Recommendation: 3/5 Stars, STREAM
Plot: “We all have a superhero inside us, it just takes a bit of magic to bring it out. In Billy Batson's case, by shouting out one word - SHAZAM. - this streetwise fourteen-year-old foster kid can turn into the grown-up superhero Shazam.” -IMDB
Review: I notice some hesitation in you. Another DC movie has come and gone, yet you didn’t immediately drive to the theater to suck down overpriced popcorn and indulge in our summer ritual of watching men in tights fight galactic bad guys. Perhaps, you’ve grown tired of the exercise. Perhaps, the fresh wounds from prior encounters with DC franchises are still too tender. Perhaps, you were waiting for a review to give you a clear verdict. Well, here it is… With an intense focus on origin stories and character development, DC finds themselves on a roll with Wonder Woman, Aquaman, and now Shazam. Still, this movie is best watched from the comfort of your home.
Shazam is a character unlike any other. For him to appear on the scene, Billy Batson, a fourteen-year-old kid, must utter the words SHAZAM. Understanding how Billy acquires these powers is a bit awkward, but it doesn’t distract from the overall plot. It involves a backstory about needing to find someone of pure heart who can keep enemies at bay who happen to be locked away in stone. For our purposes, the hunt takes longer than expected and they are free to roam the Earth causing mischief. The hunt for someone of pure heart intensifies and lands at the feet of Billy. This is when the film really begins to shine as he discovers his powers. In fact, his journey of self-discovery is one of the funniest things I have ever watched in a comic book-based movie.
What makes “Shazam” shine is its sense of self-awareness. This film knows what it is. It isn’t attempting to leave you in tears like the latest Avengers movie. It isn’t trying to pull off the darkness of Christopher Nolan’s Batman movies. It is attempting to tell the story of a child superhero thrust into greatness while still trying to wrestle with what he doesn’t know about his real life. In the end, “Shazam” is a movie for the entire family, because it is a movie about a different kind of family. In many ways, this is a bold new approach for the comic book/movie industry.
This film also doesn’t succumb to the explosion of CGI that has come to dominate much of the endings of many Marvel and DC films. Instead, it becomes a family affair with a simple boss battle where the outcome is known, but enough intrigue is planted to keep you interested. So, is this the best comic book movie out there? No. But it isn’t “The Incredible Hulk” and for that I am grateful.
Be good to each other,
This website exists because of readers and supporters. If what you just read made you smile, please consider supporting the website with a monthly gift. Your support means everything and proves to the world that original content still matters.