Shazam Movie Review: If you’re the kind of person that gravitates towards wizards, demons and charismatic charm; then Shazam! (directed by David F. Sandberg) is just what you’ve been searching for in your Magic 8 Ball. Warner Brothers latest addition to the DC Extended Universe franchise is an exciting, light hearted, enjoyable experience without relying too heavily on CGI to carry the story. I was fully expecting to not enjoy this film, having trudged through the entire catalog of the previous DC movies and was pleasantly surprised that we have finally been given a great superhero movie out of the DC Extended Universe. (Aquaman and Wonder Woman were decent but not great.)
I went into this film having no back story about the character and this film left me wanting more. Upon researching the history of the character after the movie, I discovered that when this character was first introduced in Whiz Comics #2 (published in 1940 by Fawcett Comics) he was originally known as Captain Marvel. There was a legal battle between Fawcett and DC over copyright infringement because DC Comics felt that Captain Marvel was a copy of Superman. Fawcett stopped publishing Captain Marvel comics in 1953 and later sold the rights to the character to DC in 1972. Due to trademark conflicts with another character named Captain Marvel, owned by Marvel Comics, DC has since changed the name to of the character. Shazam is the alter ego of a foster boy named Billy Batson who receives transformative powers by a Wizard, to become a super powered costumed adult by saying the magical word “SHAZAM” (An acronym of six “immortal elders” Solomun, Hercules, Atlas, Zeus, Achilles, Mercury). Billy (played by Asher Angel) confides in his disabled foster brother Freddy (Jack Dylan Grazer) when bestowed with his adult super human alter ego (Zachary Levi) and the two work together to harness Billy’s new found abilities which eventually leads to fighting an evil figure.
Even though superhero films feels stale and uninspiring these days, Shazam! provides a fresh new take to the genre. It’s an origin story told through the perspective of two awkward teenagers and never takes itself too seriously. Zachary Levi is the perfect casting for this character not only because of his chiseled physique but also because he is a talented comedic actor. He is so good at playing this goofy child like character and he provides a lot of charm to his delivery and mannerisms. The director of this movie did a fantastic job building the chemistry between Levi’s and Grazer’s characters which carries most of the weight of the film through their back and forth banter.
I really appreciated the lack of CGI in this film. All of the DC movies prior to this one are too grandiose and rely too heavily on CGI to tell the story that they lose any semblance of relatability. Shazam! does a great job of limiting CGI to only be used as a tool to enhance the story. My favorite technical aspect of this movie though has to be the sound mixing and sound effects. The sound team really delivered an awesome audible environment that makes watching this film in a theater that much more enjoyable. They provided a good balance of weight and punch to every non-real-world effect in the movie and makes everything that happens on screen seem more believable. They also developed some terrifying effects that were used for the demon voices that are unbelievably cool.
Not only is this film fun to look at, it also warms your heart with it’s lovable characters. At certain points in the movie the writing feels forced and cheesy and made my eyes roll into the back of my head, but I’ve come to expect this in almost every superhero movie I see these days. I don’t feel like this ruined the movie at all for me but certain scenes definitely felt less developed than others.
If you’re a fan of the superhero genre, then Shazam! will deliver upon and then exceed your expectations. This is a definite must see in a theater kind of movie and this is a perfect film to bring the whole family to. If you’re the kind of person that doesn’t like super-hero movies then you probably won’t like this one either, but maybe, just maybe, this could be the one that changes your mind.
|DIRECTOR:||David F. Sandberg|
|RELEASE DATE:||April 5 2019|