Shazam Review

Shazam Review

Will Locklin , Staff Writer

Shazam is the seventh movie in the DC Extended Universe and is based on the DC comic book character Shazam. The movie is directed by David F. Sandburg.  Produced by New Line Cinema and distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures.  The film stars Zachary Levi as Shazam, Asher Angel as Billy Batson, and Zach Dylan Grazer as Billy’s foster brother Freddie. The movie has grossed over 288 million at the box office and has received positive reviews from critics and fans.  Billy Batson is a foster child that has run from homes his whole life. However, when he accidentally discovers new magic that turns him into the superhero Shazam, he learns the power and responsibility that comes with being a hero as well as the true value of family.  Shazam is a much different movie from the rest of the DCEU because of its strong balance of fun entertainment, comedic humor from engaging acting performances, and rich familial elements.  Overall, this movie is one of the best DCEU films and is an excellent original backstory for the character Shazam.

Positive: One of the best parts about this movie is the humor which consistently hits throughout the movie.  There is no shortage of funny gags, and interactions between the main characters and they all work seamlessly inside the movie.  The humor does hit a lot of areas on the comedy spectrum, some appealing to a younger audience and some reaching out to the comic book nerds.  A lot of the reason that the comedy works is because of actor Zachary Levi and his funny personality which is heavily featured in the movie.  His interactions with other characters help deepen the humor but also the story and characterization of Shazam.  The best scenes in the movie are when Shazam is having fun with Billy’s foster brother Freddie.  The scenes give us hilarious moments and dialogue as well as further Levi’s portrayal of how a kid would react and act to becoming a powerful superhero.  Additionally, this movie has one of the best testings out powers scenes of any superhero movie ever.  Another significant element in this movie is the rich familial theme sprinkled in the movie.  Billy was abandoned by his mother at a young age, and the audience is shown this near the beginning of the movie.  He has been running from a lot of foster homes over the years but finally is welcomed into one that seems like a keeper.  Of course, it’s not until Billy can transform into Shazam that he realizes the value of family.  He realizes this when his foster family helped him defeat the villain.  As for his mother, he does track her down eventually as he has been trying to do that for many years.  He reunites with her before the climax of the story, but she tells him to move on without her because she never cared for him.  The audience is shown that the mother was too young to handle being a mother, so she loses him on purpose.  Although this scene is heartbreaking, it helps Billy learn to appreciate those who do care about him which is his foster family.

Negative:  The worst part about this movie is the dramatic shift that the villain story arc has and how that impacts other elements of the movie. The villain name is Dr. Sivanna.  The movies the first scene has to do with the villain and how he finds the magic that Billy eventually finds.  He is unable to take the power of Shazam, so he dedicates the rest of his life to trying to gain that power.  Additionally, the first scene shows that he has a bad relationship with his father which is partly what sets him on his evil path.  Dr. Sivanna is eventually able to have the ability to gain the powers of Shazam but is instead tempted by the seven deadly sins into joining them to try and be the most powerful human in the world.  This is where the shift falls flat; the set up of Dr. Sivanna was good because it served as a contrast to Billy’s arc.  However, as the movie goes along, he becomes just another bad guy who wants nothing but more power.  The best example of this is when he has gained the power of the seven deadly sins and pays a visit to his brother and father at their business meeting.  He chokes his brother to death and throws his father out of the window.  He also kills all of his father’s coworkers in a psychopathic rampage fashion.  From here the villain’s motive is to gain more power which is a very weak motive especially since they set him up to have a more complex arc.  This problems also brings up others including the dramatic shifts in tone.  The movie is supposed to be a light-hearted fun movie, but it switches from that to the villain’s dark conquest to more power.  Finally, the movie seems to have problems identifying who the intended audience because it is marketed as a movie you can take your kids to see, but it includes very violent scenes that you would see in an R rated film.  The movie appeals to superhero fans and comic book fans, but in terms of the general public, the movie doesn’t seem to know who they want to watch Shazam.