The DC Extended Universe has struggled to stay relevant when compared to its rival, the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Warner Brothers has put considerable effort into building the DCEU, with big-budget films like Justice League and Batman v. Superman drawing some crowds into theaters but failing to leave a lasting impression on the industry.
It doesn’t help that most of DC’s creative output has been critically reviled. The two aforementioned films, and other features like Man of Steel, Suicide Squad, and Wonder Woman 1984 are considered weak adaptations by fans and critics alike. Now, Shazam: Fury of the Gods is also struggling to connect with audiences.
The first Shazam stood out as one of the few DCEU films that seemed excited about being a superhero film. Its exuberance and earnest tone made it a crowd-pleasing movie that stood alongside films like the first Wonder Woman and Aquaman as rare DC films that audiences enjoyed.
As such, its sequel should have been an easy home run. For whatever reason, though, Fury of the Gods hasn’t connected with audiences quite like its predecessor did. This continues a worrying trend of DC sequels missing the magic that their original outings had, as Wonder Woman 1984 also stumbled where its predecessor soared.
Fury of the Gods isn’t a bad film, according to critics. Most reviewers have noted the movie is a bit unfocused and slightly less fresh than the original, but still a fun comic book movie. It seems audiences have largely just moved on from the confusing and scattershot DC film lineup.
It’s difficult to tell which films will be interconnected with DC or, indeed, if any take place in the same continuity. This has proven to be a massive hurdle for the company, with films like Joker and Batman each taking place in their own respective universes and never crossing over with other movies.
The Shazam sequel’s box office underperformance isn’t the only reason Warner Brothers is resetting its film universe, but it certainly doesn’t help. The upcoming and highly controversial Flashpoint film, starring the headline-grabbing actor Ezra Miller, will likely retcon the entire DCEU.
This will give new DC Films head honcho James Gunn plenty of room to launch new versions of the studio’s iconic characters. Characters like Batman and Superman will have major roles in the upcoming shared universe, bringing their onscreen appearance closer in line with their comics counterparts.