5 Ways ‘Shazam!’ Connects To The Larger DC Extended Universe
Shazam! is the latest movie from Warner Bros. and DC Comics, as part of its larger DC Extended Universe (DCEU) of films. Shazam! features a pretty standalone story about one young boy who gets God-likes powers and has to find a way to deal with them. But despite the movie’s self-contained story, there are many elements of Shazam! that connect directly to the DCEU.
Shazam! is about the mythological story of a council of Wizards and its one remaining member, Shazam, who needs to find a champion to fight the Seven Deadly Sins that have been released by an evil Dr. Sivanna (Mark Strong.) He chooses a young boy, Billy Batson (Asher Angel), who is given all of his powers, causing him to transform into the grown-up superhero, Shazam (Zachary Levi). The story sees Sivanna’s need for power as he hunts down Shazam to take his powers as well. The rest of the movie is about how Shazam needs to find a way to defend himself and his new-found Foster family, while also becoming a hero on his own.
Shazam! definitely leans into its existence in the DCEU. This is mostly done through one specific character, Billy’s foster brother Freddy (Jack Dylan Grazer), who is a comic book and superhero nerd, and huge Superman and Batman fan.
So let’s look at the 5 ways that Shazam! directly ties into the larger DCEU.
Warning: Spoilers for Shazam! ahead.
The World Itself
As mentioned, Shazam! is set directly in the existing world of the DCEU. Which means that the events of movies like Man Of Steel, Batman V. Superman, Wonder Woman, Justice League, and Aquaman are completely canon in this universe. Audiences are mostly treated to this through the character of Freddy, who is a total comic book fanboy. So when Billy gets his powers, he comes to Freddy for help. Freddy uses his extensive knowledge of superheroes to run through all the formulas and tropes associated with a person accidentally gaining powers. This creates a great plot thread in the movie about Freddy taping Billy, as Shazam, discovering his powers through superhero tests.
While most genre movie universes seem to refuse to acknowledge that the genre itself exists, such as horror movie characters never identifying with horror movie tropes and just repeating the same formulaic actions, Shazam! not only acknowledges its own genre, but even uses it to great effect within the story. Freddy’s knowledge of superheroes and understanding the dynamics between good guy and bad guy eventually forces Shazam to deal with his own shortcomings in order to become a better hero. And none of it would be possible if the movie wasn’t set in the larger DCEU, with Freddy idolizing the superheroes in that world.
At the beginning of the movie, Freddy gives Billy a tour of his room and collectibles, which feature many superhero related items. One of his prized possessions is a replica of a batarang, a weapon used by Batman, as seen in Batman V. Superman and Justice League. The batarang is featured prominently afterward in the movie, as Freddy uses it to attack Dr. Sivanna, making Shazam realize when the bad guy was vulnerable. This is the same kind of batarang that the Flash (Ezra Miller) is seen fanboy-ing about in Justice League during his first meeting with Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck.)
The superhero trials that take place throughout the movie are mostly happening in what looks like an abandoned factory. Some of the tests include Shazam’s super strength, as he punches out a concrete pillar, tries teleportation, and discovers invulnerability to fire. However, as Screen Rant astutely points out, the factory where these tests are happening, ACE Chemicals, is the same as the one seen in Suicide Squad flashbacks, when Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) is seen jumping into a vat of chemicals to prove herself to Joker (Jared Leto).
The biggest tie-in to the larger DCEU, beyond references and merchandise, has to come in the final moments of the film. After being teased for admitting he knows Shazam, Freddy is ostracized at school when Shazam doesn’t show up. However, the last scene of the movie sees his foster family come to his rescue, along with Shazam himself, who brought a friend. The scene abruptly ends as audiences see a shot of the Man Of Steel himself, Superman, from the neck down only, in full Superman costume, walking towards Freddy, a self-proclaimed Superman fanboy.
As mentioned in a previous The Inquisitr report, one of the post-credits scene of Shazam! is a more joke scene, which shows Shazam talking to a goldfish. The scene ends with him mocking the ability to talk to fish. However, Freddy then reminds him of the entire third act of the DCEU film Aquaman, that saw Aquaman (Jason Momoa) get a legendary trident and command an entire ocean to victory against his brother, simply due to his ability to talk to fish. Not to mention the fake Aquaman 2 trailer, that the movie promoted for April Fool’s Day.
Shazam! is in theatres now.