I think it would just be easier to go through the characters briefly, since the majority of the plot revolves around certain characters, so I'd want to burn though the nostalgic bias and talk about problems or the admirable job they did in the film with the characters.
This is one of my favorite characters in comics, so I have a view of the character from the original origin and intention, also I grew up with the Saturday Morning Cartoon. Billy Batson was chosen by the Wizard SHAZAM for being kind and pure even though he has no parents and is homeless, he finds hope and joy. His positivity is seen through his friendships and accepting that his life hasn't changed with the responsibility of becoming the Mightiest Mortal. Even sharing his power with his twin sister (long lost cliche, though it wasn't at the time) and a young man that was crippled. This young man had his Grandfather killed in front of him, Billy's care and wisdom persuaded Freddie not to kill Captain Nazi and with Mary becoming the most power family, who never misused their power and help all they can however they can with their Marvelous powers.
Rant aside, the character in this film doesn't have the same spirit of the original character, this version feels like he was supposed to be a comedic rogue. This is executed well, though I felt the character was more of a jerk and less of a mischievous youth. One of the main character flaws was Captain Marvel saying the magic word that transforms him back and forth, though in continuity now he's known as Shazam he still shouldn't be able to say the magic word. This was a problem for Freddie, since his magic word and name were about the same too, Captain Marvel Junior. So two-thirds of his name would change him and he had to think of alternative ways of introducing himself like CM3. In this film Shazam says his name and didn't change back, seems that's not a problem now. The rude personality sticks with him even in Captain form. Though later in the movie he says Shazam and lightning strikes him and Darkseid, then turns back into Billy, why didn't it do that when he introduced himself, also why is he drained of all his power? It feels like the source material (or the Justice League Unlimited episode "Clash" or Kingdom Come) on this character was completely over looked, though I'm not up to date on Captain Marvel and the Marvel Family in current continuity, so the current version of Billy Batson could be like this one, but then there's the problems with the other characters. Shazam still gives out useful wisdom, but acts like a child, again in the film it makes sense, so I'm glad continuity keeps strong all the way to the end of the film.
Billy's voice actor sounds too much like a woman (a female adult, not even a girl) and Freddie sounds too young, since they're supposed to be about the same age. Captain Marvel's voice on the other hand isn't bad, not what I'd expect, but still better than most of the cast.
Superman has a track record for being in a ton of different media, though my favorite is his radio program. This is where the modern Superman was formed, also the Fleischer cartoons brought staples to the Man of Steel that's in common place today. With that stated I grew up with the 1996 cartoon created by Bruce Timm and will be using his Superman as the spirit of the character.
Superman in this movie is a bit of a lunatic compared to his character from source, a bruiser rather than a hero, since he likes fighting more than anything. He's also just plain dumb, reducing his character down to a dolt with not much care for the world around him. Most of the time he's that kid in every tabletop RPG that thinks hitting things will solve the puzzle, the creative team made him think he's immortal, though that's not too far off, but like Captain Marvel this made him more of a jerk. Also Superman killing, it's completely out of character, though he was out of his right mind.
I love Alan Tudyk, but this was not his best role. I feel bad, he's an amazing actor and should have been given a better role or character to play, but this film was to establish the Justice League and give him a secured job that would be respected within the community intended. With this film being ignored by the DC cinematic universe this could lead to better roles for Alan Tudyk in future projects.
The Wonder Woman I know is more like Xena with a heart of gold, so she can take her foot and place it between your cheeks so far that you'll wish she was still made of clay and not a stone cold badass warrior woman. Her character is tough to pin down, though either she's an activist for peace or a warrior through and through, it matters the creative team.
Though with such a strange and strong background this film's Wonder Woman is a joke. She confronts protesters about her talking to the President then humiliates one of them as a crossdresser. It's upsetting that a modern movie would offend and belittle a way of empowering a person, since the protester even stated that dressing like her makes him feel strong, by having the crowd turn on him sets a negative connotation to him for being himself or anyone that crossdresses. Within the film it makes sense, since she's trying to defuse the angry crowd without violence, which while in the car she was willing to give them, but it left everything after this event empty. Wonder Woman felt more like an alien than a princess on an island of thinkers and soldiers. Read Kingdom Come where she goes into battle ready for anything, sword in hand and enchanted every piece of armor, even someone like Superman, that's the mind of a strategist, not a bar brawler.
Diana continues to act like she's an alien to the planet and blindly walks into traffic where a kid holding ice cream encourages her, then threatens a guy for ice cream with her sword like a lunatic. She bluntly has a crush for Superman, which he returns, just solidifying that they are the power couple, those people in your high school/college/workplace that you know were going to make babies at some point, or at least try their hardest. The thing that bothers me the most was they didn't even give her a set personality or a Warrior persona, she became "the girl". Nothing about her really stands out and nothing about her really defines her character, it was more like a Superman gender swap clone.
Voice acting was hard to concentrate on since I couldn't stand the character talking at all, but it was off cast, since her voice felt confident and bubbly. They wanted to make her a kid friendly bloodthirsty warrior, it flip flopped from one to the other, but again the script for her was so bad that I felt bad for Michelle Monaghan.
My Green Lantern was Kyle Rayner, he was the last one of his kind and the coolest Green Lantern to my knowledge, though this was back in the 90's where there was only one Green Lantern and some guy that claimed to be him at some point, also Jade. Hal was introduced to me in an interesting way, he was a crazy guy that needed to be stopped by all of the Justice League. It was a two part story that showed the power and will that was beyond Kyle at the time. Though not a Green Lantern anymore Hal still had all the Green Lantern power flowing through his body. Jade was similar, but she's the daughter of Alan Scott, so her Green Lantern power is magic rather than alien science. Kyle and Jade were in a relationship at the time, it was neat to see how different they were and she was the first female Lantern in my life. They even worked together at helping people and it showed that she was at times better than the last hope for the Green Lantern Corp.
That aside Hal and Kyle act differently, I know more about one than the other, but from what I've seen between them it's easy to tell their personalities apart. I think the major confusion with creative teams about the character came with the Superman Animated Series (in 1996). Where Hal's origin was used and mixed with Kyle's life, it was a mess, though like this film pressure felt applied. As if an updated version of the character would connect with viewers, though this comedic version became the standard for most versions of Hal, since Kyle hasn't had in any DC Animation since this muddied mess.
So on with the film, Hal again acts more like Kyle, in personally I like Kyle too, but like Barry and Wally (the Flash, first and second) people need to choose which one to use. Green Lantern is a bit of a jerk, though floats to just arrogance, self-centered, and a bit dim, but I'm enjoyed his comedy relief.
Over all from voice actor to design I was impressed with how well they handled a character that most of the time in any media makes him the "gunner", a laser with legs, rather than the complexed being of power. They kept the spirit of the character, though they need to use a version of Green Lantern and keep him standard. John Steward is the closest they've come to using the same character through all media.
Most people use an amalgam of Christopher Nolan and Frank Miller's Dark Knight, since both are fan favorites. I've always been a fan of Batman: the Animated Series and Batman: Brave and Bold, since these fit my interpretation of the caped crusader, though I grew up with the 1966 Batman, thank you for an amazing childhood Adam West and Burt Ward.
Anyway you look at it, Batman has been a character that's had many interpretations through many forms of media. This film's version was another gritty Bat, though he was full of hope and paranoia, it was an interesting interpretation. Batman like the Flash is more or less true to spirit, at times Batman feels overpowered in general, though they really tried to humanize the character and make him less impossible.
Batman like Superman's voice do not match design nor character, the acting was well preformed, though the actor was not casted well. It troubles me to talk poorly about actors that do amazing work and get a high profile character, but get stuck with poor writing and a concept rather than a story.
The Flash has been my favorite character and mythology of comics (every version), from Jay to Barry to Wally to Bart, then back to Wally then back to Barry again, I like complicated stories. From what I see in most media interpretations they go with Wally as the version of the Flash, he thinks quick and so is his wit. Wally to me is the King sidekick, he did what every crime fighting team inspires to do, have their second string take over for a new and better tomorrow. Nightwing was able to do it, but he never fit the mold that Batman set for him, though is the closest of the Robins to be rightfully Batman. Wally on the other hand had the death of his mentor, his uncle, and his friend, before taking over the family business. One thing I never have seen is how crushing it was for him, or how hard he bottled up the pain of losing someone that important in your life. Though I'm getting ahead of myself, maybe there will be a show or series of films on Barry Allen that will have Wally West become the Flash.
In this film they used Barry as their Flash, he sounds a bit like a doormat, though this might be the only true to character cast member. One thing to remember about Barry is his self-esteem was never the best, it made him fallible and think a little harder about whatever he did or didn't do for the world. Flash had to think about his actions before blinding Darkseid, this was great character acting and a wonderful performance with voice acting., thank you Christopher Gorham.
Victor Stone was a character that was introduced to me through Hanna-Barbera (Super Friends), it's delightful to see a character that's new to the comic scene put into other media. The character Cyborg came out in 1980, though there were heroes of color before him (like Luke Cage and Black Panther), but he has not only been popular with fans, he's the staring character of this film. In the Super Friends episode, that was focused on Victor Stone the high school football star, he was smart though there was an unforgiving accident that took most of his body. Lucky for him his Dad knew how to make robots and robot parts, so he slaps a bunch on his son and begs for forgiveness. This is the Cyborg I know, since the 2003 Teen Titans goes along the lines of this origin too.
In the film Cyborg is a teen going to college, though sounds like he's mid to late 30's. I've heard people with smooth voices, but this sounds like a person that has been places and had weddings, not someone starting the journey to their life. Jokingly I mentioned that Cyborg and his Father in the film sounded like they had about ten years difference by voice alone, I was right. Cyborg's actor was born 1970, while his Father's actor was born 1963. That joke only solidifies that the casting wasn't perfect, though the actors for both Cyborg and his Father were amazing performers, like I stated I was interested in parts and it was Cyborgs origin and family struggle that kept me in the film.
Here's some broad strokes of the plot, Victor Stone's father is a jerk, then saves his son by rebuilding his body with a Tony Stark looking assistant named Morrow (like T. O. Morrow). Then as Cyborg has to live with the horror of becoming a part of his father's life work, though would die without it. With the help of the alien material he has control of his body or would have become another slave to Darkseid's will. Again Cyborg's arc is the best, even at the end of the film with the conversation between Captain Marvel (Shazam, whatever) and himself acknowledging Victor's Dad at the metal ceremony. Showing that his Dad is proud of him, though there are issues between them that still have to be worked on. His Father values Superheroes more than Sports heroes, Victor became both, though his Father only respects one of these men, not really completing the arc, but leaving things open for other films.
Maybe the most deadly villain in the DC Universe, the most feared and intelligent/competent evil that is known to this fictional universe. The figure that I see closest to the source material was in the Superman Animated Series in 1996, since the creative team took on the sleek Kingpin like hero of a hellscape. This strategist of war has always been mighty in planning and with a devil like elegance stands in watch of the glory and destruction of his enemy, open and unarmored to show his people that he is a God (a New God), immortal and who ever thought twice never stood is his path. This is the horror that I see from this character, the spirit of him comes and goes with every creative team, with this film they make him a walking brick with lasers for eyes.
Usually when taking over a new planet Darkseid doesn't head the campaign to overthrow a world, he has generals to do his work. Darkseid loses an eye and has the speed/strength of Superman, which he does not possess, well he does have strength that may or may not surpass the hero, it's all about the creative team that dictates his might. He's reduced to a grunt, throwing his life into the fray and not caring if he won or lost, it was all about the fight. This film did not live up to the spirit of the character, though the design wasn't horrible, it just felt like a lot of stickers stuck on a wall or a quilt cut into a fine suit, it felt like a busy costume.
I trust you enjoyed the inspection, thank you for reading.
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