Say what you will about Zachary Levi and his starring role in Warner Bros.' upcoming Shazam! solo movie, but you have to respect the man's unflinching pride in that (questionable) suit that the studio is taking its sweet time in letting everyone get a proper look at. You also have to respect his very considerate response to one "hater" recently.
Zachary Levi on the set of his live IMDb interview with Ben Lyons on 24 November 2015. Photo: Getty
Yesterday, Levi surprised his fans with an Instagram live broadcast during which he answered questions about the upcoming movie. Though he easily could have ignored it, Levi took one viewer's rather stinging question - "WHY THE CRAP SUIT?" - head-on with a thoughtful, honest answer:
Wow, OK. Well, I don't think it's a crap suit. I think my suit is fucking bomb, to be perfectly honest, and I know there hasn't been an officially released photo yet, but there have been incredibly high-quality photos that have been released. And I think any of you people out there who are still hung up on what the suit looks like are just wanting to be angry for angry's sake.
(You can see Levi on set in the purportedly bomb suit at this link.) Levi went on to explain that in his view, the people who've responded negatively to the suit are likely dealing with some sort of insecurities or powerlessness in their lives and that they're simply projecting their anger toward him:
I think you're very insecure, and you probably are dealing with some stuff in your own life, and you feel a little powerless, and I'm sorry that you do. Wherever you're at and whatever you're going through, I'm sorry that you're going through that, but I do think you should probably take a second and reflect on why you are as negative as you are, about maybe anything in life, and then re-look at the suit and go, "Actually, hey, you know what, they're trying really hard to make something that's awesome and that pleases a lot of different people, because Captain Marvel's been around for a really long time, and has had a whole bunch of different iterations of suits." So, you can't win 'em all, but you can at least hope people will give you a fair shake.
If you are a person who both uses the internet and has an interest in comic book movies, then chances are very good that you've seen more than a few behind-the-scenes photos of Levi on set in costume as Shazam. Because of the advancements in modern photography, many of these photos are incredibly detailed, and while they don't account for the hours of painstaking VFX that are added in post-production, they do give you a fairly solid sense of what Levi's Shazam will look like on screen.
I say all of this because I, like a number of other people who've seen the photos, am not exactly impressed by them in part because the costume just isn't much to look at. To be fair, that's because Shazam's costume is fairly simple and straightforward compared to many other superheroes'. It's a whole lot of red and white with a few accents and a cape and... that's it.
It's perfectly reasonable to assume that the full majestic, magical effect needed to bring Shazam to life really is only possible with loads and loads of CGI layered in on top. But with all that in mind, why has it taken so long to see so much as a polished, official photo if only to clear up any concerns that Shazam! might end up looking chintzy? It's odd that the best looks at Shazam! so far have come primarily from paparazzi photos and fan art when you consider that the movie is set to be released in just about a year's time - and in the grand scheme of things, it's a rather large part of WB's plans for the DCEU's future.
Though the studio may not want to admit it, WB is still very much in the process of finding its footing when it comes to figuring out how to make good superhero movies. Not just movies that make money, but movies that generate the kind of widespread buzz and acclaim that translate to unfathomable box office dominance.
We've already seen that they can't just slap Wonder Woman onto another movie and hope that people like it - they have gotta do something new and different. You know, something like Shazam!, a movie that people would probably like to see a bit of at some point in the near future.
Shazam!, directed by David F. Sandberg, will be flying into US theatres 5 April 2019.