Wham, Bam, “SHAZAM!”: Movie Review

By: Katie Betz, betzka@mnstate.edu

Teenage superheroes are not a new concept, so in today’s superhero movie age it can be hard to make one that stands out.

“SHAZAM!” puts a unique spin on this common story idea by giving a fifteen-year-old foster kid an adult alter ego with the powers of ancient titans. I’m reviewing “SHAZAM!” from the standpoint of an audience member who has read very few comic books and watches way too many superhero movies.

This movie is my favorite installment of the DC Extended Universe so far. I enjoyed its humor and heart. A lighthearted superhero movie is a welcome addition to the DCEU. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against a dark dramatic movie. “SHAZAM!” has the unique feature of mixing dark tones in with the lighter moments.

One element of the film I really enjoyed is the interaction between the characters Billy Batson (Asher Angel) and his foster brother Freddy Freeman (Jack Dylan Grazer). The relationship between Billy and his foster siblings is refreshing and entertaining.

I have a weakness for any movie that features family as an important part. I think this is one of the elements that sold me on “SHAZAM!” The relationships between Billy and his foster family are very believable and fun to watch.

This movie’s main villain, Dr. Sivana, is not the most creative villain I have ever seen in a film, but he was entertaining. He is a good foil to Billy as a character because their backstories are similar. The key thing that separates them is that Billy doesn’t hold on to the past and to his power for the sake of the power itself but finds something (or someone) to care about more than himself.

I was a little surprised that the movie maintained its lighthearted tone while dealing with some very dark scenes. Don’t worry, I’m not going to spoil anything. Suffice to say that Sivana’s allies in this film are “deadly.”

According to IMDB, Director David F. Sandberg has experience making movies such as “Annabelle: Creation.” “SHAZAM!” is not a horror movie by any means, but I do think that the director used this expertise to keep you on the edge of your seat and somehow managed to keep the darker scenes in sync with an overall lighthearted movie.

In short, “SHAZAM!” is goofy. It doesn’t take itself too seriously and simply wants to entertain, and they succeeded.

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