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Apr 30th 2019 at 2:39:52 PM •••

Does Dr. Sivana fit the trope Vile Villain Saccharine Show?

My feeling is no, because while the film does have a lighter and goofier tone than other DCEU films, it also has scenes that deal with a mother abandoning her child, bullies that beat up a disabled kid, and a father and older brother that torment the youngest member of the family.

The tone is hardly a Sugar Bowl and the disparity between the lighter scenes and the \"boardroom scene\" while intense, isn\'t outside of the balance of light-hearted and scary scenes from films like \"Gremlins\" or \"The Goonies\" or \"Raiders of the Lost Ark\".

I presented this to Ask The Tropers. You can check it out here:

Unfortunately, the feedback wasn\'t especially definitive. But there was a comment made that there would be a benefit in having a trope that sits between Knight Of Cerebus and Vile Villain Saccharine Show to account for a \"villain who is significantly darker than the rest of the work.\"

So this is leaving me with the impression that because a new trope would be helpful to bridge these two tropes, then Vile Villain Saccharine Show is truly focusing on the tone of the story being a Sugar Bowl world that has a villain that wildly clashes with that tone.

In other words, it\'s not just about the gap between villain and story tone but that the setting has to be in a predominately saccharine world as well.

Given that interpretation, the trope really doesn\'t apply to Shazam. The story balances light-hearted, goofy moments with darker themes and has a strong villain in Dr. Sivana. There is the \"boardroom scene\" which, while horrifying, isn\'t any worse than the \"face-melt\" or \"propeller scene\" in \"Raiders\".

As such I propose removing the trope example from the main page.

Edited by rva98014
Apr 16th 2019 at 1:24:10 PM •••

The naming of Billy Batson\'s adult alter-ego seems to be all over the place in the examples and I\'d like to make a call for consistency.

Because of the unique nature of Billy & Captain Marvel the convention of Comic Book Movies Dont Use Codenames is tricky because there are fundamental differences between Billy\'s character and Captain Marvel\'s character.

I\'d like to recommend the following naming conventions:

Use Billy to refer to Billy in his normal, unpowered, 14-year-old form.

Use Shazam to refer to the wizard.

Use either Shazam/Captain Marvel or Billy-as-Shazam to refer to Billy\'s adult, superpowered form.

My preference would be for the former because it acknowledges that the character is, according to DC, now officially called \"Shazam\", but it also honors his original title.


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Apr 16th 2019 at 1:51:56 PM •••

The official end credits refer to Billy\'s adult form as Shazam, so we should keep that in mind.

Apr 16th 2019 at 3:30:51 PM •••

I fully understand that the credits list Zachary Levi as Shazam. The point I wanted to make is to call for an agreement on a naming conventions that will be consistently used by the tropers here at tvtropes when they write their examples.

In watching this page (and Trivia and YMMV) unfold over time, I\'ve seen examples that initially used just \"Shazam\" to refer to Zachary, only to have another troper change it to something else. Then another troper changes it again.

In the end, I don\'t much care what naming convention is adopted, I\'d just like the current community of tropers that are actively editing these pages to come to a consensus and then be consistent in its use.

I shared what my preference would be, but I\'ll work with whatever consensus is achieved.

Apr 16th 2019 at 3:55:16 PM •••

Regular Billy should be \"Billy\", adult Billy should be called \"Shazam\", the old Wizard should be called \"Wizard.\"

Apr 22nd 2019 at 9:20:22 AM •••

It does appear that the naming convention is settling down. For reference purposes, the following conventions will be used in the examples:

Billy - will be used to refer to young, regular Billy

Shazam - will be used to refer to adult, superhero Billy as per his official DC name

Wizard - will be used to refer to the wizard who gives Billy his powers. May be adjusted to \"the wizard Shazam\" depending on the needs of the specific example. The point being to clearly distinguish the wizard from the champion.

Any time an example is tweaked to conform to the naming convention, this discussion will be referenced.

Apr 12th 2019 at 12:05:52 AM •••

In looking over the various tropes that have been added here and on the YMMV page for the past few months, I\'ve noted that many tropers are either unaware of or not heavily factoring in that this movie is an adaptation of Geoff Johns\' New 52 \"Shazam\" reboot in 2012 that was a backup feature in the Justice League comic.

To any who have read that New 52 series, you can see the elements that have transferred almost directly to the movie like Billy as a jerk, being fostered by the Vasquez family, Shazam the wizard being the last surviving member of the council, rushing to find a champion before the 7 deadly sins are released, Billy bonding with Freddy as he discovers his powers, Billy\'s Vasquez family becoming the new Marvel Family, etc... heck even the reveal of Mr. Mind in the movie\'s stinger comes from the comic.

I feel this is important because many tropes that talk about \"adaptation\" seem to ignore this New 52 series and instead compares the movie to the OG Shazam/Captain Marvel comics. Which creates a bit of an issue.

Take, for example, the Adaptational Attractiveness trope example that focuses on how Dr. Sivana is Gollum with glasses in comics but a robust, attractive man in the movie. This is true if you mean the OG comics but Sivana\'s appearance in the New 52 series is that of a robust, attractive man and the trope isn\'t valid if you focus on the comic that\'s the foundation for the movie.

I\'m putting this out there as a discussion point. If there\'s a consensus on this issue, I\'d like to do some cleanup of a few tropes and reference this discussion as the reason for their modification or removal.

Edited by rva98014
Apr 10th 2019 at 1:47:29 PM •••

Okay, can someone clearly explains the definition of What The Hell Hero to me, please? Two tropers removed my entry about Freddy calling out Billy-as-Shazam for recklessly using his powers and almost cause a bus to catch and killing the people inside, their explanations being “reckless behaviour or unintentional actions” does not count, only morally ambiguous or outright villainous do.

Okay, is there something even remotely morally right in caused a car to almost crash and kill its inhabitants? Freddy was pretty angry when he calls Shazam out on it, in addition to already being angry for his dickish behaviors earlier (which I coild understand does not qualify for an example). The point is, when the trope name says “What the Hell, Hero?”, you would expect any example in which someone calling out a hero for any action that caused harm would qualify, morally ambiguous or not, right? Why must an example be morally ambiguous or villainous actions only when even accidental actions or dickish behaviors can cause harm or distress to people around the hero as well and characters in-story do sometimes call them out on it.

Can anyone explain why? And is there a need to word the trope name better so people don’t get confuse about what qualifies as an example or not?

Edited by Willy2537 Hide/Show Replies
Apr 10th 2019 at 3:28:06 PM •••

Not all tropes are perfectly named and going by just the trope title can result in inaccurate examples. Bottom line is that the full trope definition always carries more weight that what the trope title might imply. What The Hell Hero is defined as \"when characters In-Universe call out one of the heroes for doing something clearly unheroic, if not outright heinous.\"

In D&D terms it would be as if a Lawful Good character clearly and intentionally does something morally gray. Something that would be significant enough for the rest of the party to challenge that character\'s alignment.

In the case of Billy-as-Shazam causing the bus crash, there\'s no doubt he was recklessly using his powers and caused the accident nearly killing the people inside. However, it is also pretty obvious that it was not a deliberate, intentional action.

Irresponsible? Sure. Immature? definitely. But is it a 14-year boy acting with deliberate malice? I\'d have to say No and thus applying the trope to the Freddie/Billy argument wouldn\'t be appropriate.

There\'s probably some other trope involving arguments that would work better, but I don\'t have the time to research a potential alternative at this moment.

Edited by rva98014
Apr 10th 2019 at 6:02:21 PM •••

Fair point. I\'m still not really convinced and personally think the trope name itself could be worded better, but I\'ll raise that point in the trope page\'s discussion instead. It\'s one of those tropes that, as you said, could be easily misinterpreted if read from the trope title only. I\'m still wondering who gives the definition for trope qualifications in the first place.

Apr 6th 2019 at 3:27:50 PM •••

Over the past few days, I\'ve been seeing several items listed as brick jokes that are really callbacks.

A call back is relevant reference to an event taking place earlier than the timeline of the present story. A Callback and Continuity Nod are similar as they both reference something that occurred earlier in the timeline. The distinction is a call back brings back an element that is actually relevant again whereas a Continuity Nod simply refers to something that happened earlier.

A brick joke is a subtrope of the callback, but it has the additional condition that the initial scene sets up the audience to expect some kind of resolution or punchline that doesn\'t occur until much later. Should the resolution not occur the audience would feel there\'s a sense of a \"loose end\" or What Happened To The Mouse at play. The key distinction is the sense of closure.

If an event/situation/dialog is presented and it has an immediate payoff then later the event/situation/dialog occurs again with it\'s own payoff, that\'s a call back.

If an event/situation/dialog is presented and it is just kinda left hanging then later the event/situation/dialog occurs again (or the earlier event is referenced) and now has a payoff, that\'s a brick joke.

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Apr 6th 2019 at 8:02:07 PM •••

I thought call-backs are supposed to reference something that happened in a prior installment in a series? Like, for example, in Star Trek 2009, James T. Kirk is established in his first scene to be a fan of Beastie Boys\' \"Sabotage\". Two movies later in Star Trek Beyond, Beastie Boys\' \"Sabotage\" is the song Kirk used to destroy Krall\'s swarm.

Your definition of the brick joke is that it sets up the audience to expect some kind of resolution or punchline that doesn\'t occur until much later: doesn\'t this apply to the strip club that Shazam went to both times? The first time, it\'s kinda a random thing in the \"training\" montage as Shazam takes advantage of being physically adult to enter the club. When it shows up again, it\'s the first location on Billy-as-Shazam\'s mind as he transported himself and his foster siblings from the Rock of Eternity to escape from Dr. Sivana. Shazam went to the strip club again, which now actually plays a role in the story and the payoff of Shazam messing around with his physically adult body earlier in the story. Shouldn\'t that qualify as a brick joke?

Just wondering, so I wanted to discuss this first. I don\'t think it really qualifies as a call-back, but if it\'s not a brick joke either, then what trope should this apply to? Some version of Chekhov\'s Gun?

Edited by Willy2537
Apr 6th 2019 at 8:26:14 PM •••

The Beastie Boys \"Sabotage\" references is a Continuity Nod variation of the callback. See the CallBack page for a detailed example of the difference between a Call Back and Continuity Nod

Re: brick joke, often it is a case where it sets up the audience to expect some kind of resolution but can also follow the structure of introducing a seemingly irrelevant feature only to return to it much later, after the audience has largely forgotten about it.

To my understanding, it\'s a matter of payoff. In the case of the strip club, the first time we visit, it\'s part of the montage to show \"Billy-as-Shazam abusing his powers\", we have a payoff and if we never revisit the strip club again, nothing would be lost regarding the plot.

In this story we do revisit the strip club later and it has a new payoff being part of the Sivana escape with some humor thrown in. It serves as Call-Back because it brings back an element that is actually relevant again.

I hope to see the movie again soon, I\'ll watch the strip club scenes with the brick joke/call back definitions in mind and see if it strikes me differently.

Apr 6th 2019 at 8:37:27 PM •••

Okay, I\'ll wait to hear your conclusion on the topic later.

On the other topic, I\'m considering adding something regarding Billy\'s compass trinket that his mother won from the fair for him, and he kept it with him to the present day until he gave it back to his mom after he found her because he thought \"she needs it more than him\". I was thinking of adding it as an example of \"Orphans Plot Trinket\" but then I figure that the compass didn\'t really play a role in the story or even helps him find his mother. It\'s only something Billy keeps to remind him of her, so I thought it belongs to the \"Tragic Keepsake\" example, only that a Tragic Keepsake requires someone to be dead, and his mom isn\'t dead, just missing. Would like to know your opinion on that one as well.

Edited by Willy2537
Apr 6th 2019 at 11:10:36 PM •••

With regards to the compass. It\'s not really an Orphans Plot Trinket because, as you pointed out, it doesn\'t actually aid in the finding of his mother. It\'s not a Tragic Keepsake as death isn\'t involved.

I think the better fit is MementoMacGuffin of which Orphans Plot Trinket is a subtype.

The compass fits the basic definition of being an \"object which is the embodiment or representation of the solid, happy relationship between two characters, or of an important memory or period in someone\'s life. \"

However, because it does not \"play a critical role in the story\" it would be a downplayed version of the trope.

If you add the compass as an example of MementoMacGuffin, frame it like

  • MementoMacGuffin: Downplayed. <<talk about how it represents the emotional connection between Billy & his mother>> <<then say how it doesn\'t play a critical role in the plot>>

That\'s my two cents.

Edited by rva98014
Apr 7th 2019 at 3:21:08 AM •••

Okay, I already added it. You can edit the example if you find that it could be worded better. :)

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