Shazam! Fury of the Gods Brings Back the “Shazamily”: Inside DC’s New Superhero Adventure

In Sandberg’s words, it was nothing less than “a dream come true” to work with the trio who brought the goddesses to life. They’re not the only mythical beings in the sequel either, as the director teases that the film will feature many fantastical creatures, including Minotaurs, Harpies, and a Ray Harryhausen-inspired Cyclops. That juxtaposition of the magical and the mundanity of real-world Philadelphia was key to the tone but never posed a challenge to Sandberg. “It wasn’t really like, ‘Oh, it has to be like it’s part of our world.’ They just had to feel cool.”

They also had to feel scary. Sandberg cut his teeth on horror flicks like Annabelle: Creation and Lights Out before entering the DC pantheon. He used that experience to bring a very specific and effective blend of fear and fun to the first film, and he promises that the sequel will continue that thread. “When I was a kid, I loved seeing things that had that edge to them or had a little bit of danger. I love Raiders of the Lost Ark, faces melting off…I love that stuff. So to me, when you bring that little bit of scariness and edge to it, it makes the danger feel more real.”

Those unexpected tonal shifts are a large part of what made the first Shazam! movie feel so special. Combining the heart of a family film with the epic scope of superheroes and the spookiness of classics like Gremlins and Dark Crystal, it immediately stood out among its DC peers. So does that give the crew more freedom to tell a different kind of story? “I think so,” Sandberg says, “to a certain degree. That’s what I love about Shazam, that wish fulfillment you can’t do with any other character.”

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