Shazam! The “Rage of the Gods” trailer reveals that the DC cinematic universe is making Thor’s “Avengers: Finale” bug work for Billy Batson’s character. “Shazam 2” seems to continue to focus on Billy’s personal life, figuring out how his unique abilities fit into the world of DCEU superheroes. Indeed, Shazam! The trailer for Rage of the Gods, released at Comic Con in San Diego, suggests that Shazam’s main internal struggle in the film is something of an existential crisis caused by his own self-doubt, especially compared to how he treats the glorified heroes of the DCEU Justice League. Although superheroes often have internal difficulties, this particular setup is very similar to the “Thor Finale” arch — only without some of the mistakes that the MCU made in this particular storyline.
The jokes in the Finale about Thor having an existential crisis provoked an obviously difficult response. This happened because the idea that Thor looks and behaves differently as the subject of a comedy was perceived by many as mean, given that these changes occurred because of how much he lost. As a result, the jokes about Thor caused a decent level of criticism, because it seemed that his suffering and self-doubt were mainly focused on the comic sense, and not on a full study of what it meant for the character.
Shazam 2 also builds jokes on a similar premise — as the trailer shows Shazam explaining his problems to a therapist, only for this professional to look confused and show that he is a pediatrician, and does not understand why a seemingly adult Shazam is talking to them. . However, it works in the Shazam app! The Rage of the Gods trailer, since Billy’s existential crisis doesn’t seem to be caused by trauma— he’s just a teenager trying to figure out where he belongs and how to boost his self-esteem, who is also a superhero. In this sense, Shazam struggling with who he is feels like a reflection of the promising future that lies ahead of him, which makes jokes about it much less controversial than those based on Thor’s traumatic past and subsequent struggles.
Why “Shazam 2” could not repeat the error of the endgame of Thor
In fact, the DCEU would not be able to repeat the same controversial decisions of “Thor: Finale” with “Shazam 2”, even if the company inexplicably really tried to do it, since the different settings used in two different films change how two corresponding existential crises can be perceived. By the time the Finale takes place in the MCU Thor timeline, the hero has lost almost everything he valued in his life — his father and brother are dead, his house is destroyed, and his sense of honor is destroyed along with the lives of countless people after the Click. Despite the fact that the MCU encourages its audience not to take the plot too seriously with its generally bright comedic tone, ridiculing a character for having lost the will to do something after a series of deeply traumatic events, for obvious reasons, does not quite suit many viewers, especially those who sympathize with the general arc of the MCU Thor.
For comparison, if the story of “Shazam 2” does not take an unexpectedly gloomy turn, Billy Batson has a family, a hometown, and, most likely, his problems with self-esteem and a general lack of self-belief will push him to a better understanding of life. himself, instead of fueling some kind of prolonged suffering, for which he is then ridiculed. Thus, no matter how much they joke about the existential crisis that Shazam is going through in Shazam! Rage of the gods, no one will probably ever come close to the same ground where the Thor Finale jokes were seen, which will prevent the film from following in these particular footsteps. Given that “Thor: Love and Thunder” also avoids this mistake, it seems that the criticism expressed about the final game of “God of Thunder” is unlikely to be repeated, at least in the near future, especially with the more thorough efforts made in the Phase 4 parts of the MCU in the study of mental health and mental health — something that the DCEU hopefully reflects in its own approach.