Monday, March 13, 2023

Superman & Shazam: The Return Of Black Adam

Well shit that wasn't what I expected at all!

I'm pretty sure this is the only instance of such a conundrum, considering this was an animated release in 2010 before the DC animated movies mostly had their own continuity, but what would you expect from this title? I'll give you some clues to help out. It's a notch over just an hour long, it covers the origin of Billy becoming Captain Marvel (the correct superhero name in my opinion), and while it doesn't touch a great deal on Black Adam's backstory mention is made of him being a fallen champion for the wizard Shazam. Sounds like a decently made movie showing Billy Batson come into his powers, meet up with Superman, and be a pretty formidable tag team when Black Adam comes knocking. This is partially true. What you get is that and 3 additional short stories that have no correlation with each other, focusing on The Spectre, Green Arrow, and Jonah Hex as pretty much a silver age anthology movie. Brilliant title huh? It's not a complete lie but goddamn it, I walked in expecting an hour of Superman and Shazam to get me in gear for the rest of this week so what the hell am I supposed to do? Talk about a quarter of this film or touch base on all the stories? Well I did actually enjoy all the segments, and while the animation style is unchanged throughout each story has their own flavor and storytelling style. Shazam is a contemporary, no frills, modern day crossover between two class act superheroes. The Spectre is full on 70s cop movie, groovy soundtrack and film grain included, with a highly lesser known hero of the DC universe getting his time to shine sans the origin story. Green Arrow goes back to contemporary and basic, with Oliver Queen stopping an assassination attempt on a foreign princess from Malcolm Merlyn. And Jonah Hex of course leans hard into westerns, with classic iconography in terms of setting and costuming, great music, and a pretty ruthless but awesome anti-hero depiction of his character. I feel Shazam and Green Arrow got the longer segments, but each one brings something interesting and enjoyable to the table one way or another so I do feel all of them are worth watching. Hell I'm honestly really wanting to dig into the history of The Spectre, I was ever so slightly aware of the name but knew nothing beyond that but color me intrigued after this! The animation, voice cast, and music are all quite good across the board I'll say. I feel each actor voicing their designated hero are top notch, and it's pretty damn cool to see big name talent like Malcolm McDowell, Linda Hamilton, Arnold Vosloo, and Michael Rooker in this as well! I'm still just kinda floundering here, I'm really thrown off, it's like I tried to switch gears without the clutch and I don't even know what the fuck that means because I don't know cars. I mean it was a happy surprise, I'm not mad I saw some cool shorts, but I mean you couldn't brainstorm for a better title? Granted I couldn't come up with jack shit and I was thinking on it for a bit, even if you threw a silver age comic title like World's Finest not everyone would immediately know what it was. But then again you could have called it, DC Showcase: Bronze Age Heroes or something akin to that with a collage of each hero and plainly put on the box cover this is an anthology! Once upon a time that was how comics were. You didn't get the story just on the cover, you got several stories with the longest one being the showcase. If that was what they were intending and going for stylistically, okay fine job well done, but it's not the late 1940s to the early 1970s anymore and unless you know comic book history they just ain't gonna get it, and the title is misleading. But whatever. It's in the past and I'm fairly certain this was the only case. Just...urgh, nevermind. Scores! 3 stars, 7.5/10, now that you know the frick fraking trap card on the field I leave it up to you to give it a watch and see what you make of it. If we can avoid any more surprises this might turn out to be a good week.

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