Yesterday I went to see “Shazam” with my nephew and I really enjoyed myself, although it didn’t excite me as much as other Marvel movies have done in the past. It’s a sweet, fun movie that feels aimed towards 12-16 year olds, with a charming actors and great dialogue.
Since I can’t, for the life of me, write a simple, normal summary of the plot, I turn to official material online to let it explain it to you what “Shazam” is all about: “We all have a superhero inside us, it just takes a bit of magic to bring it out. In Billy Batson’s case, by shouting out one word – SHAZAM! — this streetwise 14-year-old foster kid can turn into the adult Super Hero Shazam, courtesy of an ancient wizard. Still a kid at heart — inside a ripped, godlike body — Shazam revels in this adult version of himself by doing what any teen would do with superpowers: have fun with them! He sets out to test the limits of his abilities with the joyful recklessness of a child. But he’ll need to master these powers quickly in order to fight the deadly forces of evil controlled by Dr Thaddeus Sivana.”
The movie’s first part felt a bit slow, since it began with Sivana’s story and motive, then continued with the main character introduction and set up. But once Billy becomes Shazam, things get fun and entertaining. The script did a great job in portraying the life of a teenager (or so it seems), from his reactions to the near-perfect dialogue between Billy and Freddie, which was actually one of the strong points of the film. And whilst writing is important, the reason why it worked so well was the actor performance.
Zachary Levi felt to me like a perfect cast for the 14-year-old trapped in the body of a 30 year old (?). Although, now that I think about it, adult Billy/Shazam was definitely funnier and goofier than younger Billy, but let’s put that on experience level (Asher Angel has way less experience than Zachary, just in terms of years of performing). Levi really committed to the part and I loved his performance. I’m curious to see how he stacks up next to other DC characters. He’ll banter with Aquaman and definitely with Flash, but with Superman and Batman, or even Wonder Woman? That will be interesting.
Some of my favorite moments of Shazam were the scenes with Freddie. I absolutely loved Dylan Grazer’s performance and I am even considering watching IT for him (if you know me, you know that watching a horror movie is completely unheard of). He was so charmingly awkward and fun and smart, and I really don’t think the movie would have worked without him. SPOILER [older, superhero version of him works really well, too, Adam Brody was a great casting choice] END SPOILER
Up until the last part, I liked the movie, although I wasn’t overtly enthusiastic. But then something happened and the foster kids had to work together, and then I was sold. SPOILER [I did not expect the change of the foster brothers and sisters into superheros, mostly because I haven’t read the comics before and didn’t know too much about the film before hand. So when it did happened, I was so excited. Firstly, because any superhero works better in a team (OK, except maybe Superman and Batman). Secondly, because the older versions were just as fun as the younger ones, and the chemistry between them was just as good. And lastly, because I like the actors they chose for the parts. I mean, Meagan Good? Adam Brody? And the guy playing Eugene was pretty hot, too. Overall, the superhero team looks amazing and I really hope there will be a Shazam 2 just to see these 6 work together.] END SPOILER
So, in the end, Shazam is a sweet, entertaining movie, that you should definitely take your kids/nephews/nieces to see it. You will enjoy it, too. Not in the same league as Marvel, but pretty close.