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Why Black Adam Could Totally Change Shazam 2 (And The DCEU)

Considering the comedic and fairly lighthearted tone of 2019’s Shazam!, the connected Black Adam film starring Dwayne Johnson may result in a dynamic shift for Shazam! 2 as well as other DCEU films going forward. While Shazam! stars Asher Angel and Zachary Levi as the titular 14-old Billy Batson who can magically turn into the adult magical champion known as Shazam, Johnson’s Black Adam was the first champion chosen by the Council of Wizards before he used his powers to seek revenge. Now, Black Adam’s first teaser trailer has revealed that Adam will be depicted as a brutal character who’s no stranger to murder, indicating a much darker and more serious tone than that of Shazam!. As a result, it could likely influence the upcoming Shazam! Fury of the Gods as well as future films.

In the teaser trailer for Black Adam, the titular dark champion imprisoned by the Council of Wizards for abusing his power and releasing the Seven Deadly Sins upon the world is freed. Almost immediately, the imposing and hooded Adam grabs an armed soldier/mercenary by the throat, burning him to ash with his lightning. This is no doubt an indication that Black Adam has no qualms about killing those who stand in his way, and that he’s not reticent about using the powers at his disposal. However, being the frequent nemesis of Shazam in the comics, it’s possible that Shazam! Fury of the Gods might have a somewhat altered tone than its predecessor in response for whenever the two champions meet face-to-face.

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While Black Adam won’t be featured in Shazam! Fury of the Gods, it’s possible that the sequel’s tone could still be affected. While the first Shazam! certainly had a handful of intense scenes featuring Mark Strong’s Dr. Sivana and the Seven Deadly Sins, it’s not a stretch to imagine that Shazam! 2 might expand further into some more serious tones with higher stakes in preparation for a Shazam/Black Adam crossover (as much as a comedic film starring a teenaged superhero organically can). Furthermore, Black Adam and Shazam have an interesting relationship in the comics. While they’re rivals and have fought many times, they’ve also worked together for the greater good. As a result, the idea that the centuries-old Black Adam might tone down his brutality once discovering that this new magical champion is just a child would be an interesting concept, setting the tone and finding a balance for the connected franchise and the future crossovers that will likely come (while still allowing Black Adam to maintain his darkness in his own films.)

One of the things that makes Black Adam so compelling as a character is his complex nature. Much like the more current characterizations of Marvel’s Doctor Doom, Adam is a ruler who dispenses his own form of brutal justice which often becomes blurred with vengeance. Originally chosen by the Council of Wizards for his heart and nobility, Black Adam was corrupted into darkness due to his family’s murder, motivating him to choose revenge which led to his centuries-long imprisonment. Essentially, he’s too complicated to be considered a hero or villain one way or the other. As a result, Black Adam’s debut in the DCEU will be pretty unique, and his potential to shift the tone of films such as Shazam! 2 and any future films in the franchise is pretty big.

The idea of Black Adam’s brutality being organically toned down for crossovers with Bily Batson seems logical, while at the same time challenging the Shazam! films to evolve their overall tone in response to achieve a compromise and better balance. While Black Adam and Shazam will likely fight each other in the DCEU’s future, it makes sense for Adam’s character to be slightly more restricted when it comes to the bloodshed that will be seen in his own films. In any case, the prospect of Shazam and his family meeting the ruler of Kahndaq for the first time is seriously exciting, whenever a crossover inevitability happens after Black Adam releases in 2022 and Shazam! 2 in 2023.

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