(Asher Angel) who, by shouting Shazam!, can turn into an adult superhero (Zachary Levi).
Shazam! is an undeniable risk, especially when the DCEU is yet to find its footing. But it will be followed by a safer bet: Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of one Harley Quinn).
The key bit of that baffling title is ‘Harley Quinn’ — the character Margot Robbie played in Suicide Squad. The Joker ’s psychotic lover, Harley Quinn proved immensely popular, even when audiences had little patience for the film she was starring in. It’s clear the studio is trying to find her a better vehicle — or four. Warner Bros has placed an immense amount of faith in Robbie, and her ability to draw in audiences, with several Harley Quinn movies already announced.
First up, Birds of
Prey (due for release in 2020) will team her up with Mary Elizabeth Winstead’s Huntress, Jurnee Smollett-bell’s Black Canary, Rosie Perez’s Renee Montoya, and Ella Jay Basco’s Cassandra Cain. Promisingly, the film is led by some genuinely exciting creative talent: Cathy Yan, who made a splash at Sundance this year with her directorial debut, the offbeat comedy Dead Pigs. Robbie was adamant that she wanted a female director on board, and it’s promising to see the studio recognise that women-led projects are not only desired by audiences, but that they’re often able to turn a tidy profit, too.
Birds of Prey may be the studio’s most crucial test, given the central role Robbie is set to play in its future: she will also star in Suicide Squad 2, Gotham City Sirens (a team-up of Harley, Catwoman, and Poison Ivy), and Harley Quinn vs The Joker. If Birds of Prey flounders, then the DCEU may be in more trouble than ever.
At least they have a safe bet in Wonder Woman 1984: Patty Jenkins returns to direct this sequel, and Gal
Gadot is back as the lead, alongside Kristen Wiig as new villain Cheetah. Expectations are high, but with so much returning talent, there’s no reason to be concerned.
Little is certain, however, about the fates of Wonder Woman’s fellow Justice League