Shazam! is a fun superhero movie


Brendan Sheardy, Staff Writer

 Shazam! is the origin story to DC’s latest hero, Shazam. This film follows Billy Batson, a 14-year old foster kid who is granted powers by a wizard who turns him into a full-grown adult with super powers by saying the word “Shazam.” Recent horror director, David F. Sandberg, steps out of his element to direct his first blockbuster that stars Zachary Levi, Mark Strong, Jack Dylan Grazer, and Asher Angel.

  I was pleasantly surprised by how fun Shazam! is. The trailers didn’t get me excited and DC’s track record as of late has been less than desirable, as their only good film in this universe so far has been Wonder Woman. However, despite my skepticism, I really enjoyed myself throughout the whole film.

  Zachary Levi carries this film with his incredibly charismatic performance. He was very believable as a teenager in an adult body. His chemistry with Jack Dylan Grazer propelled the relationship between Billy and Freddy and most of the comedy. One hilarious scene was when Shazam goes to a gas station to buy beer, and his line delivery was absolutely perfect and acted exactly like a child would try to order beer.

  The comedy in this film flourishes during the second act while Billy is discovering his powers. The script has so much fun playing on the idea of young kids figuring out how to navigate the world of superheroes and run around the city in an adult body. It was endlessly entertaining and had the entire theater laughing. It was a great fish-out-of-water scenario and I had a great time watching it.

  While Shazam! is primarily a comedy, it does have an emotional subplot dealing with Billy being a foster kid that was very touching. For most of the film, he is out searching for his real mother who he was separated from when he was young, and there’s a scene towards the end of the second act that added a lot to Billy’s arch as a character and gave some much needed emotion to a rather light film to make it more memorable. The deeper themes are also explored in an exchange between Billy’s foster parents about the home they created, which provided a lot insight to the world of adopted children that added more depth the film as a whole.

  Shazam! is not a perfect film, however, it does have quite a few flaws, the biggest being the villain. Mark Strong does well in the role he’s given, but his character is extremely dull and doesn’t fit within the tone. His character, Dr. Sivana, is obsessed with finding the wizard that denied him powers when he was a child, and when he finally obtains that power he uses it for evil.

  I liken his villain to Ronan from Guardians of the Galaxy. He’s a very evil guy who wants to harness a huge sum of power, but he sticks out like a sore thumb in a mostly comedic film. His character would’ve worked a lot better if he played along with the comedy and had a similar fish out of water scenario, but his character is most one dimensional and doesn’t have much progression as a character.

  There are also a lot of conflicting tones throughout. The film is mostly comedic, but there are strange inserts of serious drama, sad, and wildly out of place horror scenes. The clashing tones didn’t flow as smoothly as it needed to, which made for some choppiness throughout.

  This is also a bit formulaic, as it follows the similar hero origin story that we’ve seen before for years. It unfortunately took away from the overall experience, because of how predictable it is. It felt mostly just like another superhero movie, and there wasn’t much special about it.

  Overall, Shazam! is another good DC movie to add to their universe, but it’s not perfect. I would recommend it as it will certainly please most audience members and be a good time at the movies for all.

  Rating: 6/10