While I’m not big on superhero films, David F. Sandburg’s Shazam! Had me intrigued. But what did I think? Check out my thoughts below.
Shazam! follows Billy Batson (Asher Angel) a teen who was abandoned as a child and will do just about anything to find his biological mother. Fed up with his antics, Child Services places him in a group home, where he meets comic book/superhero fanboy Freddy (Jack Dylan Grazer).
When an aging wizard named Shazam needs to find a new “champion” to inherit his powers, he chooses Billy who teams up with Freddy to have some fun and wreak a little teenage havoc. I mean, it would pretty cool to say the word “Shazam” and turn into older, stronger, and, debatably, maturer version of yourself with superpowers. That’s exactly what Billy does, but he soon learns that he has a dangerous enemy in Dr. Thaddeus Sivana, who was rejected by the wizard several years prior and has taken on the power of the Seven Deadly Sins. With Sivana on his heels, Billy must learn to harness his powers to defeat Sivana’s hellbent mission to garner the power of Shazam and save his new found family.
Let’s start with the brilliant acting trio of Zachary Levi (as the older Billy Batson/Shazam), as well as the aforementioned Angel and Grazer. The three play off each other exquisitely well and carry the film. Shazam! also mixes plot development and action sequences you typically find in superhero films with great bits of comedy and witty one-liners.
Lastly and, perhaps, the best part of the film: it explores the inner workings of the villain. This is something that several of these films neglect. We discover Sivana’s motivations for grasping the power of the Seven Deadly Sins and, dare I say, we almost feel bad for him to go through what he did as a child. In a sense, both he and Billy experience abandonment which leads them on much different paths to essentially achieve the same goal: belonging.
I’m a sucker for a film with a good story and good meaning behind it. Shazam! delivered ten-fold. It was a very enjoyable two hours and I highly recommend seeing it, whether you like superhero films or not.
My Grade: A