It’s the 55-year-old’s second stint as a DC villain, having previously been Sinestro opposite Ryan Reynolds in 2011’s critically-maligned Green Lantern, a film Strong believes received an unfair kicking at the time due to superhero fatigue and mismanaged expectations.
“I liked Green Lantern,” Strong tells Yahoo ahead of the release of Shazam! on Friday.
“I’m one of the people who didn’t think it was as bad as people seemed to make out. I think there were some elements took issue with. I think the CGI was released in trailer form, before it was actually ready, so people got a bit down on that, and I think coming at the end of a summer of which there had been Captain America, X-Men: First Class, and Thor, it was the end of a bunch of superhero movies, and a bit of fatigue had set in.”
Green Lantern, released in June 2011, received overwhelmingly poor reviews earning a low 28% approval rating on reviews aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, which neatly summed up the film as “noisy, overproduced, and thinly written”. It went on to flop at the box office taking just £166 million globally against a reported budget of £151 million. Reynolds has disowned the film, frequently poking fun at it in the meta Deadpool films.
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Sinestro, Green Lantern’s comic book nemesis, wasn’t the film’s primary villain, and in fact was only revealed to be a possible future adversary in a mid-credit scene. Strong says that playing Sivana has finally fulfilled that promise of playing a purely evil DC villain.
“Having played Sinestro, I never got to take it further and really explore the evil side of him,” explains Strong, “so, to be able to do that with Sivana, I feel like my unfinished business in the DC universe is now completed.”
On comparing the two DC characters, Strong says playing Sivana – who, if he had a moustache, would be twirling it in every scene – allowed him to really lean into the dark side, more than Sinestro ever did.
“It feels like I’ve taken that further, because this guy is heat-seeking ballistic evil, as I like to describe him. I feel like he’s a proper bad guy.”
Shazam! lands in cinemas on Friday, 5 April, and it’s a total blast.