Billy Batson is returning to the big screen with Shazam! Fury of the Gods, and DC’s sequel can further dive into Shazam’s powers. Once known as Captain Marvel and currently set to be known as The Captain in the comics, Shazam is one of DC’s most unique characters. After appearing in live-action for the first time in the 1974’s Shazam! TV series, Billy made his theatrical debut in Shazam! (2019), a movie mostly inspired by the New 52 iteration of the character. One of the most powerful beings in the DC Universe, Shazam has yet to showcase the full extent of his abilities on the big screen.
One key aspect of the New 52 rendition of Shazam that was incorporated into the DCEU movie was the addition of the Shazam Family, sometimes known as the Marvel Family. Though Shazam! was an origin story told through Billy Batson’s point of view, the film introduced and gave powers to the Shazam family right away. Shazam!’s final battle involved Billy and his family taking on the Seven Deadly Sins, which by itself was a testament to how powerful Shazam is – the Shazam Family is powered by Billy, after all. Here is a breakdown of Shazam’s powers in the DCEU, all of which stem from a different entity or mythological figure.
6 Wisdom of Solomon
The “S” from “Shazam” comes from Solomon, and from Solomon comes Shazam’s wisdom. How the wisdom of Solomon is portrayed in the DCEU, however, is a bit different from other iterations. An interesting approach to the DCEU’s Shazam was to have Billy Batson act as the kid he really is only when he takes on the Shazam form. Billy carries way too many burdens with him, including what he discovers about his biological mother, and it is only in the Shazam form that he gets to enjoy life. As a result, the DCEU’s Shazam is not a Superman-like figure who has the answers to all problems.
Other Captain Marvel/Shazam adaptations, such as the DC Animated Universe’s Justice League Unlimited show, leaned heavily toward the wisdom of Solomon aspect of the character. In those particular iterations, Shazam acts very much like a centered, wise adult. That said, while the DCEU’s Shazam went for a different approach, the character still displayed his intellect when in battle. Billy realized that he had to split his powers and create new Shazam champions, plus he came up with a strategy to stop Doctor Sivana.
5 Strength of Hercules
The wisdom of Solomon means that Shazam can keep up with Batman or Wonder Woman when it comes to battle experience and combat strategies, but it is the strength of Hercules that puts Billy Batson on the same level as the Justice League heroes when it is time to fight. Unlike Superman, whose super-strength can be explained by differences between human and Kryptonian physiology, Shazam’s super-strength comes from Hercules. Curiously, Hercules is officially part of the MCU and the DCEU. When it comes to sheer strength, Shazam can rival Justice League icons like Superman and Wonder Woman, something that was displayed during Shazam!’s final battle against Sivana.
It would have been interesting to see how Shazam would flair on a fight against Black Adam or even Superman. While Doctor Sivana could have ended up being a Shazam champion himself and had an impressive set of superpowers, Billy Batson has yet to meet an antagonist who truly rivals his strength in the DCEU. Given that aShazam vs. Black Adam DCEU fight is virtually impossible given the current status of the franchise, Billy will not get to test his strength of Hercules against his arch-nemesis. That said, Shazam will face the Daughters of Atlas and a dragon in Shazam!Fury of the Gods.
4 Stamina of Atlas
An often overlooked superhero quality is how they are able to engage in several battles without taking a break. Despite having no experience as a superhero, Billy gets to endure whatever situation he faces thanks to the stamina of Atlas. In Greek mythology, Atlas is responsible for holding up the sky, hence the stamina aspect of Shazam’s powers. Whereas the Flash has to eat an immense amount of food due to how fast he burns calories, Billy Batson’s superhero form works much simpler thanks to the stamina of Atlas. This is also why Shazam gets to share his powers with his family without getting weaker.
It is ironic that Shazam’s sequel Fury of the Gods puts Billy against the Daughters of Atlas, as Shazam’s ability to keep fighting no matter the circumstances stems from Atlas. The Shazam!Fury of the Gods villains, played by Helen Mirren, Lucy Liu, and Rachel Zegler, deem Billy and his family as unworthy of the power of the gods, and they want to reclaim it. Both Wonder Woman and Justice League established that the DCEU gods do interfere in the world of men, such as when Zeus and Ares joined Amazons, Atlanteans, and humans against Darkseid.
3 Power of Zeus
Without his lightning abilities, Shazam might have come off as nothing but another Superman. Fortunately, the power of Zeus makes Billy Batson’s superhero form stand out from other heavy-hitter DC characters like Superman. The lightning bolt reference in Shazam’s symbol is also responsible for igniting Billy Batson’s powerful transformation into Shazam whenever the kid says “Shazam”. In the DCEU canon, Wonder Woman is the daughter of Zeus, which links her to Shazam in this continuity. In fact, Wonder Woman has lightning powers that are sort of similar to Shazam’s. The DCEU’s Zeus first appeared in Zack Snyder’s Justice League “History Lesson” chapter fighting Darkseid’s Apokolips armada.
Another DCEU character who has lightning powers is Black Adam, something that should have brought the characters closer. The Black Adam movie was expected to have significant ties to Shazam! and its titular character, mostly because their powers stem from the same magic. Though those strong connections between Shazam and Black Adam were not part of the Dwayne Johnson-led film after all, Black Adam did reference Shazam. To access his powers, the villain turned into an anti-hero played by The Rock had to say the word “Shazam,” thus being granted all the abilities displayed by Shazam, including the power of Zeus.
2 Courage of Achilles
It takes courage for someone to accept their role as a champion of an all-powerful wizard and then become a superhero. Though Billy Batson was naturally courageous, which is one of the reasons why he was chosen by the wizard Shazam in the first place, Shazam’s superhero form comes with the courage of Achilles. This is why, despite being quite afraid of Doctor Sivana, Shazam never ran away from his mission. To be fair, Billy did try to run away from Doctor Sivana during their first encounter, including by throwing a Batman toy at the villain. Still, Shazam soon accepted his role as a superhero and eventually stopped Sivana.
1 Speed of Mercury
Shazam! Fury of the Gods’ DCU hero is as strong as Superman and can conjure lightning bolts like Wonder Woman, but he is also a Flash-like speedster. Granted, Shazam’s super-speed is more limited compared to that of the Flash, but still, it is a useful superpower. For example, Shazam got to prevent a bus from falling off a bridge only because he was fast enough to reach the vehicle before it was too late. Billy also saved Mary from an accident thanks to his super-speed. Shazam’s speedster powers come from Mercury, the mythological messenger who is also referenced in the helmet of Jay Garrick, DC’s original Flash.
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