Starring: Zachary Levi, Mark Strong, Asher Angel, & Jack Dylan Grazer
Directed By: David F. Sandberg (Lights Out, Annabelle: Creation)
Runtime: 2 hours 12 minutes
Most of you are probably not familiar with the comic book hero, Shazam.Fun fact: His original name was Captain Marvel.But we don’t have time to get into that convoluted mess.
The titular hero is played by Zachary Levi, you might remember him from such films as Tangled or the TV show, Chuck.Shazam is a boy who with the uttering of the phrase Shazam can turn himself into an adult superhero.So, the movie is essentially ‘Big meets Superman’.Which is a compliment.The movie deviates from the brooding style of a lot of other DC movies and fully commits to being a breezy fun-filled ride.
Shazam’s alter ego is Billy Batson, a kid jumping from foster home to foster home in search of his birth mother who he got separated from at a carnival many years ago.He is desperate to get back to his real mom.He is a troubled kid with a good heart, but he feels like he doesn’t need anyone.With his latest foster family he learns the rules of superhero-dom.Yes, that’s a word I just made up.His new roommate is obsessed with comics and can’t help but share every interesting tidbit.
Shazam sees Batson acquire new powers that make him not only a superhero, but a fully-fledged adult.He stops a robbery at a convenience store, then buys himself some beer.He skips school in a very Ferris Bueller ways.The movie is a ton of fun watching the two boys get in and out of various situations.
There’s a lot of plot given at the beginning of the movie.It’s a little bit of a jumbled mess, because I’m not familiar with any of Shazam’s origin story.If you can through the first 20 minutes of this movie, you’ll enjoy it.It sports a runtime of 2 hours and 12 minutes and it really doesn’t need to.The final showdown between our hero and the villain lasts far longer than it needs to.Like a lot of superhero movies.
This movie has a great deal of heart too.I was VERY pleasantly surprised that this movie bothered to deal with the emotions of a lot of different foster kids.And the parents who decide to take these kids in.There’s a couple moments in the movie that really pulled on my heartstrings.For the record, didn’t cry!Thought I was going to a couple times though.Shazam is a really tender, really sweet movie.
With nods to every other DC hero, Shazam creates an argument for being the best movie that the DC brand has offered up since it’s attempt to compete with Marvel began.I wouldn’t rank it number one.But it’s Top three for sure.I liked it more than Aquaman.More than Justice League.More than Batman vs Superman.I heard good things going in and was surprised at how good this movie was for long stretches.Trim the beginning and the ending and we’d really have a special film on our hands, but all in all I really enjoyed Shazam! And am very excited to see what they do with the character going forward.
On a scale of "See It/Stream It/Skip It", I'd vote SEE IT. A lot of fun within this movie. If you like superhero movies, Shazam is better than a lot of other entries.
If you liked Guardians of the Galaxy, Thor: Ragnarok, or Aquaman you might like Shazam
3 out of 5 stars.Again, lop off some of that beginning and some of that ending and we’d have maybe a 4-star movie here.