Directed by: David F. Sandberg
Starring: Zachary Levi, Asher Angel, Jack Dylan Grazer, Mark Strong
Runtime: 1:32 minutes
This week we get back into the superhero genre. Shazam! Is part of the DC Universe. We reviewed Captain Marvel (Marvel Universe) for my first review so I had high hopes for this one. It’s been evident in the last few years that the Marvel Universe has churned out better films. I’m looking at you Superman and that terrible cgi face. I will say after seeing this film DC is going in the right direction. I went into the film not knowing much background of this character. I pictured the movie Big but as a superhero. On a side note I was a big fan of the director. David F. Sandberg recently directed two well done horror films ( Lights Out and Annabelle: Creation) A “horror” director moving into a different genre. How would it turn out?
Onto the film.
Shazam! opens in New York during Christmas. It’s apparent from the outfits of the characters this isn’t present day. Immediately we are introduced to a young boy named Thaddeus. He is being chastised by his older brother and father. We are then taken to a new realm where the visuals immediately jumped off the screen. Thaddeus is greeted by a 3000-year-old wizard and given the opportunity to take his powers. He is also being provoked by dark creatures which embody the 7 deadly sins. The wizard tells Thaddeus only someone pure in heart can take his power.
We then cut to present day in Philadelphia. We meet a 14-year-old boy named Billy Baston (Angel) Immediately it’s easy to see that Billy is trouble. He’s been in and out of foster homes and through flashbacks we understand why. Angel has a great charisma and even with the childish antics you can’t help but feel for the kid. He’s on his last chance where he’s taken to another group home where he meets Freddy Freeman (Grazer) who’s 1 of 5 kids living there. Walking Dead fans may notice the father as the fan-favorite Jerry. In the meantime an adult Thaddeus Sivana ( Strong) has spent his whole life trying to get back to see the wizard and gain his power.
Without giving too much away the movie really shines with Shazam ( Levi) appears. Zachary Levi was in an excellent show called Chuck that my friend Darren and I watched throughout college. He has the same charisma and humor in this film. What really makes this different than any other superhero film is our superhero is embodied by a child. What would any young boy do with superpowers? Freddy and Shazam have great chemistry. Countless times Freddy chasing after Shazam saying “Oh B!” We see a great back and forth between Freddy and Billy and the same with him and Shazam.
By far the best parts of the movie happen with Shazam trying to figure out what superpowers he has. The best scene for me had Queen – Don’t Stop Me Now in the background. That scene alone is worth the price of admission.
Overall, it was hard for me to find many complaints with this film. The runtime and “final” fight seemed to run a bit long but there was enough action for kids and adults alike to enjoy. Many of the jokes were geared towards children but there were also quite a few that I laughed out loud at. Shazam needing more money for a certain reason comes to mind. The actors were also impressive. The chemistry between Freddy and both Shazam and Billy made it feel like a real bond between them. Sivana (Strong) shined as well and didn’t come off as a “typical” villain to me. I was worried as my Mom had watched it before me and had that complaint. The visuals and score of the film all added a nice effect I wasn’t expecting. Especially from a DC film. Again looking at you CGI Superman. What I felt was the most important thing to take from this film was the deeper message. We see from the start someone that is “never good enough” in their own eyes. Sometimes it takes being a “superhero” to see your worth, but then was that person already within you to begin with? Go see this film. Take your kids and just a warning there are “monsters” in it that may come off a little frightening for younger children. If you’re just looking for a fun movie to enjoy and kick off the great weather go see it! 4 stars out of 5. #SHOPLOCAL
Andrew McManus is Operations Manager for Patties & Pints and its parent company Eflow Development. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 740-981-9158.