DC Spotlight: Shazam!
DC Spotlight: Shazam! 2019
When I went to watch Batman Hush on DC Universe, there was another 2019 title listed right next to it called DC Spotlight: Shazam! I hadn’t heard about this title and when I checked it out, I noticed that it was 52 minutes which qualifies for my definition of feature length, it was a DC Universe Original, and the opening logo made it seem like the first in a possible series of these comic book documentaries. I’ve reviewed a handful of these types of documentaries in the past and it’s becoming more and more difficult just because they are all so similar to each other. They’re all varying degrees of interesting, as this one was, but there’s rarely enough to make it stand out as more than just another comic book documentary.
As for the standard comic book documentary tropes, there’s the usual interviews with several DC comic book writers and artists as well as some of the actors from the recent Shazam! film. There’s all sorts of comic book panels from the entire history of Shazam slash Captain Marvel from his origins through to the modern era, often with very subtle animations like eye blinks or head nods. They also include a handful of clips from the new Shazam! movie, though they are generally few and far between. Instead the documentary actually focuses on the new film as a part of the overall history of the character rather than making it feel like this entire doc was a promotional piece for the film.
There’s not a whole lot to be said about the film overall, there are plenty of interesting tidbits throughout the film starting with Captain Marvel’s overwhelming popularity that actually rivaled Superman for a time. There’s also a fair amount of time given to the extremely long winded court case between DC and Fawcett comics who originally published Captain Marvel until it was ruled that he was basically a copy of Superman with just a few changes. They were forced to shut down production, though because of the length of the case it was during a time when comics were at one of their lowest points of popularity and when the comic came back, it was through licensing to the very company that essentially killed the character in the first place. And during that downtime, another character with the same name came into prominence through Marvel comics.
All in all, there was enough interesting factoids presented in an interesting way by people who were enjoyable to listen to that the 53 minute runtime never felt boring. It was pretty much exactly the length that it needed to be, and despite this being released within a few weeks of the new Shazam! film, it never felt like it was just a promotional piece for the movie, it does a good job at giving the new movie exactly the same weight as they give the entire rest of the history of the character besides the cartoon series which got barely a couple sentences. If you’re interested in the character, and you don’t know that much about the whole name controversy, it’s definitely worth a watch. Until next time, this has been Bubbawheat for Flights, Tights, and Movie Nights.