Movie Review: Shazam!

Shazam! is the new DC film in the DCEU. DC hasn’t really had a great track record with their films. Wonder Woman and Aquaman are the only good films that they have. I was interested in seeing this film. The trailers were hilarious, and everything looked great. And what really got me interested in seeing this film was David F. Sandberg. Who directed only two films. Both of which are horror films. Lights Out and Annabelle: Creation. Both were good horror movies. So I was curious to see what the director could bring to the table. So I saw it, and I can say that it was awesome.

The film follows a teenage boy who is adopted into the latest in a long line of foster families who have taken him in. One day, he is summoned by a wizard known as Shazam (yeah, even the movie makes fun of that name), who gives him the ability to transform into a fully grown man with a variety of superpowers. This is not only the funniest DCEU film to date, it’s also one of the funniest superhero movies I’ve seen! This film is right up there with Deadpool and Guardians of the Galaxy! Let’s start by saying that the acting is fantastic in this! Zachary Levi is incredible and very believable as a 14 year old body! He’s funny, energetic, charismatic, and seems like he was totally born to play this part! I was a little worried about the child actors in this film since child actors don’t usually work, but they were great here! I was also a little worried about the character of Billy originally. Because in the trailers, he seemed to be a very angsty kid, and then as Shazam, it felt like a very different person. But it totally works. Both characters feel real and believable. The jokes for the most part landed, even some small adult jokes had me cracking up in my seat!

By any means, this is probably the most badass looking superhero film in the DCEU! The action was really amazing! It isn’t jolty like the previous DCEU installments. I loved the scenes of Billy learning his powers for its own reasons, very much like Peter Parker/Spider-Man did. These scenes are fun and are my personal highlight of the action! My favorite thing about this film is the heart and great story about family. Billy Batson is a foster kid who just kind of wants to be left alone, but he is forced to adjust to a foster family. It’s incredibly common for films to have a very negative portrayal of foster life, and this film refreshingly has a very positive take on it! The foster parents portrayed in this film is not abusive or negligent, but genuinely want what’s best for the kids. The entire part of the film was brilliantly done and filled with so much heart and I loved it! One specific scene stands out to me at the end of the second act that I won’t get into, but I thought it was brilliant. The villain was also really intimidating! He had a compelling backstory that makes his motivations understandable. Mark Strong gave a really solid performance.

Now I shall talk about my only problem with the film, the tone shift. Several points of the film shifts the tone into more of a horror film due to the Seven Deadly Sins. Which can be attributed to the director of the film who is being mainly known for horror films. The drastic change from comedy to honor can be jarring. And it quite bothered me a lot. There were also kids in the theater and some of the kids were crying. Although, that doesn’t ruin the film for me. Also, since Sandberg directed this and Annabelle: Creation, there are two easter eggs from Annabelle. One includes the doll hidden on a shelf during the scene where the police chase Billy. And one actor from the film plays Mary. This is also the second DC film where the Annabelle doll makes an appearance.

Overall, Shazam! is an amazing entry to the DCEU! It’s a hilarious, heartwarming, and a highly enjoyable film that I am confident will please the vast majority of moviegoers, even those who had already given up on the series. I think the DCEU is starting to improve. Let’s hope their next film Joker can be another good film!

Score: 9/10