If you’re a fan of superhero comics or movies, this is a golden era. Since DC and Marvel took their comic rivalry to the silver screen, movie theaters worldwide have been inundated with super hero stories of every flavour, and it seems as though pretty much every super hero ever to appear in a comic has now found his or her way into the movies.
The preponderance of super hero movies is also evident in the list of contenders for Best Picture at next year’s Academy Awards. Although the big night is still ten months away, the early betting in the Best Picture market includes no fewer than eight entrants from the genre, including Shazam!
Starring Zachary Levi and Mark Strong, Shazam! is the seventh movie in the DC Extended Universe and is based on a DC Comics hero of the same name: a teenage boy who can transform into an adult super hero. Unlike some of its rivals, the movie has already been released, and has won praise from critics for its humour and for its darker tone, as well as grossing $193.7 million globally.
But despite making a strong impression since its release on April 5, bookmakers have remained largely unmoved. Shazam! has been given a quote of 60/1 by Paddy Power, which makes it a bigger outsider than Avengers: Endgame (14/1) and Captain Marvel (20/1).
And punters considering taking a chance on this quirky take on the super hero genre should remember that despite the long and proud history of super hero movies, and regular Best Special Effects awards, none has ever won the award for Best Picture. In a year when the likes of Martin Scorcese, Quentin Tarantino and Steven Soderbergh all have leading Best Picture contenders, Shazam! looks like a long shot for Oscar success.