Review: Shazam! (2019)
We all have a superhero inside of us -- it just takes a bit of magic to bring it out. In 14-year-old Billy Batson's case, all he needs to do is shout out one word to transform into the adult superhero Shazam. Still a kid at heart, Shazam revels in the new version of himself by doing what any other teen would do -- have fun while testing out his newfound powers. But he'll need to master them quickly before the evil Dr. Thaddeus Sivana can get his hands on Shazam's magical abilities.
DC Comics' latest film release Shazam! is a pleasant surprise. Compared to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, DC film releases have struggled to find the same overall level of critical acclaim and box office success. Unlike other films within the DC franchise, Shazam! represents a departure from the dark and gritty for a more light-hearted and humorous approach to superhero storytelling. As a result, this film stands out amongst the superhero genre and creates a truly unique and enjoyable hero origin story. Zachary Levi is perfect in the role of Shazam. All those years playing as the bumbling underachiever with a super spy alter-ego on the action-comedy television show, Chuck, make him an excellent choice to play Shazam, a child trapped within an adult superhero's body. As Billy Batson explores his newfound powers as Shazam, there are many humorous scenes where he gets to misuse his adult superhero appearance and superpowers for personal fame and gain. However, he soon has a "with great power, comes great responsibility" moment and rises to the call of being an superhero. Billy Batson is also an orphaned child looking for a family and a place to call home. As Shazam struggles to find his place in the world, we are given a superhero film that has a nice blend of humor and heart that will entertain the entire family. Shazam! may not be perfect but despite its pacing issues it has helped establish Shazam as a new superhero that is definitely worthy of our time.
Swin: 8/10 - Surprisingly, wonderful and funny.
Directed by: David F. Sandberg
Starring: Zachary Levi, Mark Strong, Asher Angel, Jack Dylan Grazer, Djimon Hounsou
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of action, language, and suggestive material
Runtime: 132 min