Shazam! is based on the DC comic by the same name and falls into the comic family of Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman. The film does an incredible job of setting the stage with enough backstory of the hero and villain to engage the audience, but not too much that is loses fans’ attention. That was definitely a concern of mine going in, knowing that it was over two hours long.
Set in Philadelphia, the film follows two young boys through life tragedies. One is the brunt of jokes between his father and brother and is later blamed for their car crash. The other is a boy who lost his mom at carnival and spends the next decade bouncing around foster homes and, honestly, being a little stinker at times. You are rooting for both children before learning that in addition to the good side, there is a side of evil.
The movie reminds me of a junior version of Deadpool and Deadpool 2 in terms of ridiculous and realistic hero responses. For example, it would be ignorant to believe that when a 14 year old boy is given super hero powers he instinctively knows what to do with them and uses them appropriately. The truth is wildly funnier and on point – use them to zap your school books to pieces, charge strangers’ phones, use your newfound grown man look to purchase beer (then promptly spew it out because no one at fourteen actually enjoys the taste of beer), and of course post every cool thing you do online for the likes.
Zachary Levi does an excellent job of portraying what a teen would be looking and feeling like as Shazam! as well as deliver humor to both a younger audience as well as an older crowd. While it is geared to a kid/teen audience, it’s very enjoyable for all.
In an usual superhero story line, there was a good guy, a bad guy, and a lot of superpowers. What made this movie stand out was the underlying tone and inclusiveness of family. Moviegoer Greg H. shared, “I liked it more than seeing the same superhero movie over and over again. It was cool to see the family work together – not a lot of the movies do that.” Particularly, seeing a foster family made up of children ranging in age, ethnicity, and ability, coming together is heartwarming.
Shazam! is a great film for the family to see, and to Warner Bros/New Lines Cinema, I would strongly recommend a follow up film. The OC fan in me could definitely use more than 15 minutes at the end of Adam Brody.
Movie times: click here
Genre: Action, Adventure, Comedy
Run Time: 2 hour, 12 minutes
Director: David F. Sandberg
Actors: Zachary Levi, Djimon Hounsou, Mark Strong
Rating: PG-13 for intense sequences of action, language, and suggestive material