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New Shazam! Trailer Promises Equal Parts Hilarity And Action

Hi! My name is... Shazam!

A second trailer for Warner Brothers and DC's superhero comedy was posted this morning to Warner Brothers Pictures' YouTube Channel. The spot gives us more of the titular hero in action, and also offers a good look at the film's villain, Doctor Sivana (Mark Strong).

Previously released promotional materials have clued us in to the fact that, while the DC Extended Universe has veered hard away from the grim 'n gritty aesthetic which characterized its first few efforts, Shazam! will sport the kind of lighthearted and humorous tone which we haven't yet seen from the franchise. Star Zachary Levi has described the flick as "Big meets Superman," and while the new trailer #2 does reuse some scenes already featured in the previous one, there's also plenty of new footage driving his point home.

The spot opens with young orphan Billy Batson's (Asher Angel) meeting with the ancient sorcerer Shazam (Djimon Hounsou), during which the godlike being endows the youngster with the ability to transform into a superpowered adult by saying his name (a name which the boy reacts to with a barely-stifled giggle). We then get much more than we've seen so far of Billy's experiments with his foster brother Freddy (Jack Dylan Grazer) to discover the range of his powers, which include near-invulnerability (as Freddy takes a 2x4 to the chest of an unfazed Billy) and super strength; also, "electricity manipulation" (discovered as the boys pay a decidedly non-heroic visit to an ATM) and "hyper-speed" (as Billy takes out a shady character in a local park before he even seems to know how he did it). 

Then, to the strains of Eminem's "My Name Is," we see Billy using bolts channeled through his fingers to electrify a jungle gym, leading to a bit of brainstorming by Freddy as to what his superhero name should be. "His name... is Captain Sparklefingers," he tells a supremely disinterested passerby, much to Billy's chagrin. 

This is followed by the appearance of Doctor Sivana, effortlessly dispatching a couple of cops before confronting "chosen one" Billy, who excitedly recognizes an arch-nemesis when he sees one: "Oh! You're, like, a bad guy, right?" he asks, before delivering a poorly-telegraphed punch and ending up on the receiving end of a stiff uppercut from Sivana, earning a chastising from Freddy: "You totally did the opposite of what a superhero is supposed to do!" There's another brief teaser of an aerial battle between the foes, and then we get more of Billy alternately being a badass protector of the populace and the hyperactive 15 year-old kid which, you know, he is. 

Then, while showing off his "Sparklefingers" for an awestruck public, Billy accidentally blows out the tire of a bus as it's crossing over a bridge. It plunges over the edge, causing Billy to leap into action, catching it and not-so-gently setting it down on the street below. "Dude, did you see that?!" he asks Freddy; "Yeah," Freddy deadpans, "you electrocuted a bus and almost killed these people." Billy's somewhat defensive reply: "And then I caught it!" The trailer concludes with a brilliant gag; challenged by Freddy to see if he can "leap tall buildings in a single bound," Billy attempts to do just that, with less than desirable results. 

We've said it before, and we'll say it again: this film looks like an absolute delight. Unless these trailers are just flat-out lying to us, Shazam! has the potential to offer the most pure fun you've had watching a comic book movie since Deadpool, only without all the horrific violence and gratuitous F-bombs. Levi appears perfectly cast in the role, displaying an amazing comedic chemistry with the young Grazer as Freddy — and even though Strong's Doctor Sivana looks like an appropriately fearsome and intimidating villain, we have the distinct feeling that his reign of terror will be halted through the kind of slapstick-y strategy that only a couple of goofy teenagers could muster.

Interestingly, director David F. Sandberg never even hinted at a comic sensibility like this in his previous work. He garnered notice from Tinseltown by writing, directing, and scoring the 2013 horror short Lights Out, going on to helm the 2016 feature of the same name; that effort led to a gig helming 2017's Annabelle: Creation, one of the more critically well-received entries in the Conjuring universe. Any doubts fans may have had about his ability to handle a big-budget, comedy-infused superhero tentpole picture should have been summarily erased by the flick's trailers, but long before we ever got a look at Shazam! — in January 2018 — the director himself took to Twitter to make a rather excellent point. "Horror roots can lead to great superhero films," he wrote. "Look at Sam Raimi, James Gunn, Scott Derrickson, James Wan, etc."

All signs point to Sandberg ably continuing that somewhat odd trend, and likely cleaning up at the box office as well. Wan's Aquaman, sporting a consistently lighter tone than any DCEU entry thus far, recently became the highest-grossing film in the franchise, and Shazam! looks like the kind of unapologetic crowd-pleaser that could give even that box office beast a run for its money. One thing we can say for certain: our wallets are open and at the ready.

Shazam! hits screens on April 5.