‘Shazam!’ // Film Review

We all wanted to be a superhero at some point in our lives. Not only will it give us unbelievable powers, but it’s an opportunity to take care of the trouble in the process. And with the plethora of superhero movies coming our way, Shazam! will easily make you feel like you’re a little kid again wanting to be a hero in the best way imaginable.

Billy Batson (Asher Angel, Disney Channel’s Andi Mack) is a troubled 15-year-old foster kid who’s been bouncing from every nearly every foster home in hopes of finding his mother. He’s then put in a new foster home in Philadelphia. Everything changes when he encounters an ancient wizard (Djimon Hounsou), and he’s magically transformed into an adult superhero when saying the magic word “Shazam” (Zachary Levi), a champion to defeat evil.

Zachary Levi and Jack Dylan Grazer in Shazam! (2019)

While I’ve never read any of the DC comics based on Bill Parker and C.C. Beck’s creation (originally called “Captain Marvel”), my anticipation for the latest superhero flick skyrocketed ever since the trailer from Comic-Con was released where it truly looks like the superhero version of Big. Yes, the DCEU had has their ups and downs along the way, but I had this positive feeling that Shazam! wasn’t gonna be a misstep and this was going to be entertaining. And yet, it absolutely succeeded because Shazam! was a blast.

Director David. F Sandberg (Lights Out, Annabelle: Creation) and screenwriter Henry Gayden managed to not take the cheesy route and was able to know how to make this character unique and awesome in the same world Batman and Superman exist without taking itself seriously. Not only does the story still tackle the theme of responsibility with becoming a hero, but unexpectedly grasped the concept of family, which isn’t a bad thing with its steady tone and stakes.

Levi’s performance as the title character is one of the coolest portrayals of a DC hero ever on the big screen. His presence never puts the film on hold and brings balance the fun of it all. There’s just something funny and believable about a 38-year-old man playing a 15-year-old. And if Levi didn’t care one bit about playing this character, there would be no way of falling in love with Billy/Shazam. He just seemed like he was having an amazing time. And the chemistry he has with It star Jack Dylan Grazer (scene-stealer, btw) as Freddy, Billy’s disabled foster brother, or with Asher, is what it’s all about in here.

Zachary Levi, Grace Fulton, Jovan Armand, Jack Dylan Grazer, Ian Chen, and Faithe Herman in Shazam! (2019)

People have criticized some of the most recent DC comics movies as dark and moody to the point it just seems depressing. Not Shazam!. This is the kind of fun entertainment that’s really needed in this universe. Even though there were some horror elements included in here, hence Sandberg’s previous movies, but that doesn’t change the fact. Even the action delivers on the basis of feeling exciting and never gets boring at any point.

Mark Strong plays the main villain Dr. Thaddeus Sivana. The film opens with some back story about him when he was a child and never was able to gain potential from his father. He did start off as a generic bad guy, but he came to cross as menacing when the film continues.

And who would’ve thought this was gonna make me laugh constantly? Not me. All of the jokes did its favor by being hilarious. Most of it came from the shenanigans of discovering what powers Billy has the ability to handle, but it’s that well-timed comedy that never felt out of place.

If we must go into a couple of complaints, it does kind of starts off a bit slow when trying to introduce these characters. Besides that, some of the CGI was about hit-or-miss, especially with certain characters.

How would I perfectly describe Shazam! in four movies or less? If you combine 1978’s Superman, Big, Chronicle, and Spider-Man: Homecoming, it would be the equivalent of a delicious dinner that feels fulfilling when it ends.

Believe me when I say Shazam! is really what we all need today. This injected the kind of fun that’s very much needed in the DCEU. Not only was it adventurous, but all the action was great, it was funny, brings the heart, and Levi’s performance carries for the entire two hours that I could watch for another hour of. This is the kind of superhero movie that’s made for everyone. If Shazam! wasn’t on your radar before, it should be right now.

DCEU Rankings:

  • Wonder Woman
  • Shazam!
  • Man of Steel
  • Aquaman
  • Justice League
  • Batman V. Superman
  • Suicide Squad

Grade: B+

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