San Diego Comic Con is the time for studios to release their buzziest footage, trailers, and hints at whats to come within the next year or so for fans of their many, many franchises. With many of the usual heavy hitters absent from the convention this year, Warner Bros. was the star of Saturdays Hall H panel schedule, with a Harry Potter spinoff, a new Godzilla movie, and a ton of superheroes bringing the action. Considering how the studios previous forays into the DC comic universe have been received (in a word, poorly), WB seems to have decided to veer away from the grimdark tone of Justice League—and make way for stories that are actually fun to watch.
Shazam! is one of these lighter films, with a first trailer packed with the pratfalls and shenanigans one might expect from a story about a young boy who finds himself able to transform into a fully grown adult man with the powers of Superman. Zachary Levi and Jack Dylan Grazer (who played Eddie Kaspbrak in last years fantastic IT) make for a hilarious pair in that initial clip, the two of them trying, with mixed results, to find out the scope of the formers abilities—which is all fun and games until a villainous Mark Strong shows up. Man, isnt it nice to see a DC superhero smile for once?
Similarly, fans finally got to see footage of James Wans highly anticipated Aquaman, a spinoff of sorts from Justice League which finds our amphibious hero (Jason Momoa) struggling to decide whether to seize his rightful place on the throne of Atlantis from his half-brother Orm (Patrick Wilson), who wants to use his power to declare war on the Surface World. Amber Heard wears a wig the color of Flamin Hot Cheetos, Nicole Kidman apparently spars with a trident, and Aquaman continues his search for an appropriate catchphrase by screaming “YAHOO” after jumping out of a plane.
Two movies hardly make for a trend, but if Shazam! and Aquaman are any indication, Warner Bros. seems to have found a new direction for its superhero properties—films that take their source material seriously while also making room for a touch of silliness and colorful special effects. If the finished films end up being as much fun as the trailers, the studio may find itself with a few more Wonder Woman-sized hits.
Get Vanity Fairs HWD NewsletterSign up for essential industry and award news from Hollywood.