Shazam!: Review by @Kush_Hayes
Within the same week of each other, WB DC dropped trailers for two movies. The first one was Aquaman. I thought it looked stupid and unentertaining. I would one of the few who sat it out and it went on to gross over $1B worldwide. The second trailer was for Shazam!. I thought it looked stupid and fun. And the closer we got to the release date, the trailers they put out seemed to further itself away from the dark and gritty that is the DCEU.
Shazam is the first enjoyable DC Super Hero Family Film since Superman: The Movie. Its got a formula. And its a successful formula that as mentioned above puts distance between itself and the DCEU.
While I keep mentioning that this is seperate from the DCEU, we do get plenty of name drops of those superheroes, including Batman and Superman. I think itd be just as enjoyable if the characters werent reminding us every 20 mins or so that they exist. This and maybe an excessive run time of 2hrs and 15 mins might be the only negatives I have for this. Id give this a more positive review had it been 30 mins shorter.
Kush, could you tell us about the movie?!
We meet a child character who will become our antagonist and for a brief moment he is transported from the back seat of his car as his dad and older brother berate him. He meets a Wizard who is played by Djimon Hounsou and after a few minutes decides this child is not “The Champion” that he is not pure of heart and ultimately not worthy of the power of “Shazam” who’s purpose is to keep The Seven Deadly Sins imprisoned in their gargoyle like statutes.
The Wizard is short on time and needs to transfer his powers to a worthy successor because his strength is dwindling and he wont be able to remain their jailer.
We finally meet Billy Batson, our protagonist, who is also 3 or 4. He’s with his mother at the carnaval. He wanders off and gets seperated from her, and remains an orphan for the next ten years. You kind of wonder how something like that happens. And when you find out, its maybe the darkest thing in this movie about magic and monsters.
When we meet an older Billy, hes only now in high school and continues to runaway from foster home after foster home. We are told they are all good families who specifically want Billy so that we know our character lacks the ability to see past his own life.
We meet Billys newest set of Foster Parents, and you immediately like them right off the top. We then meet the foster kids they are in charge of, five in total, before Billy. They are all delightful too, especially the youngest girl played by Faithe Herman, who steals every scene she is in.
At about the 40 min mark does Billy finally get his Shazam Powers. He desperately needs help from his new foster brother played by Jack Grazer from Stephen Kings It last year, who is all up on the Superhero Lore. Grazer is good in his role, but I feel like its most of his scenes that could be trimmed down to help make this 30 mins shorter.
Asher Angel plays Billy Batson, and does a great job playing the complicated angsty teenager. Again, Its formula, and Angel works the formula well without ever making him come off as an awful person. You relate to the character and the pain building up with him to the point that you get upset when rejects his new foster family. Ultimately you feel bad for the character when he discovers details of his history and enjoy when he rises above what could have easily been a character obstacle.
Zachary Levi does a great job transitioning from Thors Buddy #3 in the Marvel Cinematic Universe to headlining his own film in Shazam. He plays the perfect fish out of water character. The timing of his humor is fantastic. His concern for people in danger is believable as a teenager who is just bestowed supernatural powers.
Eventually we get a bad guy showing how bad he is as our hero is still discovering what exactly his powers are. We get the expected Superhero showdown and when our hero is outmatched we are not upset by how it resolves.
This is a solid and entertaining film that all member of the family can enjoy.It plays old Superhero tropes well, and then plays off them to make them different everything else. I repeat it can be shorter, tighter on time and is really the only reason Im not giving it a stronger review.
Four out of Six Blueberries.