This article contains spoilers for “Shazam: Fury of the Gods.”
Who bought Skittles from the concession stand prior to enjoying “Shazam: Fury of the Gods” in theaters this weekend? If you didn’t, the movie itself attempts to brainwash us into buying Skittles — or at least buying them as a viable plot device.
On the one hand, it is admittedly funny when “Fury of the Gods” likens the rainbow-colored candy to ambrosia, the nectar of the gods. Steeped in both DC superhero mythology and pop Greek mythology, the movie builds up unicorns as a fearsome, misanthropic threat, only for the youngest member of the Shazamily, Darla Dudley (Faithe Herman), to entice one out of the darkness with Skittles. Having a cute kid sell the idea that Skittles hath charms to soothe the savage beast is an amusing flourish.
On the other hand, the joke wears out its welcome when the “Taste the rainbow” slogan slips into Darla’s dialogue as a one-liner — not just once, but twice. It starts to feel like a backdoor Skittles commercial, but believe it or not, the joke wasn’t originally intended as egregious product placement. Speaking to io9, director David F. Sandberg explained:
“It was something that I guess [co-screenwriter Henry Gayden] came up with it when he wrote it. And I like when you have real products that actually exist, rather than make up something that people will feel like, ‘Oh, that’s supposed to be Skittles,’ but it’s called something else. So no, that, that was in the script. And then we had to ask Skittles for permission and they seemed to really like it. I think they’re now going to do some sort of cross-promotion thing. But it wasn’t like Skittles came to us [and said] ‘Hey, can you work this in somehow?'”
Taste The Product Placement
Taking David F. Sandberg’s comments at face value, the Skittles joke in “Shazam: Fury of the Gods” seems to have arisen from an honest attempt at humor, though even he acknowledges that it could lead to “cross-promotion.” In hindsight, the whole thing might have worked better if it had been an actual TV commercial, because while it may not be intentional product placement, it sure tastes like it.
The Skittles joke is just the first sign of narrative trouble as “Fury of the Gods” heads toward its textbook superhero movie ending problems. Leading up to that moment, the film isn’t reinventing the wheel, but it doesn’t need to. All it needs to do is be better than the last major superhero release, Marvel’s “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” (which it is).
There’s no acting on the Jonathan Majors level in “Fury of the Gods,” but from a purely aesthetic visual standpoint, nothing looks as bad as MODOK, either. In a world without Superman (until James Gunn brings him back in “Superman: Legacy”), seeing Shazam (Zachary Levi) and his caped family fly in to rescue civilians on a bridge serves as a reminder of the simple pleasures of that kind of story. The Wizard (Djimon Hounsou) and young Freddy (Jack Dylan Grazer), meanwhile, have their own chucklesome buddy comedy going, and there are other moments that elicit audible laughs in the theater, like when Hespera (Helen Mirren) is reading aloud the letter the Shazamily has dictated via their magical, Siri-like, automatic writing pen.
In the end, it feels like all those scary unicorns are just far too easily tamed by Skittles in “Fury of the Gods,” leaving the movie to get a little derailed by cross-promotion.
“Shazam: Fury of the Gods” is in theaters now.
Read this next: The Most Frustrating Plot Holes In The DCEU
The post Shazam: Fury of the Gods Is Both the Best and Worst Skittles Commercial Ever appeared first on /Film.
/Film – Shazam: Fury Of The Gods Is Both The Best And Worst Skittles Commercial Ever
Author: Joshua Meyer
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March 19, 2023