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Why This Epic Slow-Motion Fight Scene Was Cut From Shazam!

He can leap buildings in a single bound. He can lift a truck over his head. He can charge your phone with the snap of a finger. He's also an angsty teen just trying to find his place in the world. Some folks know him as Billy Batson, but with a single word, he becomes the super-powered hero known as Shazam. Moviegoers got to know both sides of the character on an intimate level through the surprise DCEU blockbuster Shazam! and by most accounts, those moviegoers were beyond satisfied with the character's first big-screen venture.

For those who haven't yet discovered the action-packed charmer, Shazam! follows the aforementioned teen (played by Asher Angel) who, shortly after ending up with a new foster family, finds himself gifted with the power to become an adult superhero (played by Zachary Levi). Along the way, hilarious hell breaks loose across the streets of Philadelphia — particularly after the equally powerful, fully evil Dr. Sivana (Mark Strong) shows up in town.

Shazam! sequel is already in the works, but it's not scheduled to hit theaters until spring 2022. Luckily, fans have been able to feed their Shazamcraving with the shiny Blu-ray edition of the film that arrived just a couple of months after its theatrical run wrapped. It arrived with a handful of deleted scenes in tow — some of which have fans wondering why they were cut at all.

The slo-mo fight scene made the third act feel too "cramped"

Chief among those deleted Shazam! scenes is an alternate version of the film's final showdown at a winter carnival — the same one that found the hero and his newly powered family locked in a brutal throwdown with the nefarious Dr. Sivana and some truly vile creatures from a mystical realm. The theatrical cut of the film featured Shazam and Sivana taking their battle to the air and eventually a rooftop along the Philly skyline. The alternate version sees the pair keeping their fisticuffs within the cozy confines of the fair, and facing off in a kickass slow-motion set piece for the ages.

So impressive is the alternate scene (even with its unfinished special effects) that some fans simply can't believe it didn't make it into the Shazam! theatrical release. One Shazam! fan posted much of the alt-cut of the scenes on Twitter with the caption, "WHY DID THEY DELETE THAT???? THAT WAS SO F***ING COOL." 

Surprisingly, the Twitter user got a very direct — and very honest — answer to that question from Shazam! director David F. Sandberg. In his own tweet, Sandberg offered that the slow-motion fight was scrapped in order to open up the film's third act. He explained, "On the Blu-ray, there should be some commentary from me talking about why things were changed. For this it felt a little too cramped to have the whole 3rd act at the carnival so we had them fly out over Philly instead."

While we fully understand the logic behind Sandberg's decision, we also can't help but think the killer slo-mo concept could've been utilized just as effectively on the rooftop — even if the laser-fingers face-off has a definite Harry-Potter-versus-Voldemort vibe.

Sandberg also commented on that quick cut to the credits at the end of Shazam!

As if it wasn't cool enough of Sandberg to offer fans direct insight about that Shazam! fight scene, he continued to engage fans on Twitter, next offering another viewer his thoughts on the film's surprisingly quick cut to credits after the third-act resolution. Sandberg explained that the tactic was a result of a lesson hard-learned while working on his feature debut, 2016's brooding creeper Lights Out. "I think you should get to the credits as quickly as possible once the story is over," he wrote. "That was the big lesson on my first film where audiences liked the movie much more overall after we simply lopped off the last 5 mins of the film."

Even at a fairly abrupt 81 minutes, Lights Out (itself based on Sandberg's legendary three-minute horror short) still ran a bit on the long side. So yeah, it was probably a good idea for Sandberg not to drag things out any longer than he did on that film. Additionally, as unexpectedly abrupt as the cutaway is in Shazam!, it also closed out the action in a refreshingly brisk way that allowed viewers to hit the aisles on a legit high. 

For those who refused to leave the theater until they got a little more Shazam! in their life, Sandberg also packed the credits with a pair of killer stingers that made us laugh, creeped us out, and skillfully moved the story forward while also alluding to the possibility of a sequel – which Warner Bros. eventually wound up green-lighting.