DC Poised to Dethrone Marvel as Critical Reception Favors One Studio Over the Other

in Marvel, Movies & TV

Zachary Levi as Shazam in Shazam! Fury of the Gods

Credit: DC/Warner Bros.

Could this be the moment for DC Studios?

Zachary Levi as Shazam
Credit: DC / WarnerMedia

It very much seems as though Marvel has been resting on its laurels. The studio has had so much success for so long that it almost seems, for many, that they can do no wrong. DC, on the other hand, has had a hard fight since the beginning, trying to gain the same popularity and fanbase as its chief competitor in the comic genre. Now that race might be closer than ever before, and all thanks to some reactions around both studios’ most recent movies.

Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark "Performance Issues"
Credit: Marvel Studios

Related: DC Star Zachary Levi Canceled For “Anti-Vax” Views Ahead of ‘Shazam 2’ Release

Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (2023) is Marvel’s latest release and, in many places, is still running in theaters. For many audiences, the movie wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t outstanding. The critics, however, felt a little more strongly about it. Shortly after early screenings were made available for film critics, the movie dropped to one of the worst-scoring Marvel Cinematic Universe movies of all time on Rotten Tomatoes, with critics having very little good to say about the comic book film as a whole.

Paul Rudd as Scott Lang/Ant-Man in 'Quantumania'
Credit: Marvel Studios

While this very well could point to Marvel Studios’ apathy in the industry, it’s very clear that DC Studios does not share that mindset. Having recently installed James Gunn and Peter Safran as studio CEOs, DC is clearly looking to surge. James Gunn has clearly been very passionate about the subject matter and has already gone to great lengths to rewrite what DC Studios produces, what they mean to the public, and how they are defined.

James Gunn walking with the Suicide Squad
Credit: Warner Bros.

If recent reactions are to be believed, he has chosen well. With significant pruning, Gunn was very specific about which films and franchises would remain at the studio, including the about-to-be-released DC Universe film Shazam! Fury of the Gods (2023). With critics coming down so harshly on Quantumania, DC needed a positive reaction in 2023, and it looks like they’ve got it.

Shazam flying
Credit: Warner Brothers

The Direct reported on a number of early reactions from the film, which, if any indication, will blow Quantumania out of the water! Though each review praised different aspects of the film, the common threads highlighted an area in which Marvel’s latest offering struggled: balance. Most of the reviews complimented Fury of the Gods for being able to strike a good balance between the franchise’s hallmark humor and the more serious tones lent by the villains and plot of the film.

Shazam and family
Credit: DC Studios/Warner Bros.

In fact, there was very little bad that was said about the film, which bodes very well for the future of DC Studios. Though these are critical reviews and, therefore, should be taken with a grain of salt, it’s something that Marvel should pay attention to. Gunn and Safran are savvy. They know the industry, they know the characters, and they are out to make a great product this recent flipflop of a DC success and a Marvel flop mirrors another moment in their shared history, in which the first Shazam! (2019) also beat out the other “Rotten” Marvel film, The Eternals (2021).

Shazam Daughters of Atlas
Credit: Warner Brothers

Related: DC Finally Promotes ‘Shazam’ After Single-Minded Focus on ‘Flash’

Shazam! Fury of the Gods comes to theaters March 17, 2023, and stars Zachary Levi/Angel as Billy Batson/Shazam, Jack Dylan Grazer/Adam Brody as Freddy Freeman, Rachel Zegler as Anthea, Helen Mirren as Hespera, and Lucy Liu as Kalypso. Fury of the Gods follows the Shazam family as they face a new threat in the daughters of Atlas, whose new weapon threatens to destroy the world.

What do you think about these early reactions? Let Inside the Magic know in the comments below!

in Marvel, Movies & TV

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