We all have a superhero inside of us — it just takes a bit of magic to bring it out. In 14-year-old Billy Batson’s case, all he needs to do is shout out one word to transform into the adult superhero Shazam. Still a kid at heart, Shazam revels in the new version of himself by doing what any other teen would do — have fun while testing out his newfound powers. But he’ll need to master them quickly before the evil Dr. Thaddeus Sivana can get his hands on Shazam’s magical abilities.
Shazam! – What I liked
First and foremost, I would like to say finally Zachary Levi gets a starring role. I have enjoyed him since his days of Chuck on NBC. I genuinely think that he helped push the current nerd culture. Levi does an excellent job of being an adult playing a child in an adult’s body. There are not many that I think could pull off this endeavor, but I had no doubts with this casting.
Levi’s child counterpart Billy Batson is played by Asher Angel. This kid comes out swinging. For someone I had never heard of, he really holds an equal to Levi. Angel really tugs on the heart strings when it comes to the pure emotion surrounding his characters journey to find his mother.
Another star to shine in this is Billy’s foster brother Freddy played by Jack Dylan Grazer. Most recently people will recognize him as Eddie from 2017’s Stephen King’s It. He plays a strong supporting character that helps bridge the gap between Angel and Levi.
This film is part of the DCEU but plays its part like Wonder Woman and Aquaman. It acknowledges that these superheroes exist but do not shove it down our throat. There are specific references and Easter Eggs littered throughout the film but does not try to cram completely unnecessary scenes or references simply for the sake of tying it to another film.
Shazam! – What could have been improved
It is almost for certain that most comic book movies tend to be a bit weak on their villains. Shazam! is no exception to an extent. Personally, I do think that Mark Strong holds his own in this movie. I feel that this performance for a comic book movie is much better than his portrayal of Sinestro in Green Lantern. Some may disagree with me but it’s true. Where I feel there is a bit of the disconnect is in the seven deadly sins turned demons. They just seemed to be there for show. There just was nothing special about them other than to just move the story along.
Shazam! – Final Thoughts
Overall this film was great. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I went into this movie with an expectation that I would laugh at a funny superhero. Levi does not pull any punches and gives us the kid that would be a god. Shazam! takes itself seriously as a superhero film but also not so serious that it can’t poke fun at itself from time to time.