THE LAIR — The DC Comics movie universe has had some bumps along the way, as well as a couple of highlights. “Wonder Woman” ended up being one of the best superhero movies I’ve ever seen, while “Justice League” made me go blind for about an hour. For these reasons I was cautiously optimistic about “Shazam!”
I could have thrown that caution to the wind because “Shazam!” is an absolute blast and is well worth putting your Marvel vs. DC squabble aside to embrace this movie.
Here are a few reasons why “Shazam!” is the kind of superhero movie I wish we had more of:
The cast is great
Angel plays Billy Batson, the young orphan who inherits Shazam’s power and Levi plays the superhero version of Batson. Grazer plays Freddy Freeman, Batson’s foster brother, and all three of them absolutely, as well as Levi and Grazer, is palpable and makes you wish you were a member of their group. It wasn’t a surprise to me that I liked Levi so much considering his infectious personality and charm, and I knew Grazer would be a lot of fun considering his performance in “It.”
What surprised me was Angel’s performance. I didn’t know him before, but this movie will help him move out of the TV realm he’s currently in and into a movie star.
If you aren't interested in Angel or Grazer, Levi alone makes the film worth seeing.
The rest of the foster siblings are great additions, and the kids plus Levi make the movie watchable and enjoyable.
It doesn’t take itself too seriously
I feel a big problem with most DC Comics movies, and even some Marvel films, is that they take themselves far too seriously. That’s a huge mistake in most instances considering the absurd plots of these movies.
“Shazam!” is no exception. It’s about a teenager in the foster system who inherits magical powers from a wizard in another realm and is now expected to save the world. It’s an absurd concept and thankfully the film recognizes that and has a ball with it.
The film looks at exactly what teenagers would do if they were thrown into this situation — what cool stuff can we do, and can we make some money off of it?
The approach to the tone and levity of the film makes it one of the better superhero offerings I’ve seen. It’s honestly hilarious, and I found myself laughing out loud over and over again.
It's easy to care about the story
Even with the silly approach and light-hearted attitude, “Shazam!” tells a story that’s easy to connect with and adds the right amount of heart in the right places.
The film itself starts off a little dark and that had me worried, but looking back it kicked things off on the right foot and it helped the audience settle in pretty quickly with what to expect moving forward.
The screenwriters, director and cast also did an excellent job of revealing things at exactly the right times with the needed combination of heart and humor. While you’ll be laughing for most of the film, you’ll also find yourself scared at moments, on the verge of tears at others and smiling with pride.
“Shazam!” is not the greatest superhero film I’ve seen, but it is one of the most fun. There are plot holes here and there, and I think a convincing and equally entertaining sequel could be tough to pull off, but I don’t care about any of that because I had such a great time watching this movie
I hope this movie helps the DC Comics movie universe finally get on the right track and also makes Zachary Levi the movie star he should have been years ago.
Check KSL.com on Friday for a "Shazam!" content guide for parents.
“Shazam!” is rated PG-13 for intense sequences of action, language, and suggestive material.