Shazam! Movie Review
“Shazam!” is a magical treat from the DC Comics Universe, because it takes a totally different approach to this version of a Superhero. It goes back to echo the 1988 film “Big”. Take a young kid about fifteen years old, and transform him, but not into Tom Hanks as an adult. Instead this movie will infuse him with Superhero posers that come from Ancient Gods and Warriors. Turn him into the “Champion of Eternity” – with all these powers: the wisdom of Solomon, the strength of Hercules, the stamina of Atlas, powers from Zeus, the courage of Achilles, and the speed of Mercury. Hey, doesn’t that spell out “SHAZAM”?
An orphan in Philadelphia named Billy Batson (Asher Angel) gets into trouble with the police, again. His last chance is with a foster family who has a few other kids in their home. Billy meets his foster-brother Freddy Freeman (Jack Dylan Grazer) who has crutches and gets bullied at school. Billy defends his friend and needs to flee from the bully’s rage. Escaping onto a subway car, it turns into a magical entrance to a Hall of Champions. There is an ancient Wizard named Shazam (Djimon Hounsou). He is the last of the Champions. He had tried to find a human with a pure heart in the past, but he failed to find the right one. Billy is the best one to take control, only thing he needs to do is say the word.
Billy says the magic word, and the Ancient Wizard is gone. Billy has now become the (much older) superpowered one named Shazam (Zachary Levi). He can use the name to transform back and forth into the Billy (the Kid), or back into the Eternal Champion – Shazam. All in all, a pretty good day! Shazam makes it back and convinces Freddy that the massively super-powered person named Shazam is really still Billy on the inside. Freddy is well-versed in all Super-powers, since he reads all the DC Comics. Billy needs to become Shazam when there are people he can save, so they can both make a little money on the side.
However, there is another person in the city who was once tested by the Ancient Wizard. Years ago, Thaddeus Sivana (Mark Strong) was taken but he proved himself unworthy of the honor to Eternal Champion. Sivana finds a way back to the Wizard and steals an energy ball power by the Seven Deadly Sins. He takes the ball to become a Super-powered villain. Now, Sivana finds that the Wizard has given his powers away to a young boy. He sets out to find young Billy Batson, so he can be destroyed. Perhaps along with his new foster family. Silvia has many of the same type of powers that Shazam possesses, but he will use them for evil and for destruction.
So far, the DC Universe films have been awfully sketchy in the past years. However, they had started getting back on the right track with “Wonder Woman”. They followed that up with the very popular “Aquaman”. And now, they reach for an out-of-left-field wonder by bringing us “Shazam!”. The fun and entertainment level is maxed out with this movie. It is funny and clever and it gets the tone just right. Credit a good story and script and a Director who brings out the sheer joy of being a Superhero to the screen. Plus the casting choices are also Super. Zachary Levi and Jack Dylan Grazer really stand out, and Mark Strong and Asher Angel do a superb job.
You can let the DC Extended Universe people know that movies like “Shazam!” are better than many of the other bleak and joyless movies that have come before. Vote with your pocketbook and see a great Superhero movie. Let the DCEU know with your support of “Shazam!”. Just Say The Word.
Directed by: David F. Sandberg
Screenplay by: Henry Gayden
Story by: Henry Gayden, Darren Lemke
Based on: Shazam! (by Bill Parker, C. C. Beck)
Starring: Zachary Levi, Mark Strong, Asher Angel, Jack Dylan Grazer, Djimon Hounsou
Length: 132 minutes
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for intense sequences of action, language, and suggestive material
Genre: Comic Book, Action, Adventure