Director: David F. Sandberg
Writers: Henry Gayden (screenplay by), Henry Gayden (story by)
Featuring: Zachary Levi, Mark Strong, Asher Angel, Jack Dylan Grazer, Adam Brody,
Billy Batson is a ‘care child’ who is causing problems for the Child Services as he searches for his missing mother. In his latest foster home Billy finds he has been selected by the Wizard Shazam to be the new ‘champion’. Now Billy is free to explore the world as an adult superhero every time he says ‘Shazam’ but unfortunately Dr Thaddeus Sivana who was previously rejected by the Wizard Shazam has now accepted the power of the Seven Deadly Sins and his hellbent on claiming Billy’s new power for his own nefarious ends. Billy must now combat this deadly foe whilst learning the responsibilities of being an adult superhero.
Depending on your viewpoint they will definitely be parts of Shazam that will annoy you. I have to be honest I find the whole premise of superhero movies a bit silly and I never showed an interest in any of the comics from a young age until an adult. My boat was never afloat. I will watch them on film and I have viewed all of interminable Marvel Universe series, with the explosions, and so forth, but in general I like these type of films with a light touch, so Spiderman, Guardians of the Galaxy, Deadpool, oh I know they have a serious side but the touch is light, now we can add Shazam!
I would say this film is a great big smile of a movie, it is clearly made to be enjoyed, to be entertainment. With the casting of Zachary Levi the makers got the perfect focal point. He exudes the joy of being a boy in a grown-up superhero body with the fun and underlying seriousness this brings. So far so Big, so far so daft.
The rather bland peril given to Billy, his alter ego and his best friend are very ‘comic-book baddy’ boilerplate and although they are given to the very capable and charismatic Mark Strong the whole story was much less interesting or important to me than the dilemma that being Shazam brings up for Billy and his best friend and indeed surrogate family. It is much more compelling.
Therein lies problems for Shazam!, it’s great and it’s fun but it can’t escape it’s superhero restrictions. Boring pointless baddies whose motive and plans seem ludicrous and ill-thought-out. Although this does give the film and most joyous and fun ending.
The special effects, set pieces and overall look of the film are good, A super impossible situation mixed into a blandly normal world are tried for in many superhero films and with Shazam! this attempt is definitely more hit than miss. The direction and editing move the story on at a good whip and the film never sags which in these types of films can definitely be a problem.
Overall Shazam! is a bright, joyful, fun-filled film and with the genius casting of Zachary Levi in a role, he was seemingly born to play you have a film with way more summits than troughs and you should get just over two hours of entertainment.
You cannot really ask for much more can you?