SHAZAM! – Movie Reviews by Ry!

SHAZAM! – Speak Hero for Magical Fun

The idea of the superhero brings about many things.  For some, it is an icon worth idolizing, for others it is a chance to escape through imagination.  No matter what, superheroes bring about reasons worth exploring intuitive storytelling.  Shazam!, a superhero based in the DC lore, brings about these feelings of idols and imagination.  Even with the basic draw of all comic book tropes, this is a superhero film that breathes new life into the comic book origin tale.

The film centers around the general lore of SHAZAM!  With a a quick backstory of ‘where’ the powers came from, it flashes into present day where Billy Batson (Asher Angel), an ordinary teenage boy who is bestowed the powers of SHAZAM! (Zachary Levi).  From the onset, the direction pushes a story that is familiar but branches into a character narrative.  The film tackles the general ‘comic book origins’ by combining it with themes usually presented in a coming-of-age tale.  As you watch Batson come to understand how to use these superpowers, it parallels the complexity of human fragility.  What you have is the ‘fantastical’ infused with the ideas of knowledge, growth and understanding.  The simplistic narrative pushes the lore with a sense of folly, creating general fun when SHAZAM! interacts with other characters and the world around him.  The clichés that would have hindered any in this genre only heightens the awareness of this character’s flaws.  This idea of a boy living as a ‘man with superpowers’ is ironic, genuine and sometimes hilarious.  The wittiness of the film to push generic comic book tropes helps you become part of the journey, understanding the ideas through a realistic lens.

Even for the richness the concept, the hilarity comes with a basic flaw of this genre.  By tailoring too close to the generic comic book origins direction, you have a lot of wasted hero moments, plot driven characters and a villain that is nothing more than an obstacle for the hero.  Dr. Sivana is played admirably by Mark Strong, but even his strong acting can’t overcome the bad setup and writing of the character.  Even with fragmented segments, the direction eventually brings the audience back into the fun in the final act.  Here, the story shifts to the genuine themes that showcase the fulfillment of Batson becoming that true superhero.  Once in the epilogue, you feel an overwhelming smile come over for Batson and his adopted family.  SHAZAM! is a comic book film that plays with a mix of genres to create something a bit different.  The welcoming approach helps create a fun adventure, even if there is a slight weakness in its basic draw.  If you’re a fan of DC, comic books or want to have a fun time at the theaters, this is one for you.  I believe it is worth the full price, a good film for the family.

Full Score – 4 out of 5 (Full Price)

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