Shazam 2’s Fast & Furious Trailer Meme Works (Even Though It Shouldn’t)
The Fast & Furious meme in the trailer for Shazam! The Fury of the Gods should feel outdated, but it works well for the Billy Batson character. Set to release theatrically on December 21, 2022, the Shazam! sequel will continue the story of Billy Batson (Asher Angel), a teenager with the power to transform into the titular adult superhero (Zachary Levi). Since the first movie ended with Billy’s siblings gaining powers as well, the second Shazam! movie will feature the whole family working together to defeat a new set of enemies.
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The Fury of the Gods will also continue Shazam!’s practice of including a lot of pop culture references. For example, the sequel’s trailer shows Shazam eating lunch at a fast food restaurant with one of the villainous daughters of Atlas, Hespera (Helen Mirren). Shazam seems to be defending himself by explaining that while he lacks experience, he’s not alone, and he knows that “it’s all about family” thanks to the Fast & Furious movies. On one level, it’s a funny reference due to the fact that Mirren is a recurring co-star in the Fast & Furious franchise. The line is also specifically tied to a popular meme mocking a common theme and catchphrase from those movies. Nearly every version of this meme features Vin Diesel, who stars as Dominic Toretto in the Fast & Furious movies, emphasizing the strength of family.
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On the surface, this Easter egg may seem outdated since the Fast & Furious movies have been around for more than two decades, and the Fast & Furious “family” meme is now over a year old. The timing suggests that the meme was forced into Shazam! The Fury of the Gods for a silly joke, possibly due to Mirren’s appearance. However, this pop culture reference also works for Billy Batson/Shazam’s character. Despite appearing to be an adult, he is still actually a teenager who enjoys blockbuster movie franchises, like Fast & Furious, and their memes. Due to this, Shazam’s reference is in-character and even made funnier by the idea that he is a little late to use memes. In addition, Shazam’s reference to the Fast & Furious meme helps set up Billy’s characterization and the theme of the Shazam! sequel.
How The Shazam 2 Fast & Furious Reference Helps Set Up Shazam
Although he is a powerful superhero as Shazam, Billy Batson still needs to be a relatable teenager to viewers. In Shazam! The Fury of the Gods, Easter eggs and other pop culture references like the Fast & Furious meme should help accomplish this. Shazam mentioning the Fast & Furious franchise’s emphasis on family proves that Billy watches the same movies the audience might and enjoys making the same types of jokes that many viewers have made themselves. Additionally, the Fast & Furious meme shows how Billy has changed since the first movie. In Shazam!, Billy was lonely and desperate to find his biological mother. Set two years later, Shazam 2 shows that he now trusts his foster family to support him – even if they occasionally miss their cue, as they do with his Fast & Furious reference.
Similarly, Shazam! The Fury of the Gods’ reference to the Fast & Furious meme helps set up the theme of the DCEU sequel. Throughout the Fast & Furious movies, the franchise has emphasized that family is about who one chooses to love and trust. The first Shazam! had the same theme, focusing on how family can be built on choice rather than genetics. Billy discovered this when he met his biological mother, and she admitted to abandoning him. In contrast, his foster parents and siblings welcomed him, and Billy grew to accept them as his true family. Based on Shazam’s Fast & Furious reference, Shazam 2 will continue to explore this theme, especially as Billy faces greater pressures as both a superhero and a family member. Due to this, the Fast & Furious meme in Shazam! Fury of the Gods was not just some random pop culture reference but instead works as a clever way to develop the sequel’s humor, characterization, and theme.
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