Monday, August 13, 2007

Separated at birth? Shazam and Thor

Imagine, if you will, that it is Summer 2008. You’re in the movie theatre, eagerly anticipating viewing The Dark Knight. You’re so excited that you only half pay attention to a trailer.

In this trailer, we see a crowded city street, bustling with human activity. It is a warm summer day, bright and cloudless. Without warning, a band of creatures that can only be described as demons swarm out of the sky and begin attacking. Despite it being a cloudless sky, there is a sudden crack of thunder and lightning, and a powerfully built figure appears, throwing himself into battle with the demons.

Cool! You think to yourself. A trailer for the new Shazam! movie. You are, after all, a discriminating viewer of comic-book related films – you must be, you read this blog – and know that despite the fact that the character is named Captain Marvel, DC/Time Warner/AOL aren’t allowed to use that name in the publicity materials.

But wait just one moment. As the action solidifies, you realize that the hero on-screen doesn’t have raven-black hair – he has long, flowing, golden locks. He isn’t wearing red, except for on his cape. And in his hands is a large stone hammer.

That’s right kids – it’s not a trailer for Shazam! at all. It’s a trailer for The Mighty Thor, directed by Mathew Vaughn.

Now, superhero films are hot right now – even with the disappointing results of Spider-Man 3 and Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer. And I’m sure that developing a film for Thor is simply a case of “Who’s next?” after handling Spider-Man, the Hulk, the Fantastic Four, Ghost Rider, Iron Man and the Punisher. But the coincidence of announcing it so shortly after Shazam has been announced just strikes me as a little convenient.

I mean, it’s not like there are any similarities between Thor and Captain Marvel. One is a god, the other gets his power from seven gods. They both have an alter-ego that involves changing form into a significantly weaker body (a child and a crippled doctor). Their transformation involves thunder and lightning each. And they need a focus for that transformation (Thor/Donald Blake’s hammer/cane and Billy Batson’s magic word). They both have an older, more powerful figure who guides them (Odin, the wizard Shazam).

Hmmm. Ok, maybe they are similar.

In any case, I’m actually excited about both properties – at least potentially. If nothing else, I imagine they’ll be better than SuperMAX.

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Blogger Brandon said...

*Comment on how unfair it is that my favorite hero gets a hack-job for a movie and another B-lister gets his own, even when it's made more obscure because they can't use his name*

(now that that's out of the way)

I thought of a way that they could do SuperMax that wouldn't have to suck. Make it feature Catman and turn it into some kind of Villains United/Secret Six kind of thing. Little else would have to change plot-wise. Honestly, the idea of a prison break movie based in comic books with plenty of obscure villain references could be a lot of fun, if they could just figure out how to do it properly.

1:17 PM  
Blogger Aaron said...

Jack Black starring as Green Lantern.

Nic Cage starring as Superman.

These are things I had to endure for many moons, which fortunately did not come to fruition.

Supermax may never be made.

And if it does? It doesn't sound like it'll automatically suck. It may be nothing like what you would hope for from a Green Arrow movie, but it's a decent plot and concept. If it was an arc of the Green Arrow comic, I'm sure you'd dig it. Heck, if it were Volume 2 of a Green Arrow movie trilogy, it probably wouldn't even bother you. You just want a movie where Ollie gets to be Green Arrow as you think of him, which Supermax won't be.

And Thor and Captain Marvel both have at least as much recognition potential as GA. Captain Marvel had serials and a TV show. Thor has had appearances on TV in the Hulk (terrible as it was), and in Adventures in Babysitting, and even a Visa commercial. Ollie has only had Justice League: Unlimited and Smallville.

All that said? I'd be fine with them doing that to Supermax - I'd dig a Catman movie. Especially since if Supermax is a hit, the hero who stars in it will probably get a sequel.

2:03 PM  
Blogger Brandon said...

You're right on nearly all accounts. Yes, as a story within a larger continuity, SuperMax would be a perfect GA story (regardless of the medium). Although, to clarify a point, yes I take issue with it not being Green Arrow as I see him. But more to the point, the reason I'm disappointed in the idea is that I want a GA movie, and this is a prison break movie starring Oliver Queen.

And I agree with you on Captain Marvel and GA recognition levels (I was just pointing out that B listers can get the green light for their own movie sometimes). And the possibility of a more traditional GA movie as a sequel (or even prequel) would make me squeal with fanboy glee.

However, if I remember correctly, there were some other points about the movie (writer, director, actors, etc...don't remember precisely what) that promised unfortunate things for the finished project.

P.S. Marvel had a TV show?

5:35 PM  
Blogger Aaron said...

Indeed. More than one, actually.

6:04 PM  
Blogger Tom said...

Captain Marvel also had more than one life in Filmation cartoons. And hey, his live action show had him back to back with Isis.

Green Arrow also made an appearance in a single episode of the first season of Superfriends. We... um... we try not to think too much about that one.

2:45 PM  

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