Analyzing The Queer Representation In “Shazam 2: Fury of the Gods”

D. J. Cotrona and Jovan Armand Shazam 2 movie
D. J. Cotrona and Jovan Armand play Pedro Peña in Shazam 2: Fury of the Gods (Image via Instagram – jovanarmandofficial)

With Shazam 2: Fury of the Gods finally getting its theatrical release, one of the things I was looking forward to was how the story would address Pedro Peña’s queer sexuality after hinting at it during the first Shazam movie from 2019.

This article of Shazam 2: Fury of the Gods contains minor spoilers. Proceed with caution!

Due to the first Shazam film and the sequel being considered family films, even though they still feature some very dark elements, there’s only so much the creative team can do when it comes to exploring a character’s queer sexuality. Pedro Peña was hinted to be gay during the first film. So, how did Shazam 2 fare? Well, in a sense, I think it gave me more than I expected.

We get to see that Pedro’s queer quite early in the movie. There’s a scene at the Vásquez house with everyone doing their own thing. Pedro (the younger version being played by Jovan Armand and the superhero version by D.J. Cotrona) is seen sitting in front of the TV with his foster mother while a sports game is playing. Pedro’s not interested in sports, but he sure is very interested in the picture of a half-naked baseball player featured in a sports underwear ad.

Frankly, I wasn’t ready to have the film be so obvious about Pedro’s sexuality in such a manner. So kudos to the creative team for going such a route as early as possible.

Other than that, Shazam 2 also had a coming out scene for Pedro. While being chased by one of the villains, it’s time for the kids to tell their foster parents the truth about their superpowers. Thinking that sharing a secret meant something else, Pedro declares to his family that he’s gay. The scene is quite funny, and I’m sure people in the audience laughed (similar to how mine did). The humor in the coming out scene isn’t done at Pedro’s expense, and the moment is resolved in a well-written manner with Pedro’s family saying that they all already knew and are supportive of him.

In my opinion, having Pedro be so open about being gay was unexpected. I really thought that the film wouldn’t bring up his sexuality again after the underwear ad scene. But nopes. The movie decided to make things very clear when it came to Pedro, and that’s a good thing.

As a movie that focuses a lot on the concept of family and heteronormative relationships (there’s a whole bunch of flirting going on between straight people), the least the script could do was handle Pedro’s sexuality in the way it did.

Shazam 2: Fury of the Gods was released in the USA on March 17, 2023. It has a reported production budget of $110-120 million and as of writing this, it has managed to gross $60 million at the global box office.

The low box office performance doesn’t really come as a surprise, considering how things are being handled over at the DCEU after James Gunn and Peter Safran took charge. A lot of people just aren’t interested in watching the remaining DCEU films before the soft reboot occurs.

But yeah, anyway, at least Shazam 2 decided to actually address Pedro being gay instead after hinting at that part of his character in the first movie. The creative team could have easily ignored it, but they didn’t. So, major points to them for that.

Did you watch Shazam 2: Fury of the Gods? What did you think of the onscreen queer representation?

Let us know.

Author: Farid-ul-Haq

Farid has a Double Masters in Psychology and Biotechnology as well as an M.Phil in Molecular Genetics. He is the author of numerous books including Missing in Somerville, and The Game Master of Somerville. He gives us insight into comics, books, TV shows, anime/manga, video games, and movies.

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