Shazam is when DC films embrace the bright side of comic-book stories. Sure, Aquaman too had a vivid, radiant colour palette and a deluge of humour, but it still had that angst and grudge that modern superheroes seem to have (probably leftover from Batman v Superman).
Shazam, however, is an out-and-out delight of a film which harkens back to Christopher Reeve’s Superman — back when superhero films did not have to be “gritty” or “realistic”. It is full of joy and light and goodness. It does poke fun at the genre, but in a completely inoffensive way.
If you have not seen the movie and wish to, this is the point where you stop reading. This piece talks about a cameo by the Man of Steel himself, Superman, in the film, so there will inevitably be minor spoilers.
Yes, Superman does appear in the film. It is at the very end, when Mark Strong’s Dr Thaddeus Sivana is defeated and Freddy, once again, is eating his lunch alone. He is then again bullied by the usual suspects, but this time there is Shazam to his rescue, who not only comes and says how Freddy helped him realise his superpowers but also brings his buddy, which makes Freddy very happy indeed.
The buddy, as it turns out, is the Man of Steel himself. But, there is a catch. It is almost certainly not Henry Cavill. Because if it was him, we would have seen his face. Instead we just see the iconic blue tight suit (which does resemble the one Cavill wears) and the person who is wearing it can be seen only from the neck down.
It is not official yet, but Henry Cavill is likely out as Superman. This is because the DC Extended Universe (DCEU) itself has ceased to exist. The future movies will now be part of their own franchises and we will not see interconnected DC films à la the Marvel Cinematic Universe for years at least. After Justice League bombed at the box office, Warner Bros is looking to also focus on characters that are not necessarily Batman and Superman.
Also, Henry Cavill has taken up the titular role in Netflix’s The Witcher series, a role that would make him unavailable for other big projects for quite a while.
We believe this scene was written before Cavill was out, so director David F Sandberg decided to leave it in the final script, even if they could not show the face of Superman.
Shazam, starring Zachary Levi, Asher Angel, Jack Dylan Grazer and Mark Strong, is currently running in theaters.