Jungle
Shazam!

Shazam!

Movie
Director(s): 
In Theatres: 
Apr 05, 2019
Grade:
A
Running Time: 
132 minutes

It’s no secret that the DC Extended Universe got off to a rocky start as it rushed to recreate the magic that the Marvel Cinematic Universe spent years building. Films like Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Suicide Squad, and even Justice League landed with a thud, while fans wondered if the amazing Wonder Woman would forever be the best the DCEU has to offer. After an entertaining but bloated Aquaman, Warner Bros. seems to have finally found its footing with the wonderfully charming and fun Shazam!

 

14-year-old foster kid Billy Batson (Asher Angel) was just your average teenager but when a mysterious wizard chooses him as Champion, he inherits the powers of Shazam (Zachary Levi) and is able to become the adult superhero he always dreamed of. The problem is he’s still a 14-year-old at heart and doesn’t exactly know what he is capable of. With the help of his foster brother and best friend Freddy (Jack Dylan Grazer), Billy does his best to explore his newfound powers and learn what it means to be a superhero.

 

As kids and sometimes even as adults we’ve all dreamed of what it would be like to have superpowers. Sure, we’d all like to think we’d be the good guys and go around saving people, but in reality you know the first thing you’d do would be something fun. What teenager hasn’t dreamed of being able to buy beer without getting caught for instance? Now imagine also being super fast, strong, and nearly indestructible. I’m sure you can see the possibilities. Shazam! Is one of the few comic book movies to brilliantly capture that childlike amazement of gaining superpowers. Furthermore, it’s also a heartwarming story about family and finding strength through others. Unlike the rest of the DCEU, Shazam! isn’t afraid of having fun.

 

And most of that is thanks to the wonderfully charming Zachary Levi whose performance as a 14-year-old inside of a grown man’s superpowered body is simply perfect. He practically has a constant smile on his face as he learns more and more about his powers, and there’s an excitement in his voice even in the face of danger. Shazam! wonderfully balances its humor and action together for a near seamless superhero adventure. There’s nothing too mindblowingly different about his origin story over any other comic book film, but it’s Levi’s hilarious performance that sells it best.

 

Furthermore, Shazam! doesn’t attempt to shoehorn the entire DCEU into the film. It has a couple of references to the larger superhero universe, but they’re well placed and make sense given their context in the scene. Shazam! is very much its own self-contained story, and the film excels because of it.

 

Shazam! is the best film of the DC Extended Universe since Wonder Woman, and it actually gets me excited about what the future hold for these characters. It’s straightforward, fun, and doesn’t get bogged down by trying to make everything connect with the rest of the DCEU. Shazam! makes you feel like a kid again and lets your imagination run wild.

Matt Rodriguez
Review by Matt Rodriguez
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