Review: Shazam!

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.

Recommended: Yes

Grade: B

Memorable Quote: "Get him, Batman!" - Shazam (Zachary Levi)


12 comments:

  1. Great review! I totally agree on the chemistry between Levi and Grazer. As for the Batman vs Superman references, I didn't perceive it as a jab or poke at the movie. It just felt like a reference. I mean, Freddie was a big Superman fan, he had the bullet and the end was cute, too.

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    1. The scene where the little kid in the apartment complex is play fighting with his Batman and Superman action figures, then drops them on the ground to look at Shazam fighting in mid air...SO obvious lol

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  2. Good point about the SFX! I'm hoping that the movie's done well enough for them to throw more money at a sequel. I loved Shazam! so much more than I thought I would, I think it appealed to my inner kid!

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    1. If they do Shazam 2 they need to double it's budget or at least give them the same amount Aquaman had. Their visuals were nearly flawless.

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  3. I liked this enough but certainly wasn't blown away by it. I actually liked the darker DCEU tone. It offered a nice variation on the superhero genre instead of making everything like the MCU. This movie goes waaaay into the other direction. I can see that working for many. I found it pretty lightweight.

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    1. I liked Nolan's dark DC movies but Snyder isn't Nolan. Shazam seemed like it wanted to be both. It had the humor of a Marvel movie but still some dark moments like the deaths in this film.

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  4. I'm going to wait for the film on TV though my dad is more eager to see it as he grew up on reading the comics.

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    1. I hope your dad enjoys it. They really geared it to a younger audience so I'm not sure how close to the source material it is.

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  5. I am all for dragging Snyder and huniliating Cavill so I liked the jokes and WB practically yelling they dont need him right before end credits rolled

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    1. I wonder if they even asked Cavill to do that cameo? lol

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  6. I had a good enough time with this one, as it was pretty fun/the right kind of stupid. I was also waaay too excited to be at something EARLY.

    Totally with you on the budget, as it seemed almost like a Netflix movie at times. Small scale doesn't necessarily mean terrible, but the VFX were definitely lacking. My big complaint was the villain. That dude sucked hard.

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    1. He wasn't the greatest, but I did kind of not mind when he tossed his brother out a window. Those guys were dicks.

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