Shazam! is a superhero blast, with a stellar combination of humor and heart that must be seen!
Sorry, I thought… nevermind, hey everyone! Talk about a fun with a capital F superhero movie. For those who don’t like reading, I’ll just spoil the review. Shazam! is awesome, just watch a trailer and if it even makes you smirk a little go get a movie ticket as soon as possible and watch this movie!
Alright, time to call down and get the movie review hat on. Shazam! is a superhero story about Billy Batson, a 14 year old orphan looking for family that also happens to run into a wizard bestowing upon him the powers of superhero. All he has to do is say the name of the wizard (Shazam), a bolt of lightning shoots from the sky and poof! Superhero! Suddenly the 14 year old Batson is a full grown adult in his superhero prime with more powers than he even realizes. Coupled with his crippled superhero obsessed foster brother Freddy, the two embrace in the delight of what it would be like to be a young teenager with superpowers.
It’s Big meets Superhero, and it works so damn well. The heart and joy in this movie is spilling from every scene and it has everything to do with an amazing cast and a script that revels in this premise. Jokes fly fast and furious as Billy and Freddy learn of all of the superpowers Billy actually has, and along the way a story about family and home just warms your insides. One funny gag that plays throughout is the pair trying to come up with a superhero name for Billy. Sparkle Fingers is a personal favorite, and then there is one scene towards the end of the film that just captured the tone of the entire film in one minute. It’s clear there was a lot of love that went into creating a superhero movie that isn’t lost in end of the world stakes, but very human relatable ones. It’s great great great stuff.
Great script or not, it would not have worked nearly as well if it wasn’t for such a great cast. Zachary Levi was the perfect actor to play the role of the super powered Shazam. He captures that child stuck in a superhero’s body with uncanny skill. I’m not convinced that he isn’t actually just a 14 year old that says a special word to become Zachary Levi. I have always enjoyed his career but this is HIS role and I hope we see more of him in the red supersuit. Along with Zachary, is Jack Dylan Grazer as Freddy his crippled superhero manager, and Asher Angel as boy version of Billy. The dynamic these three actors share of two growing friends and brothers is great. Make no mistake Freddy is the glue that makes this all work and I give him extra props for really selling this.
But wait! The rest of the cast is a lot of fun as well. Billy’s foster family is just wonderful. Everyone of them a positive light for Billy as well as the audience. It makes for even more fun in the climax when the foster children have their chance to really shine. The twist is great and adds for the most fun end to a superhero movie that I have seen this century. On the villain side Mark Strong slips into his tried true bad guy persona.
This is where the movie is weakest. Not because of Mark Strong, he’s always fun to watch twirling his invisible mustache. No it has to do with missed potential of what Strong’s Dr. Thaddeus Sivana could have been. It appears that the focus on Shazam and the foster family just left a lot of missed opportunities with Sivana and his seven deadly sin monsters. They worked as the typical bad guy fodder save for the monsters felt a little too CGI at points. The rest of the visuals involving Shazam and his powers though were a joy to watch, especially on an IMAX screen.
All that taken into account though, nothing can take away that Shazam! is easily the most positive messaged and joyful superhero movie I have seen. I loved the dynamics of the cast, the messages of home and family, the jokes, and the spirit of fun that was baked into every frame. Shazam! Is the superhero we have been missing in our lives. Now say his name, and fly to theaters!