If one had to single out the most sure-shot contemporary cinematic formula guaranteeing worldwide commercial success, the genre of Superhero films would be mentioned without fail. After a long series of flops, this film genre has reversed its fortunes post the 2000s, eventually growing into a massively dominant mainstream film genre worldwide. Reflecting the fantasy sub-genre’s noted narrative flexibility in its original comic book publishing format, the film sub-genre has been commercially successful under a wide variety of over arching cinematic genres such as action, horror, fantasy and comedy. Focusing on individuals who usually possess superhuman abilities, these films typically feature action, adventure, fantasy or science fiction, with special importance given to the makings of its titular characters- the origins of the character’s superpowers, and the confrontation of the character with its nemesis.
Based on the eponymous DC Comics character, ‘Shazam!’ is the seventh and latest addition to the DC Extended Universe. Established horror film director David F. Sandberg undertook the project from a screenplay by Henry Gayden. The film stars Asher Angel as Billy Baston, a teenage boy who can transform into an adult superhero played by Zachary Levi. In-spite of developments of this live-action superhero film beginning back in the early 2000s, it eventually got delayed. Another futile attempt to get the film made began when it went into pre-production in 2008, with director Peter Segal and writer John August helming the project and actor Dwayne Johnson being considered to star as the villain Black Adam.
Official announcement of ‘Shazam!’ took place in 2014, but due to the delayed process, it was not until 2017 that director David Sanberg came on-board. Principal photography began in Toronto, Ontario, Canada on January 29, 2018 with most of the film being shot at Pinewood Toronto Studios. In this list, I have given special attention to the genre of superhero films in my quest to identify movies, fans of ‘Shazam!’ might enjoy. Since superhero films are one of the most widely watched film genre in recent times, I have tried to compile a slightly more esoteric list of films. You can watch several of these movies like Shazam on Netflix, Hulu or Amazon Prime.
A superhero film devoid of the major banners ‘Marvel’, and ‘DC’, ‘Hancock’ does very well to find its own in the overcrowded sub-genre. Directed by Peter Berg, and starring Will Smith, Charlize Theron and Jason Bateman, the film tells the story of vigilante superhero, John Hancock from Los Angeles, infamous due to his reckless actions which routinely costs the city millions of dollars. One of the civilians Hancock rescues turns out to be a public relations specialist who offers to help improve Hancock’s public image. Though the otherwise entertaining on-paper screenplay was undermined due to weak execution, Hancock is a light superhero film alike ‘Shazam!’ and can serve as a worthwhile one-time watch!
9. Adventures of Captain Marvel (1941)