Items are not likely very well for Shazam! star Zachary Levi. Fury of the Gods—the sequel to 2019’s pleasurable, if spinoff, Shazam origin story—is currently tanking at the box place of work, reaping a piddling $30.5 million in its very first weekend. The significant consensus has been likewise tepid, barely cracking 50 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, which is quite the dip from the initial film’s 90 per cent approval rating. (“Labored, unfocused and usually out of suggestions. I was bored stiff,” raves 1 reviewer.) The overarching DC cosmology is also in the midst of a galactic shakeup, with James Gunn stepping in to orchestrate a tender reboot of the troubled canon. We now know a second Black Adam motion picture is not in the chamber, and offered Shazam’s tepid efficiency, Zachary Levi could be the upcoming superhero actor out of a career.
But Levi isn’t heading to go down with no a fight. Rather he’s been uploading a series of verbose, disconcertingly powerful missives to his Twitter and Instagram, where he’s adjudicating beefs and desperately pleading for more ticket product sales, and perpetually seems to be on the brink of tears.
“I’m coming to the defense of real truth. Simply because truth is great. And we must all live in it,” says Levi, at the climax of a single of his extra rousing phone calls to motion on the behalf of his household film. (It starts, for some rationale, with him singing the song “Lights” by Journey.) “Even if it might fly in the experience of some thing we thought just before.”
The details of Levi’s grievances will seem entirely inconsequential to anybody who does not have a vested desire in the DC Prolonged Universe, and supplied the film’s opening domestic gross, you are likely to be 1 of people people. So I will endeavor to make as considerably sense of this as I can, but first it is going to call for some backstory. Fundamentally, in the previously mentioned clip, Levi is agonizing about a publish-credits scene filmed for Fury of the Gods that includes a pair of members of the Justice League’s C-team: Hawkman and Cyclone exclusively, two figures who are not heading to be finding their individual HBO Max spinoff at any time before long but who did appear in Black Adam, which is info that will turn out to be relevant before long.
Nonetheless, that scene was still left on the reducing-space flooring for some controversial causes. Levi claims that his cross-canon tease was “thwarted” by yet another party, and, if you’ve been subsequent the reporting, it seems very very clear that Levi’s adversary is Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. Johnson was the star of Black Adam, a motion picture that claimed to disrupt the “hierarchy of electrical power” of the DC universe and produced about $1.6 billion less than Infinity War. In the comics, Black Adam and Shazam are linked, which is why those people cameos would make feeling within the DC filmography. But seemingly, Johnson desired to preserve the burgeoning, unsinkable Black Adam mega-franchise fully separate from his Shazam kin and nixed any link among the two films, like a potential Black Adam cameo in Fury of the Gods. The Rock received his way, which is why Levi has identified himself soliloquizing about Truth and Justice into his entrance-facing camera around a couple of B-listing superhero crossovers.
“We need to have to reside in the truth of the matter!” he exclaims towards the end of the clip, addressing his “Shazamily.”
There’s a lot to unpack listed here. It is, of system, both of those hilarious and agonizing that Levi seems to believe that a mid-credits tease populated by the supporting superheroes of a further middling DC enterprise could’ve assisted salvage the fate of his possess Shazam property—as if a billion dollars is only a Black Adam endorsement absent, irrespective of the actuality that Black Adam by itself did not make a billion. There is also mounting evidence that the Rock could not be the simplest person to get the job done with in Hollywood. Sure, Levi has some untrustworthy, cyborg-like vibes, but Johnson is new off a falling out with his Quick & Furious family—Tyrese Gibson and Vin Diesel, specifically—to the place that it appears to be uncertain that the vascular Hobbes will make an visual appearance in possibly of the two final chapters in that sequence. Most importantly, however, the Levi cri de cœur is additional grist for my concept that even with all of the means that Warner Bros. is pumping into its DC movie cash pit, the off-camera drama of their actors is continuously far more persuasive than any earth-conserving they’re up to in theaters.
“I love Keanu Reeves if you want to see John Wick, go for it. But John Wick isn’t a family members film,” stated Levi, during that sweaty Instagram communiqué. “So if you’re searching for a motion picture for your relatives, or your date, go see Shazam! Fury of the Gods. You will extensively get pleasure from it.”
Look at, if you will, how Ezra Miller’s Hawaiian karaoke rampage will eternally overshadow the Flash film that is set to release in June. Or how the turgid, antiseptic Justice League debut—scarred by a retrospectively sick-timed Joss Whedon rewrite—was miraculously resurrected by demands for the 4-hour Zack Snyder cut. In the Justice League reshoots, Warner Bros. was famously forced to get rid of Henry Cavill’s mustache with CGI because he was contractually obligated to retain it on for his commitments to Mission: Unattainable—Fallout. Of course, the Justice League venture was so cursed that it created an total facial-hair-centric press cycle.
Levi has been guilty of some self-inflicted drama himself, just after endorsing the teachings of Jordan Peterson on Joe Rogan’s podcast and boosting some seemingly anti-vax doubts about Pfizer on Twitter. Fury of the Gods would’ve died an irrelevant death if it weren’t for the blessing of a Black Adam beef. Now, it reigns as a different interesting chapter in a DC saga filled to the brim with malcontents and weirdos, the tale of a franchise that only just cannot get out of its individual way.
It is not likely that we’ll see Zachary Levi suiting up in a Shazam costume any time shortly. Gunn has by now thorough the future slate of DC movies underneath his official stewardship. Superman, Swamp Detail, and Robin are all prominently included. Shazam is nowhere to be found. (Neither is Black Adam, for that matter.) But I hope Levi keeps talking his truth on Instagram, for the reason that that’s the only matter that could make me want a sequel.