Shanlian on Batman: Episode 138 featuring Mark Hughes

We are happy to welcome Mark Hughes back to the Shanlian On Batman podcast! On this episode Mark is so gracious to comment on some of the upcoming DC Films, from The Joker, Birds of Prey and The Batman.

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Shanlian On Batman: Episode 136 wsg Lee Bermejo

Episode 136 is now live! On this episode we are so happy to welcome Lee Bermejo back onto the podcast to talk about his wonderful and prolific career, and to chat with us about his most recent project Batman: Damned!

NEWS: Pattinson Approved as Batman

by Drew Kiess

Smoke rises from the Gotham Cathedral. A new Batman has been chosen.

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Last month, Variety reported that Robert Pattinson had been cast as Batman in Matt Reeves’ The Batman. However, that story was dampened when other outlets said that it was not official and that it was down to Pattinson and Nicholas Hoult. However, today Deadline has reported that Pattinson, who was thought to be the frontrunner, has been approved by Warner Bros. to star as Bruce Wayne in the upcoming film trilogy, set to start production later this year, or early next year.

 

For most, Pattinson may seem like an odd fit, as he is mainly known as the guy from Twilight. Those who follow independent film, though, will know that Pattinson has created an impressive resume’ as of late, starring in indie darling films such as The Rover, Good Time, and The Lighthouse.

 

Details about The Batman are sparse, but it is believed that the film will feature several members of the rogue’s gallery, in a detective noir story, including The Penguin and Catwoman, as well as Riddler, among others. The Batman is scheduled to release June 25th, 2021.

Holy Moly! Shazam! Is A Triumph For DC

By Drew Kiess

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It seems like a lifetime ago that we fans were speculating that Dwayne Johnson was hinting at the possibility of a DC Universe movie featuring Shazam. Of course, when the movie was initially announced five years ago, Dwayne Johnson was announced as Black Adam. Things have changed, and while many (including me on some, but not all, fronts) will bemoan that change at Warner Bros. and DC Films, we now have our first winning streak as fans of this world on screen.

Aquaman was a moderate critical success and a major box office force. Following in the footsteps of James Wan, David Sandberg brought a truckload of magic into the DC universe with Shazam. Written by Henry Gayden and Darren Lemke, Shazam brings back the Amblin spirit and tells the tale of an orphaned Billy Batson and his search for family…and there just so happens to be an ancient wizard looking to hand out superpowers to someone pure of heart.

Zachary Levi and Asher Angel together create a likeable Billy Batson. The movie works because these two actors convey an undying hopefulness and despite perhaps him behaving badly at times, we empathize with his journey. Jack Dylan Grazer as his foster-brother Freddy brings a nerdy perspective to the cast, and he is very much the audience’s viewfinder into the superhero world at-large. Mark Strong as the villainous Sivana adds a level of gravity to the proceedings and provides a poignant foe for our hero. The rest of the cast fills in beautifully, and I cannot find a weak point.

Where Shazam! soars where other superhero movies have fallen short for me is the use of humor. Most of the jokes land well and feel character appropriate. The film balances comedy and the understanding that the situations are, in fact, serious, very well. The humor is the kind of humor a fourteen-year-old would use in similar situations that Billy finds himself in, while Sivana is allowed to carry the weight of the darker elements of the story.

And the story does have darker elements. Sivana channels the Seven Deadly Sins in his search for power. Sandberg taps into his horror roots and creates a threat that has vibes of Gremlins-style horror, all balanced by Big-style heart. Levi’s childlike glee contrasts nicely with Strong’s childish envy.

Shazam! is the film that will win over many stragglers onto the DC Films bandwagon. It is a true crowd-pleaser and offers something for the whole family. My only concern heading out of this movie is the DC slate moving forward. Yes, Wonder Woman 84 hits theaters next summer, but between now and then, Joker and Birds of Prey, both of which are expected to be rater R, are on the horizon. Will this darker turn turn-off the fans hopping on board with the Aquaman-Shazam! vibe? Time will tell. But for now, get ready to enjoy one of the most joy-filled superhero movies we may ever see.

 

Final rating: A

Guardians of the Galaxy Director in Talks to Direct New Suicide Squad

By Drew Kiess

The hits keep coming.

We may have seen this one coming after it was announced last year that James Gunn would be writing a new Suicide Squad film after being fired from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 for controversial tweets involving child rape. It is assumed that Gunn’s film, titled The Suicide Squad will be a soft reboot and will feature a brand new Task Force X. No idea of whether this will fit in continuity with David Ayer’s 2016 film or if Viola Davis will return as Amanda Waller.

This news will likely be divisive, as Guardians of the Galaxy is not the most popular movie in DC circles, and Gunn himself is even less popular after his controversial firing. Whether this is a good fit is, obviously, yet to be seen.

Either way, this is likely to be a topic of debate for some time. Stay tuned to Shanlian on Batman’s social media for more news as it develops.