I choose you as champion.
Billy Batson (Asher Angel) is a foster kid that is constantly running away trying to find his real mother. One day a wizard (Djimon Hounsou) chooses him to inherit his powers when he says the magic work - Shazam! The only person Billy can tell at first is his new foster brother, Freddy. (Jack Dylan Grazer) They attempt to test out his powers before having to face off with a real villain, Dr. Sivana (Mark Strong)
Shazam is a comic character I'm not familiar with at all, so I went into this pretty blind and was pleasantly surprised with how much fun this is. Zachary Levi, who plays Billy in Shazam form has excellent chemistry with Grazer and the film is at its best when the two of them are together. It's definitely geared towards tweens/teens. It makes me wonder if this will be some generation's Last Action Hero. Plenty of the jokes land, and I appreciated the quick Street Fighter reference. If you're bringing young children, there is one part that's pretty scary for them. It's actually surprising how graphic this specific death is, but they'll recover quickly. Or at least my son did.
The actors and the jokes are what carry the film but it suffers from a few things. Mainly the special effects, which are pretty terrible. I know this film didn't have a huge budget but if they're building a universe they need to throw some of their Aquaman money at these other films too. It's bad enough that Levi is clearly running around in a rubber padded suit, but those demons felt like they were from the early 2000's. The 3rd act also has some pacing issues. You should never go into a comic book movie's 3rd act and wish they'd hurry up and get to it, they're supposed to be fast paced.
There's one other thing I'm undecided on and I'd love to hear your thoughts: This movie pokes a lot of fun at Batman v Superman (Aquaman too in the second end credits scene) and I'm torn on whether or not it's funny or a bad idea. It's really on the nose, and even if those were misfires should you really be taking the piss out of the films that started the very universe they're continuing to build? We do that enough on the internet already. I think it might be better to not acknowledge how much they crashed and burned and just try to move forward.
Memorable Quote: "Get him, Batman!" - Shazam (Zachary Levi)