Shazam! is a very fun, likable, superhero film! One of the best in the DCEU!
Shazam! (not the music app on your phone) was directed by David F. Sandberg and stars Zachary Levi. The best way to describe this movie is the superhero version of Big, starring Tom Hanks. In this film, young Billy Batson is a foster child who was abandoned by his mother when he was very young, and now roams from place to place looking for his mother once again, while running off from all the foster homes who attempt to take care of him. However, he one day gets zapped away while on a subway in Philadelphia, and meets the wizard Shazam who quickly informs Billy that he needs to transfers his powers to him in order to fight an oncoming threat. When the wizards manages to do so, Billy finds that he now becomes a god like super hero whenever he yells the word “Shazam!”. Not knowing how to handle these powers, he gets help from his roommate, Freddy Freeman, who helps him test out what powers he does and doesn’t have.
Shazam! was a ton of fun! Super light hearted, very funny, and very touching. This seems to be the DCEU film with the most amount of heart and thought placed into it. I still think Aquaman is better for its technical scope and as an epic action film, but Shazam! is a better film altogether, despite its down to earth setting.
The film doesn’t really boast much visual grandeur. Instead, it simply gives the audience a good experience.
Shazam! definitely seems to be a movie that is more concerned with developing its characters and its themes rather than boasting grand action scenes with elaborate cinematography. I will say, at times I was disappointed as I wish this film could have more epic action scenes and grand shots, but I really admired the characters and the journeys they all went through. Billy Batson is a very likable character that I found myself rooting for given his snarky personality and tragic backstory. Freddy Freeman was a character I really admired as I found myself oftentimes relating to him, which was a pleasant surprise. He tries to be very funny and in your face, but ends up coming off as aggressive which is a struggle I know many kids can definitely relate to. These two characters essentially make up this entire film. The relationships Billy develops with every character, in fact, is really the bread and butter of this film. It was really fun seeing Billy Batson as “Shazam” as he does many things that a fourteen year old boy would absolutely do if he was able to transform into an adult himself. Although many of these moments are expected and even at times obvious, having the added factor of him being a super hero as well made these moments not feel tired.
After seeing this film I was able to discern a trend that seems to be going on in many Hollywood films. Many of these films disguise themselves as Hollywood blockbusters, but actually end up serving as coming of age comedies instead. The first instance I would say where I noticed this recent trend was in Spider-Man: Homecomig and Bumblebee, and Shazam! seems to follow in that trend. When I realized this is what has been happening in films recently, I initially wasn’t sure what to think. One the one hand this is a flawed concept as we go to coming of age comedies and blockbuster films on different occasions depending on the mood, but it also serves as an opportunity to present some very clever and creative stories that could potentially be interesting on a budget. Personally, I probably wouldn’t make a movie like this because I think what makes them both work are very different, but I can understand that from a business decision, this makes sense. My one hope for this trend going forward, however, is that they can manage to properly mix the tones that these movies intend to present so that it doesn’t feel uneven. That’s been my main issue with these movies so far, and that is my main issue with Shazam!. The characters and the struggles they go through are great, but it undermines the action at times. It’s almost as if the action really isn’t given a ton of time to shine, which is unfortunate. With that being said, I’m curious to see the route in which these movies will take, and I even support it.
So do I think you should See Shazam?
Yes, I absolutely think you should see Shazam! at some point if you haven’t already. I know that will be challenging as Avengers: Endgame is right around the corner, and this movie came out about a month ago, but I feel that it is at some point worth your time. The movie is an absolute delight from start to finish and I think it is a great time for all. The characters are great, the story can get very interesting and even at times dark, and the action scenes, while not spectacular, are fun and offer some fun surprises too. If you are concerned because you feel DC has never made a good movie in their own cinematic universe, I think you’ll find yourself enjoying this one. From the reviews I’ve seen, it has even the toughest of film critics cheering and on board, which is awesome!