Earlier this week it was revealed that Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson will be playing none other than Black Adam in the upcoming Shazam film by New Line and Warner Brothers. The news came and shook the internet, with fans cheering at the casting (mainly due to this casting being one of the most consisting fan-castings fans have ever seen).
But quickly after it was revealed, a rumor came about that seemingly indicated that this film may not be connected to the upcoming Justice League film, and the over all continuity that is currently being set up.
The rumor began with the quote from New Line Cinema’s president Toby Emmerich where he said:
It feels to me like Shazam will have a tone unto itself. It’s a DC comic, but it’s not a Justice League character, and it’s not a Marvel comic. The tone and the feeling of the movie will be different from the other range of comic book movies.
Despite the report back in January from Latino-Review indicating that the “rumored” character that Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson would be playing, now we know to be Black Adam, would be included in the upcoming Justice League film, somehow fans took the idea that the “Tone” would be different was an indicator that the film would have its own continuity, at least according to Screencrush that is. But even if it does, even if Shazam is separate from the rest of the DC films, does that really matter?
As mentioned previously in my editorial about the Multiverse, the biggest drawback to forcing a shared continuity between TV and Films is that it would limit what could be done with that property. Obviously this applies far greater to the TV/Movie continuity that was shown with Marvel’s Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. and how limited the show felt during its initial first Season, but the same could be seen with Marvel’s films.
Don’t get me wrong, I love the current MCU Continuity, but the biggest draw to these films felt like it was that shared universe aspect far more than the story itself, take IRON MAN 2 as the biggest example of this. Fans cited that this film felt like the primary prologue to The Avengers rather than a sequel to IRON MAN, and many reviews reflected this. Instead of allowing the film to stand on its own, Marvel rushed the inclusion of the Avengers plotline, and the film itself suffered. While many argue that the inclusion of Nick Fury, Black Widow, and the Avengers plotline did help, over all it created a far greater convoluted storyline. The recent success of Guardians Of The Galaxy can also be seen as a direct reflection of Marvel getting it right, the film included little to no throwbacks or references, except Thanos, to the remaining MCU, thus creating a film that anyone can watch, even if they haven’t seen the previous Marvel films.
DC has been holding off and waiting to make their move, but one thing is clear, if DC wants to prove they are different from Marvel, they should avoid those exact pitfalls.
Right now, the big superhero film trend is the coveted “shared universe,” and in some ways it acts as a two-edged sword. The MCU has been successful, but it has also created a divide with fans. Before, fans would watch and love, or despise, each comic book film based on the individual quality of that film, and now Sony and Fox are getting heavy flack for not allowing their characters to cross-over into the avengers.
I would love to see the full JUSTICE LEAGUE appear on screen in all its glory. The greatest advantage that DC has over Marvel is that all of their properties are owned by ONE studio, and not divided among several. But that shouldn’t be turned into a fall back plot device that causes the stories told in these to suffer thanks to an over reliance on that one aspect.
Let the stories exist on their own if they should, and if they can connect, let them. Leave in the nods and references that exist in the comics, but don’t turn every film into a cross-over event, that would get old fast.