However, if the live action movie is finally going to get made, I thought it would be a good idea, since this is also my 100th post, to publish a revised version of the Shazam manifesto I first posted 4 years ago when I started this blog, even though I have a dread feeling WB and DC might end up doing the complete opposite of everything you will read below.
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I want the upcoming SHAZAM movie made correctly. I unquestionably do not want it to be a campy comedy, but to be sure, the definitive Captain Marvel movie must have a lot of humor and fun. It also must be balanced out with drama and pathos and action-adventure. Needless to say, it should have breath taking special effects, and be filmed in IMAX. I would like to see the film use tilted ("Dutch") camera angles, much like celebrated film maker Orson Welles pioneered, to give it a unique look. The final shooting script should not be based on the recent DC comics, with its pale, inferior version of Captain Marvel, nor on the current DCnU version from Curse of Shazam. It is the Fawcett Captain Marvel of the 1940s and 50s which should be the source material for the film (as producer Michael Uslan once promised). When Otto Binder and C.C. Beck hit their stride, they produced some of the greatest superhero adventures of all time, certainly superior to DC's recent attempts at Shazam. Alex Ross and Jim Krueger's Justice mini series remains the definitive modern take on the character, far surpassing anything Geoff Johns has done. Captain Marvel's appearance in the mini series, blended with the original Fawcett material, should be the template on which the movie is developed.
Previous attempts at developing the movie over the past decade seemed married to the "Big with superpowers" concept. This concept keeps the character trapped in a goofy, juvenile stereotype. Cap should not act like a 12 year old. He has the wisdom of Solomon, which should make him more mature and less headstrong than Billy. Under no circumstances do I want to see a scene where Captain Marvel learns how to be a superhero by reading Superman comic books.
As in the Fawcett comics, Billy should be the star of the movie. Its his adventures we follow. Yet there still must be a lot of screen time and action sequences for Captain Marvel. I speculate the creators of Captain Marvel had the Old Testament book of Tobit in mind as a muse. In it, the mighty archangel Saint Raphael takes the form of a teen, Azariah, while among mortals. I suggest all Captain Marvel fans read this book. If you don't have a Bible with the deuterocanonical books, here is a link for Tobit . Mary and Freddy should be supporting characters the film, but they should not get their powers until the sequels. Needless to say I do not want to see the three new kids, Darla, Pedro and Eugene, cluttering up the film.
The film makers need to get Alex Ross to be the movie's creative consultant, and an associate producer. He is one of only a few contemporary comic book talents who really "gets" the Big Red Cheese. For the screenplay itself, a writer needs to be hired whose name is not David Goyer. Someone who can write great action and adventure and also humor, and above all, someone who will listen to Alex Ross. The film should use Ross' version of Captain Marvel's uniform, but it should not be skintight spandex or muscle enhancing rubber. The model of Tom Tyler's costume from the serial should be used, where the top is more of a jacket, and the pants, while snug, are not actual tights.
Perhaps the most infamous Captain Marvel fan was/is Elvis Presley. The definitive Captain Marvel movie must have an Elvis soundtrack. "If I Can Dream" would be a perfect theme song. Many of his under appreciated 60s tracks would fit the film perfectly, like "Long Legged Girl" for Beautia, "What A Wonderful Life" for Billy, "That's Someone You'll Never Forget" for Billy's crush on Beautia, "Kiss Me Quick" for Beautia's longing for Captain Marvel, etc. Perhaps Duane Eddy's hit instrumental "Shazam" could be incorporated into the score.
For the director, hopefully assuming Peter Segal is officially gone, I got to go with Sam Raimi. He knows how to blend action, adventure, and humor. He knows how to bring a comic book to life without veering too much into fantasy nor into stark realism. Despite the bad rap he got for Spider-Man 3, the first two movies proved his value as a superhero director.
Captain Marvel - Derek Theler.
Alternate picks: Wes Bentley, Jesse Metcalfe or Lou Ferrigno Jr.
Billy Batson - Preston Baily.
Mary Bromfield/Batson - Kelli Berglund.
Freddy Freeman - Chandler Riggs.
Shazam - Omar Sharif.
Alternate pick: Michael Keaton.
Dr Sivana - Jackie Earle Haley.
Alternate picks: Martin Short or Joe Pesci.
Beautia - Dianna Agron.
Alternate picks: Margot Robbie, Ginny Gardner, or Haley Bennett.
Black Adam - Dwayne Johnson.
Uncle Dudley - his royal majesty Micky Dolenz .
Sterling Morris - Jon Voight.
Alternate pick: Dan Aykroyd.
Mr Tawny - Jim Belushi.
Freddy's Grandpa - Alan Alda.