Starring: Zachary Levi, Mark, Strong, Asher Angel, Jack Dylan Grazer.
Director: David F. Sandberg
Genre: Action, Adventure, Comedy, Superhero.
We all have a superhero inside of us — it just takes a bit of magic to bring it out. In 14-year-old Billy Batson’s case, all he needs to do is shout out one word to transform into the adult superhero Shazam. Still a kid at heart, Shazam revels in the new version of himself by doing what any other teen would do — have fun while testing out his newfound powers. But he’ll need to master them quickly before the evil Dr Thaddeus Sivana can get his hands on Shazam’s magical abilities.
DC’s extended universe (DCEU) has seen its fair share of struggles. With Marvel’s success in establishing its own shared cinematic universe, it was clear that DC was looking to develop its own universe. However, DC’s fatal mistake was rushing their team-ups, leaving little room for audiences to develop a relationship with the respective heroes beforehand, Wonder Woman being the exception. However, Aquaman’s success felt like a step in the right direction for this extended universe as DC as they abandon the idea of creating an interlinking universe, and focus on stories that put the spotlight back on our heroes individual efforts.
Much like Aquaman, Shazam takes a lighthearted tone, one that proves highly effective in balancing humour with heart in the middle of the superheroic activity. Billy Batson, a troubled foster child finds himself chosen to be the successor to Shazam, an ancient wizard who bestows Billy with his powers to face off against the seven deadly sins. To unlock those powers, all Billy has to do is speak the word Shazam. Upon doing so, the fourteen-year-old finds himself in the body of a man and an arsenal of superpowers at his disposal. Zachary Levi clearly relished in his role as an adult superhero with a 14-year old heart with his superhero antics getting them into hilarious trouble. It’s interesting to note that it’s Levi who takes on the childish glee of superheroism, while Asher Angel takes on the hardened teenager who’s on his own journey in finding his family. It’s clear that while Levi’s childlike enthusiasm carries the lighthearted spirit of the film, the heart lies in the relationship between Billy and Freddie, his foster brother and friend. It was this plotline that carried the heart of the film as Billy’s search for his mother keeps him at arm’s length from a family that already embraces him.
Shazam is another step in the right direction for the DCEU, and with that comes the hopes that they’ve learnt from their previous mistakes and continue to carve out compelling storylines that allow our superheroes to stand alone and demonstrate their worth. Time will tell if the following films in DC’s extended universe will follow the same pattern. However, with Shazam, we can relish in the charming innocence of a man-child’s heroic shenanigans while embracing the endearing relationship between Billy, his foster family, and his search for a home.
What did you think of Shazam?
Which DCEU film are you looking forward to?