There is a superhero that has long been on the back burner of DC Comics‘ roster just waiting to come out and showcase their acts of heroism. This hero is named Shazam, formerly known as Captain Marvel. While most other DC films are about well known Justice League members, Shazam comes from left field and brings desperately needed fun to the otherwise grim universe of DC Comics.
We all have a superhero inside us, it just takes a bit of magic to bring it out. In Billy Batson’s case, by shouting out one word – SHAZAM! – this streetwise fourteen-year-old foster kid can turn into the adult superhero Shazam.
But is ‘fun’ enough to make this a great film? Let’s break it down!
Shazam focuses on young Billy Batson who was separated from his mother at a young age and has danced from foster home to foster home. He tries his best to isolate himself and lashes out all so he can focus on his one goal of being reunited with his mother.
He gets brought into a new foster home with a new family that is made up of foster kids to the point where even the parents were former foster kids themselves. Billy is chosen because of his pure heart by a Wizard to become the champion known as Shazam and has to use his powers of strength, speed, flight, and lightning to defend mortals.
Now, this plot is the cookie cutter super hero experience. What makes Shazam special was the fact that instead of a rich kid, a battle hardened amazon, a literal prince, or an alien that is borderline god, our hero is a kid. Not even a normal kid but a child that is in a foster home. He struggles between maintaining a life of being alone or opening up to people who are trying to love him.
This is a point of view we rarely get exposed to, especially when it comes to mainstream media. It was so god damn wholesome that I wanted the good guy to win so badly. This is rare for a over saturated piece of media.
The main story takes place mostly in Philadelphia suburbs and metropolitan areas which offers a normal grey tone that is common with DC Comics.However when young Billy turns into Shazam and wears the bold red, white, and gold suit it completely clashes with the rest of the film in a great way.
Every single time Shazam summons lightning or the evil Dr. Thaddeus Sivana played by Mark Strong uses his otherworldly powers to release chaos on to innocents, there is a dramatic comic flair. The film does a great job of dancing between normal everyday life and the adventures of a superhero.
Everyone did a great job but Asher Angel who played young Billy Batson because he was uncharismatic and unlikable. He also looked like a male Arya Stark from Game of Thrones which distracted me from the film quite a bit. Literally the worst parts of the film are his scenes. On the other hand, Zachary Levi stole the show as Shazam.
Levi was witty, charming, goofy, and down to Earth as he learned to use his abilities for his own self interest before eventually using them to defend the people. While I am absolutely a fan of Superman, I relate so much more to Shazam because of his flaws.
All of the supporting actors were great in their own right. But did I mention that Asher Angel who played young Billy Batson was uncharismatic and unlikable?
Is it worth seeing?
Absolutely. You will want to see this film the moment it comes out because it is a non stop fun ride for all ages. Comic book fans are treated to an overwhelming amount of references to other DC super heroes. The film doesn’t take itself as seriously as the others in the franchise and it thrives because of it.
Shazam has such a great message about family and self discovery that I personally am going to re-watch this film as many times as I can while it is in theaters!