DC Showcase: Superman/Shazam!: The Return of Black Adam, 2010
Starring: George Newbern, Jerry O'Connell, Arnold Vosloo, Zach Callison, James Garner and Josh Keaton
Superman comes face to face with a foe he may be unable to defeat- the magic based Black Adam! He soon finds that he's not really Black Adam's target, the young boy Billy Batson is and the child is soon turned into Captain Marvel so that he can combat Black Adam alongside Superman. REVIEW:
From all sources available at the time of this film's straight to DVD release, one would believe this was going to be a feature-length animated film along the lines of the Superman/Batman videos that have come out. Sadly, that is an absolute LIE! “Superman/Shazam!” is actually a short film in a series of short films on this DVD! This fact has me totally outraged and feeling deceived. I wanted a feature-length movie of Superman and Captain Marvel teaming up to take down Black Adam in a hugely epic battle that would rock the very foundations of Metropolis and The Rock of Ages. What I got was 22 minutes of said epic battle... followed by a short film about The Spectre, a short film about Jonah Hex, and a short film about Green Arrow.
In “Superman/Shazam!: The Return of Black Adam”, elementary student Billy Batson is on his way to be interviewed by reporter Clark Kent. On the way, he encounters a homeless man being bullied by some kids. Billy goes to help the man, but is given a black eye for his trouble. The homeless man thanks the boy. While at lunch with Mr. Kent, the super villain Black Adam arrives and begins stalking Billy. Superman comes to fight Black Adam off, but Black Adam's magic based powers prove to be more than he can handle. The homeless man Billy helped earlier turns out to have been the Wizard Shazam in disguise, and he gives Billy Batson the power to become Captain Marvel! Together, Superman and Captain Marvel defeat Black Adam in an epic battle.
In “The Spectre”, Detective Jim Corrigan is on the case to solve the murder of a big time film executive. Thanks to the man's butler, Corrigan gets a list of suspects. Becoming the Spectre, he hunts down each of the men and kills them in horrific ways before coming to the executive's daughter, whom Corrigan has has a relationship with. She was the true killer, and the Spectre has no choice but to kill her as well.
In “Jonah Hex”, Madame Lorraine kills Red Doc for his money. The next day, Jonah Hex comes to town to collect a large bounty on Red. He discovers that Madame Lorraine has killed Red already, and Jonah plots to use her to get to the body. A fight ensues and Jonah kills half the men in the place and makes Lorraine take him to the caved in mine shaft she's got the body hidden in. When Jonah Hex sees that she's killed more than a dozen men who's bodies are all here, he leaves the woman alone in the mine shaft to die.
In “Green Arrow”, Count Vertigo hires Merlyn to kill Vertigo's niece so that he may become the new heir to the thrown of Vlatava. Green Arrow, while waiting at the same airport for a fellow Justice League member, discovers the plot on the girl's life and takes it upon himself to stop the assassination.
“Superman/Shazam!” is by far the best of the four short films on this DVD. But again, I'm very angry that it's a collection of shorts rather than a Superman/Shazam feature film. But since it IS a collection of shorts, allow me to do a brief review of all four shorts.
“Superman/Shazam!” has decent voice casting, fantastic animation, and epic battles worthy of its own feature-length movie. However, given it's 22 minute run time, it's basically an episode of “Justice League Unlimited” with better animation and far more adult action sequences. I give this short a 4 out of 5.
“The Spectre” plays out like a film noir. It has great style and the voice casting was perfect. However, I don't know much about The Spectre from the comics other than he's the entity of Vengeance. My lack of knowledge in the character had me struggling to care about what was going on, and the story wasn't very enticing either. I give this short a 2.5 out of 5.
“Jonah Hex” was straight up boring. Personally, I've never really cared for Jonah Hex as I'm just not a fan of westerns in general. I liked the final scene of this one, but I really didn't care about anything going on, and so I give this short a 1 out of 5.
“Green Arrow” was actually really good. Green Arrow has always been a character I felt deserved more limelight than he gets (and I'm glad the TV show “Smallville” utilized him, although I felt he was under used). This short showed Green Arrow off in a great way, and I think this would have been great as a live action piece than an animated short film. I give this short a 3 our of 5.
In short, I'm very disappointed in what “DC Showcase: Superman/Shazam!: The Return of Black Adam” turned out to be... not at all what I was expecting/hoping for. But I got 2 decent shorts out of it. Sadly, I also got a mediocre short and one bad short.
I give “DC Showcase: Superman/Shazam!: The Return of Black Adam” a 2.5 our of 5.
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