the action really isn’t given a ton of time to shine, which is unfortunate. With that being said, I’m curious to see the route in which these movies will take, and I even support it.

So do I think you should See Shazam?

Yes, I absolutely think you should see Shazam! at some point if you haven’t already. I know that will be challenging as Avengers: Endgame is right around the corner, and this movie came out about a month ago, but I feel that it is at some point worth your time. The movie is an absolute delight from start to finish and I think it is a great time for all. The characters are great, the story can get very interesting and even at times dark, and the action scenes, while not spectacular, are fun and offer some fun surprises too. If you are concerned because you feel DC has never made a good movie in their own cinematic universe, I think you’ll find yourself enjoying this one. From the reviews I’ve seen, it has even the toughest of film critics cheering and on board, which is awesome!

Written by: Christian Scognamillo

Rocket Con at the Scottish Rite Event Center

Rocket Con

Last weekend the annual San Diego Rocket Con attracted cosplayers and comic book fanatics over to the Scottish Rite Event Center.

This year the Comic Convention has expanded to a two day weekend to showcase art and comics for the community. Chase Lirley originally started the idea of Rocket Con along with his dad after visiting other cons themselves and thought they would put their own spin on it while supporting local artist.

“We love supporting local artists, and we love supporting the local community because we want to be a local con. But at the same time, it’s been great this year because we reached a little further. We got people from Vegas, people from Arizona, all coming in and selling things so even if someone were to go to every single Comic-Con in San Diego, they would get to see newer things here.”

Chase Lirley

Local artists also showed appreciation for the opportunity to show off their art. Emerald Moss, AKA Milky Art, has always had support, but just needed the platform to show off the art she created.

“When I was younger I didn’t even think I could go to conventions. I didn’t think that was something within the realm of possibilities. Before, I really wished I could do something like that, and you know what, my parents, my mom, and my grandma, they were there my whole life and they were really supportive from the moment I told them. Even when I asked ‘Do you guys I think I could do something with my art?’ they were there behind me”.

Emerald Moss

Benjamin Baakar, head of Vandal Priest, thinks that conventions are important in other ways.

“Conventions are very important. We do a lot of networking online and that’s cool but you want to be in front of the people. You want people to have hands-on experience with your art… Seeing it on a screen is cool, but seeing it in person, having it tangibly in front of you, that’s where you get that real connection… If your not owning your craft then you need to be learning something towards your craft “

Benjamin Baakar

At the convention, many of the comic books featured one key character: Wolverine from the X-men comics. This was a character that Joe Rubinstein has drawn many times. Rubinstein came to the United States at an early age and found a love for comics after seeing the collection and the passion his older cousins had for the medium. Rubinstein began his career at the age of 11 in New York as an assistant and worked his way up until he got his first professional job at only 17 with DC Comics. At 19, he transferred over to Marvel Comics. While speaking about his experience of being an artist, Rubinstein stated:

While you should be your own artist and have your own taste, pretty much everything you’re doing has been done before. And don’t reinvent the wheel, learn the lessons of the Masters and never forget that everything is based on reality. Try and study real life. Real people. Real everything… I’ve been brought to Kuwait and Harrison Spain, all because I draw pictures… [but] most human beings don”t get asked for their autograph and get told that you were special to their childhoods, or asked ‘Can I take my picture with you?’ Overall, it is very gratifying.”

Joe Rubinstein

Foregoing a panel featuring past Power Rangers, Smash Brothers tournaments, and action figures, the weekend of Rocket Con came and went. Although it’s over, next year’s Rocket Con is something to look forward to for comic book lovers and artists alike.

Written by: Antonio Marquez

WONDER WOMAN TO DC’S RESCUE

Has DC done it?

Has DC FINALLY got the movie that will save their franchise?

Just a couple days ago, the studio finally released the full length trailer for the stand alone movie for our wondrous heroine, with the release date of June 2nd, 2017. As if her first appearance in Batman vs. Superman didn’t get the audiences alike hyped enough, now her trailers finally have the fans rejoicing.

From the introduction of possible antagonists and baddies, to our love interest played by Chris Pine, the trailer doesn’t fail to highlight Gal Gadot in action as our Amazonian warrior.

Wonder Woman (2017) Chris Pine and Gal Gadot

(Source: Entertainment Weekly)

We not only see her beautiful homeland, but her many Amazonian sisters and the assembly of her famous suit. As well as a mysterious woman, with what seems to be like a doll-like mask on her face. Many have speculated her to be Dr. Poison, a villain seen in the comic books as a man (now portrayed by Elena Anaya) who has vast knowledge of various and deadly poisons.

elena-anaya-wonder-woman-752x440

(Source: DC Studios via themovieblog.com)

So back to the question at hand: is this enough to help raise DC from the ashes that was Batman vs. Superman?

Even die hard Marvel fans have to give DC their props, as the recent Doctor Strange trailers and clips haven’t nearly conjured the amount of support and hype that Wonder Woman did in her full length trailer. And that’s with the premiere of Doctor Strange on November 4th, and with reviews that are fairly decent and even claim that the movie will do well!

But because of all the controversy and bad press this movie has gotten throughout the lead up of its premiere, it looks like fans may be giving this Marvel movie a hard pass. (Not this gal though, you can expect to see me in the theaters regardless.) On top of this, it doesn’t help that Marvel has had very little success in the recent portrayals of female protagonists on the big screen, with their small screen heroines being their lone exception. (i.e. Jessica Jones)

So it’s fair to say, that DC has a considerably clean slate, in that aspect. Not only will they be the first to have a female lead in her own stand alone movie, but it also is a chance to gain back those fans they may have lost in their recent movies. In my opinion, as I love both franchises, I think DC NEEDS Wonder Woman to go well. This movie may very well be their saving grace if all goes well, or the last nail in their coffin if they fail.

But what do you think? Does DC finally have the upper hand on Marvel? Will Wonder Woman save the day, or will DC let us down once more? Let us know!

And, if you found this topic interesting, or at the very least appreciate my subtle nerdy references and puns, I host an evening talk show on Saturdays at 7 PM PST! The show is called “Bingeworthy”, and I cohost the show with my friend Kentaro Kawasaki. Come tune in Saturday nights and follow us on Facebook/Instagram/Twitter/Soundcloud at @KCRBingeworthy.

(Header Picture: Source – DC Studios via mercwithamovieblog.com)