Looking for a film that’s fun for the whole family? Look no further than Warner Brother’s new DC superhero story “Shazam!” This film is a story about a boy named Billy Batson who meets a magic wizard and is given the championship title and the power of the seven wizards that guard the Rock of Eternity. With this power, he gains the wisdom of Solomon, the strength of Hercules, the stamina of Atlas, the lightning power of Zeus, the courage of Achilles, and the speed of Mercury. And, yes, the first letter of each of those names spells “Shazam.”
At least, that is just the general premise for the story of “Shazam!” Within the past decade or so, superhero movies have been non-stop spitting out since the turn of the century. And sometimes, it’s hard to make a good superhero movie stand out. DC’s Shazam, played by Asher Angel (the boy) and Zachary Levi (the full-grown superhero), is such a compelling, charming and hilarious story. What makes this superhero story stand out from the rest? At its heart, this movie is a family story. Amid all the superpowers and supervillains is a story about finding a home and the people that make a family.
One of the biggest appeals of this new feature addition to the DC lineup is, as top critic for the San Diego Reader Matthew Lickona says, it “put[s] the comic back in comic book movie.”
“Shazam!” has shown that DC is finally breaking through some of its gritty-dark nonsense and instead of showing that it can still give something lighthearted and knee-slapping for audiences. It also does this by incorporating jokes that poke fun at the genre of superhero movies and, in that sense, this retro-looking, red bodysuit wearing, caped crusader becomes almost a parody and an absolute charm to watch. Every minute Zachary Levi is on screen, it’s evident that he loved playing a 15-year-old Billy Batson in a full-grown man’s body.
The supporting cast also shines extremely well in this movie. All of the family members get just enough screen time to show off their different personalities and quirks. The one who stands out the most, however, is Billy Batson’s new best friend and adopted brother Freddy Freedman, who has a bad leg and is a superhero fanatic. The interactions between Billy and Freddy on tackling the fact that Billy has superpowers is goofy and touching as this turn of events greatly affects their friendship.
Mark Stone also plays a fantastic supervillain in “Shazam!” as the role of Dr. Thaddeus Sivana. One of the best things about how he is portrayed is the audience actually gets to know his backstory quite well. His past is laid open and the audience can feel an emotional connection as well as see the similarity in his family problems in comparison to Billy’s problems with family. It gave viewers a dichotomy between these two people that ultimately fight in the climax, and helps center the story in what it really means to take steps toward a healthy family environment and healthy family relationships.
“Shazam!” is a breath of fresh air for the DCEU movie lineup with both its comic relief and its story centered around family. If you have the chance to see “Shazam!,” I definitely recommend taking the chance to treat yourself to a fun time full of wise-cracks and padded bodysuits.
Written by PLNU student: Caleb Yu