Posted in Blog Posts, DC Comics, Flick Central

Shazam!, based on characters from the DC Universe: a Film Review

Synopsis:

Young Thaddeus Sivana, his brother, and his father are on their way to visit his grandfather for Christmas when he is suddenly pulled from the back seat to a strange world – a cave full of status and a strange wizard offering him untold amounts of power.  When he fails the test to gain the wizards powers he is returned to the car.

Over 40 years later, Billy Batson runs away (once again) from his foster family in his quest to find his biological mom.  When he is taken back to Child Services by police he is transferred to a new family…one full of kids and parents who have and are in the system.  After fending off some bullies picking on one of his new foster brothers Billy takes off for the subway where he is transported to the Rock of Eternity.  This time the wizard chooses him to become the new keeper of his powers.  The one and only Shazam!

When Billy returns to Earth he seeks out the help of his foster brother to learn about his new powers.  It isn’t until he is attacked by a demon wielding bad guy that he realizes maybe being on his own isn’t the best way to do things.

General Information:

-Genre: Superhero, Coming of Age, Family

-Creator: based on characters from the DC Universe

-Length: 132 minutes

-Rating: PG-13 (moderate violence and gore, mild profanity, very mild alcohol use, moderate frightening and intense scenes)

-Where to Watch: HBO Max (with subscription), DVD, Blu-Ray, or look for it at your local library

-Main Cast: Zachary Levi, Mark Strong, Asher Angel, Jack Dylan Grazer, Djimon Hounsou

-Page of Reference in RP1: DC Comics is mentioned throughout the book

Review (contains spoilers):

This was a genuinely fun and heartfelt movie.  With this and the Birds of Prey film I finally think that DC is taking a note from MARVEL for its full-length movies – they should be something else first (like a coming of age story) and a superhero film second.

Shazam! Covered this with no problems.  From the heartfelt story of a foster kid learning that not all families are going to betray his trust to the upfront villain’s backstory dealing with a disfunctional family, to the insanely over the top comic book style this film was truly a coming-of-age story for a new generation.

The mythos of Shazam was presented in a way that had the audience laughing along with two teenagers trying to find their place in the world.  It wasn’t overly expositional or pretentious as has happened many times over in the DC Comics film and television universe. 

The fight scenes are fun and have incredibly effective use of cinematic effects like slow motion that are seen throughout superhero films.

The characters and the costumes are age appropriate and fully developed to tell the story, not just of the people and their roles with each other but with glimpses of their pasts. And the actors do an incredible job acting like their younger counterparts even when they are the adult versions of their superhero personas.

And most of all the story of a foster family who wants to build a life with another foster kid…who won’t quit on them…who won’t leave them behind…is something that is so needed today when so many people have felt left out or downtrodden.

This is really a comic book come to life and I cannot wait to see the second movie.  It can’t come out fast enough.

Rating:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

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