As 'Batman vs. Superman' very clearly teases the upcoming 'Justice League' crossover (the subtitle is 'Dawn of Justice' after all), we all sort of assumed that The Rock's long-teased 'Shazam!' movie would fit into that blueprint somehow. Even The Rock himself tweeted the art above of his character, Black Adam, fighting both Shazam and Superman. But, now it seems that 'Shazam!' will be operating independently from the rest of the other DC superheroes at Warner Bros.

In fact, 'Shazam!' isn't even a Warner Bros. movie; it's being released by WB's sister studio, New Line, which traditionally handles more of their lower-budgeted genre fare (after an early start in arthouse and foreign releases, the studio made its name with the 'Nightmare on Elm Street' franchise). This isn't to say that 'Shazam!' is going to be some half-assed found footage superhero movie, just that by distribution alone, it's already separated from 'Batman vs. Superman' and the ilk.

Even more telling is this quote from New Line head Toby Emmerich, who told Entertainment Weekly:

It’s a DC comic, but it’s not a Justice League character, and it’s not a Marvel comic. The tone and the feeling of the movie will be different from the other range of comic book movies. It will have a sense of fun and a sense of humor. But the stakes have to be real.

"It's not a Justice League character." That's pretty much all you need to know. Not to mention that the planned tone of their 'Shazam!' movie seems wildly different than what Zack Snyder is working on with 'Batman vs. Superman' and 'Justice League' and their reported "no jokes!" policy.

It may be disappointing at first glance - there was some early speculation that The Rock's Black Adam could wind up being the Loki of the 'Justice League' world - but we actually think it's the smart move. The knee-jerk reaction would be to follow Marvel's example to a tee and Marvel isn't making any standalone movies that don't fit into their larger universe (see: the problems with 'Ant-Man' that led to Edgar Wright's departure). This is why we're not getting a Black Widow movie that pretty much everyone at this point wants to see. Marvel's reasoning is understandable (their success certainly backs up their business plan), but it also limits their output. Shazam doesn't fit into the 'Justice League' universe Warner Bros. is planning, and that's OK, they're still making the movie. It'll exist on its own and audiences will be smart enough to realize it's its own thing. We'd frankly like to see more of that going forward.

No word yet on when 'Shazam!' will hit theaters in between all the other 'Justice League' films, but the studio has dates set from now until the end of time.

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