a critiQal film review Shazam! (2019)

Plot: We all have a superhero inside us, it just takes a bit of magic to bring it out. In Billy Batson’s (Angel) case, by shouting out one word, this streetwise 14-year-old foster kid can turn into the adult Super Hero Shazam (Levi), courtesy of an ancient wizard. Still a kid at heart - inside a ripped, godlike body - Shazam revels in this adult version of himself. Shazam sets out to test his abilities, but he'll need to master these powers quickly in order to fight the deadly forces of evil controlled by Dr. Thaddeus Sivana (Strong).

Reviewed
306 words (Est. Reading Time 1m 31s)
  • ...with Zachary Levi shining bright, this comic superhero origin story should please young and old alike.

After seeing what came out on digital recently, I always knew what I was going to be watching this weekend – Shazam! But would Zachary Levi (dang, wish “Chuck” (TV) was still on) be able to deliver a lighter DC Universe funfest, or are Aquaman (2018) and Wonder Woman (2017) still going to be carrying this Universe by themselves?

Honestly, most of the cast of Shazam! are relative unknowns. Thankfully, the kids do a decent enough job, but Zachary Levi (the good guy) and Mark Strong (the bad guy) are the real stand-outs here. Mark Strong is good at playing the bad guy, and does so with an eerie calm that is a bit chilling, but Shazam! is really Zachary’s movie.

Thankfully, Zachary takes the ball and runs with it, delivering lots of humor in the beginning, and gradually tackling more serious issues as Shazam! progresses. Like his stint on “Chuck” (TV), he’s great at playing the comedic action hero, and he shows it again in every scene.

Once again, viewers are treated to another superhero origin story with Shazam! Thankfully, it’s an odd origin story, and viewers will get a kick out of DC’s lighter side. Too long have they been dwelling in the dismal darkness. Like Thor: Ragnarok (2017) showed, humor can (and should) be allowed in some of these superhero pics. Thankfully, the humor in Shazam! is intended (as opposed to, say, Bat nipples in Batman & Robin (1997)), and does a great job differentiating this origin story from so many others before it.

With Zachary Levi shining in the title role, Shazam! should entertain young and old alike. Thankfully, there’s some substance behind the laughter, and viewers will find it hard to believe this is the same Universe that the banal Justice League (2017) resides in. Shazam! is popcorn-munching entertainment viewers can get behind. Thanks, DC Universe!

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