The Missed Opportunity of Shazam and Black Adam: How Dwayne Johnson’s Ego May Have Hindered the Franchise

Recent reports have surfaced indicating that a planned post-credits scene featuring Zachary Levi’s Shazam was rejected by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, the star of the recent superhero film Black Adam. According to The Wrap, the post-credits scene would have set the stage for a showdown between the two heroes, following the pattern of the comics.

In this version of the film, the surviving members of the Justice Society would have enlisted Shazam to join their team and face off against Black Adam. However, Johnson allegedly shut down this idea, preferring to include Henry Cavill’s Superman in the film instead. This move, according to the report, may have contributed to the underwhelming box-office performance of Shazam! Fury of the Gods.

However, there are more factors at play here. The last five DCEU movies have been a disappointment to critics and fans alike. Likewise, the last four superhero movies from either DC or Marvel have been received negatively by either critics or fans. There is also a chance that the superhero bubble has burst. Therefore, it’s important to consider the underwhelming box-office performance of Shazam! Fury of the Gods may not be solely attributed to Johnson’s decision not to include Shazam in Black Adam.

An inside source claimed that “Dwayne tries to sell himself as bigger than the movie. He’s one of the few people who always thinks he’s the most important person in any situation or room.” Unfortunately, this approach didn’t work out for him with Black Adam, which has received negative reviews from critics and audiences alike. Johnson may not be as smart as he thinks he is when it comes to making films. While I am a fan of Johnson’s work, it is important to recognise the pitfalls of surrounding oneself with “yes men.”

It’s a shame that Johnson didn’t take a smarter approach to the Shazam and Black Adam films. Building up to an epic showdown between the two heroes would have been a natural way to generate excitement for both franchises. However, Johnson’s preference for Superman over Shazam seems to have prevented this from happening.

Johnson’s decision not to include Shazam in Black Adam was a missed opportunity. While we may never know the full reasons behind his decision, it’s clear that his ego may have played a role. Going forward, it will be interesting to see how the Shazam franchise develops without the support of Black Adam. Filmmakers need to acknowledge that no single character or actor is bigger than the film itself, and to prioritise the needs of the story over individual preferences or egos.

Film review-Black Adam

Warner Bros. Discovery faces multiple challenges that threaten the success of their entertainment empire. Changes to the streaming service HBO Max, the Batgirl cancelation, and the redirection of the DC Extended Universe have all negatively impacted the studio’s reputation. Despite attempts to re-approach the model through different creative perspectives, the DC Extended Universe has yet to establish a consistent cinematic universe. The main issue seems to be the lack of consistent quality over time.

Black Adam, the latest addition to the DC Extended Universe, features a solid performance from Dwayne Johnson as the titular anti-hero. However, the chemistry between the cast members falls short, with the Justice Society of America lacking meaningful substance. The humourless, hollow screenplay fails to balance the dramatic intensity with the comedic beats that made Shazam! successful. The film’s overall aimlessness and narrative misdirection warn that CGI-ed mass destruction is not enough to rebuild a brand.

The superficiality of Black Adam contradicts any signs of progression for the DC Extended Universe, accusing them of misusing their characters. The film presents a bare-boned and uninspired “good vs. bad” narrative without much of a story to support it. There’s a disregard for audience expectations, needs, or desires, relying on expensive-looking excuses for an origin story. While the post-credits scene featuring a thrilling cameo may excite DC fans, it does not make up for the film’s overall shortcomings.

In conclusion, Black Adam’s solid performance from Dwayne Johnson is overshadowed by its aimlessness, lack of chemistry, humourless screenplay, and narrative misdirection. Warner Bros. Discovery and their DC Film team must focus on crafting comprehensive works of fiction that meet audience expectations, needs, and desires, rather than relying on high-volume talent to attach themselves to projects.