SHAZAM! – It’s Like an 80s Spielberg Film – AWESOME

I was meant to post the review for SHAZAM! last week, was all excited to get on top of movie reviews and back in the writing game and then BAMM – have a death plague flu to put you in bed for seven days. Thanks very much Murphy and your stupid laws! But I babble, possibly from all the meds.

SHAZAM! is out now and it is one brilliant light-hearted superhero movie that is made for the family. It feels like Spielberg stepped back in time and directed an 80s superhero movie with all the technology of current times. I loved this film.

SHAZAM! is out now from the fine folks at Roadshow/ Warner Bros. It is rated M and runs for 132mins.

Shazam! Asher Angel image
Asher Angel

BY JASON KING

SHAZAM! SYNOPSIS:

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.

Shazam! Zachary Levi and Jack Dylan Grazer image
Zachary Levi and Jack Dylan Grazer

WHEN A FAMILY SUPERHERO MOVIE BECOMES ONE OF DC’S BEST LIVE ACTION FILMS:

The superhero genre is nearing saturation point, some may say it surpassed saturation a lot of films ago but there are still so many brilliant hero films releasing. I say that superhero films can go on and on and on – why not have as many superhero movies as there are comic books writing them? Especially when they are as good as SHAZAM!

It ticks all the boxed.

  1. Awesome for the entire family
  2. Awesome cast
  3. Awesome story – sure it’s a little generic but you won’t care because it’s a lot of fun
  4. Awesome writing – it is good wholehearted writing of both the drama, the action and the comedy
  5. Awesome bad guy
  6. Awesome comedy
  7. Awesome action

SHAZAM! threads the foster family storyline very well. Billy has been a foster kid his entire life and finally moves in with a foster family that genuinely cares for each other. Of course Billy would be scared of this, he has never really trusted anyone but his new foster family starts teaching him how to care for himself and others. When Billy/ Shazam gets his powers he isn’t immediately a hero, he has to learn. His powers were given to him because he had the potential to be great not because he was a Disney cartoon character of joy. When it mattered Billy’s heart and love came through. This made me all warm and fuzzy. He had to learn about responsibility – kind of like Spider-Man/ Peter Parker accepting his responsibilities upon Uncle Ben’s sidewalk death bed.

And like Billy, the bad guy, the evil Dr. Thaddeus Sivana has a motivated backstory that is totally buyable. When your father and brother are your biggest bullies would your heart not grow dark? If the world had more love there would be less Dr. Thaddeus Sivanas.

CAMEOS:

Towards the end a lot of awesome cameos appear, well, throughout the film are a few good cast members/ cameos but the last thirty minutes provides a decent amount that makes me desperate to see a sequel to this movie. The world needs more Seth Coen as a hero!! Apologies – teeny spoiler there!

Shazam! Zachary Levi and Mark Strong image
Zachary Levi and Mark Strong

PERFECT CASTING – JACK DYLAN GRAZER STEALS THE SHOW:

SHAZAM! couldn’t have had a better cast. Zachary Levi was the perfect blend of adult and child superhero as the transformed lead. It is good to see the Marvel minor THOR star crossing into a lead roll for DC, a DC movie that will be up the top of the most successful and loved. His human child counterpart Asher Angel is a wonderful kid with heart. He is cute, he has the emotional depth required for a fight or flight kid looking out for himself and he works really well with the camera. But more than half his screentime is cut when he turns into Shazam.

Mark Strong is a superb bad guy and had a lot of fun being an evil douchebag but you also empathise with him because of his backstory. He is a product of the treatment he received from his family.

But there is one kid, or should I just say actor, who stole the show for me. Jack Dylan Grazer, as Freddy Freeman, was superb on screen. You will recognise him as Eddie from IT. But he carries comedy, drama and an acting range beyond his years. This kid is going places quick!

Shazam! Foster Kids image
The Foster Kids

IN CONCLUSION:

I gotta be honest – SHAZAM! is my favourite live action DC movie since THE DARK KNIGHT RISES in 2012 (WONDER WOMAN comes very close). I really was expecting very little from my impressions of the trailer but I will be for sure owning this baby on 4K Blu Ray and am considering seeing it again in the Event Cinemas 4DX Cinema. It does what a lot of other superhero movies fail to do in the DC Universe, have fun.

YOUR CRITIC:

Jason King owns, writes and edits Salty Popcorn and Spooning Australia. He is a movie, food, restaurant, wine, chocolate, bacon, burger and brussels sprouts addict. He is a member of the Australian Film Critics Association and has been in the Australian movie industry for 26yrs. Furthermore he loves watching people trip over and is Leonardo DiCaprio’s biggest fan. 

** Images used are courtesy of various sources on Google or direct from the distributor or publisher. Credit has been given to photographers where known – images will be removed on request.