Levi's latest DC epic is out in theaters now, as the current era of the DCEU starts to wind down.
Starting after this December's Aquaman and The Lost Kingdom, a new DCU will begin in earnest, leaving the current SnyderVerse canon of film in the rearview. This turning of the super-powered page has caused fans engrained with the current era of DC filmmaking to dig their heels in even more, with many of them rejecting anything that is not connected to Zack Snyder's vision for the blue brand.
Shazam himself even got in hot water with these passionate fans recently, as he revealed exactly why he thought the Snyder-era of the franchise failed to "tap into a larger audience" when compared to the MCU.
Zachary Levi Calls Out DC Fans
In a new interview, Shazam! Fury of the Gods star Zachary Levi called out the DCEU's toxic fandom.
Speaking on The Happy Sad Confused podcast with Josh Horowitz, Levi tackled the pressure that comes with playing a DC superhero and constantly being judged. He revealed how "tough" it has been, noting that even he is "constantly...critiquing [himself]" when he watches the Shazam! movies:
“Listen man, yeah, I mean… it’s already been tough. Most actors can’t watch themselves on screen, right? It’s very difficult to divorce yourself from the experience you were having while shooting those scenes, what you were thinking, and what you were feeling… And I’m constantly just critiquing myself physically like, ‘Stand up straight, you buffoon!’ Like, ‘My gosh, your posture is horrible.’ Like all of the entire movie, I just can’t help it. And also looking at myself, and my performance choices, and being like, ‘Oh man, you’re such an idiot there.’"
He called the whole experience "very difficult," adding that on top of his own personal critiques, there is this group of fans who are "just negative to be negative:"
"It’s very very difficult. It’s very difficult, but, you know, listen, I did my best, I have to accept that, I know that I did my best, and all the other stuff is out of your hands. But yeah I mean even on Twitter today, scrolling through, there’s people that have released some advanced reviews, or just you know fans who have seen it, and there’s this incredibly positive stuff out there. And then, of course, there’s these other people, like the internet is full of, which is a very just negative to be negative people… "
The actor pointed to this "one particular group of people," assumedly alluding to SnyderVerse fans:
"There’s a whole contingent of comic book fans that it’s really unfortunate that there’s this one particular group of people that think I… well, they don’t like me, because I don’t agree with them on other comic book movies. You know who I’m talking about."
He said that this group of fans is just one example of the "venom, and toxicity, and bullying that goes on in these cyber dimensions:"
"But instead of there being a conversation, they take up so many of my words, or things completely out of context, and then they go stir up all their other people that they know online, and they all just want to attack, and attack, and attack, and attack. And it’s really sad, because this is just one example of so many examples of the amount of just venom, and toxicity, and bullying that goes on in these cyber dimensions."
Trying to justify why someone would spend their time attacking these stars, Levi noted that they must feel "powerless" and that "tearing other people down" helps them "feel bolstered:"
"And people, they really get off on it, because it’s like they feel very powerless… Again, so what I try to do is I just I try to empathize and go, ’Oh, these people that are being so vicious online, I can only assume that they are very powerless people, who need to feel the flex by being anonymously online, tearing other people down, and hoping for the reactions, and then they feel bolstered in that, and it’s just… it’s sad."
He closed by saying that he tries to "see through that filter" and "trying not to allow [the negativity] to creep in:"
"But I know I can see through that filter, so I don’t allow it, or I try not to allow it to creep in, and make me start being negative with myself.”
How Bad Is DC's Toxic Fandom?
While passion for things such as the latest in comic book movie-making is nothing new, it seems as though the DC fandom (or one particular contingent of it) has something of a toxicity problem.
Not to say the DCEU is the only fanbase that has toxic fans, but it does seem to be worse than others when it comes to the blue brand. And Zachary Levi is just the latest person to bring it up.
Suicide Squad David Ayer has been vocal about the "hate, trolling, [and] toxicity" the DC fandom harbors, lamenting that he "[has] no patience or tolerance for [that kind of] behavior."
And it is not as though these SnyderVerse fans have this back catalog of successful films to stand upon when bandying about their hate online.
It is hard not to say this current era of DC filmmaking was an abject failure. Any attempt at universe-building was quickly stimied whether it be because of poor critical response, changing of leadership at Warner Bros., or Zack Snyder having to step away from the franchise because of extenuating personal circumstances.
Now, these Snyder fans take every opportunity they can to tear down anyone and anything not connected to the Zack Snyder vision, without ever even giving that person or thing a chance.
Maybe they should think before they criticize they should give the likes of Zachary Levi, James Gunn, or anyone else that may be the target of their hate a chance. And after that, if constructive and in-good-faith criticism is still needed, then voice any concerns one may have.
Shazam! Fury of the Gods is in theaters worldwide now.