SHAZAM! (2019)


Directed By: Daryl F. Sandberg
Written By: Henry Gayden
Story By: Darren Lemke & Henry Gayden
Based On Characters Created By: Bill Parker & C.C. Beck
Cinematography: Maxime Alexandre
Editor: Michel Aller 

Cast: Zachary Levi, Mark Strong, Asher Angel, John Glover, Djimon Hounsou, Jack Dylan Grazer, Faithe Herman, Grace Fulton, Michelle Borth, Megan Good, Adam Brody, D.J. Cotrona, Ross Butler, Cooper Andrews, Marta Milans 

In Philadelphia, Billy Batson is an abandoned child who is proving a nuisance to Child Services and the authorities with his stubborn search for his lost mother. However, in his latest foster home, Billy makes a new friend, Freddy, and finds himself selected by the Wizard Shazam to be his new champion. Now endowed with the ability to instantly become an adult superhero by speaking the wizard’s name, Billy gleefully explores his new powers with Freddy. However, Billy soon learns that he has a deadly enemy, Dr. Thaddeus Sivana, who was previously rejected by the wizard and has accepted the power of the Seven Deadly Sins instead. Now pursued by this mad scientist for his own power as well, Billy must face up to the responsibilities of his calling while learning the power of a special magic with his true family that Sivana can never understand.

This movie plays like a superhero made more for kids of families to enjoy. More of a fantasy with wish fulfillment and teaches lessons by the end. Even though some scenes feel very risqué and strong for younger kids that are shocking yet brave in where they go. thinking of the boardroom scene in particular.

This is an actual fun superhero movie where angst isn’t so much a co-star. It shows what a DC superhero should be. As for me personally DC has always come off more as superhero comics for youth. As their world was more fantasy then reality even when based in it. They always came off as what could be where problems were solved by the end of the issues or maybe a few but no long lingering after effects. Batman was their one dark horse.

This film is not only an origin tale but not as hard hitting as others. So like it’s main character it maintains an innocence. A little like Aquaman which tried to be tougher and more hardcore but still has a major fantasy element that didn’t seem harsh or harmful.

As this film does acknowledge the other heroes and films in the DC universe and is part of DC’s direction to not be so dark and have a happier outlook, with more dashes of humor. As they compete with marvel who when growing up marvel always seems more serious and psychological and DC always seemed more simple and direct.

This film could have easily been a comedy. As at first it almost plays like a parody of superhero films before fully getting into it’s Identity and being more of one. Though even when it gets serious the film has a more humorous tone. Especially the sight of Zachary Levi who plays the lead as a hero in an obviously fake muscle suit that makes him Look like he is more dressed in a campy or Halloween costume but is his real costume. As if going for the actors regular body it would be too skinny. So it sets the audience up though by the end we will believe it more. Though he has the look and the charm of a boyish yet manly hero. Being an unsuspecting hero will remind some of Zachary Levi’s previous role in the television series CHUCK.

Which by the end the film comes off more as an adventure with superpowers and humor. As it seems the characters emotionally and physically go through a journey.

The movie had a moral and produces morals and a message of family. Having the kids banding together supporting one another while the well meaning parents are clueless to their activities. So that it shows the importance of having a family even if not related someone you know has your back and you have theirs.

The film manages to put a smile on your face and feel nostalgic as for when comics and comic book characters were simple and everyone was either good or evil. You didn’t have to see it from their point of view or learn what made the break bad.

The ending has a kind of wink wink nudge nudge feel ala DEADPOOL for the audience.


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