DC Produces Another Win With “Shazam!”
By: George Burkert
“Shazam!” was directed by David F. Sandberg and stars Ashner Angel as Billy Batson and Zachary Levi as his adult superhero alter ego Shazam.
He is given powers by a wizard named Shazam played by Djimon Hounsou. This is the latest film in the “DC Extended Universe,” which is getting back on track after the success of “Wonder Woman” and “Aquaman.”
This was an interesting film because this was DC’s attempt at using a superhero that wasn’t exactly a household name. Shazam isn’t as popular as other DC heroes like Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Flash, and Aquaman.
“Shazam!” Once again proves any doubts wrong and is a very good movie. In fact, it’s one of the best movies in the “DC Extended Universe.”
Zachary Levi was great as Shazam. It’s easy to tell he had a lot of fun playing the character, similar to Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman.
The strongest theme in this movie is family. Billy is trying to look for his mom after being separated from her, but has to stay in a group home.
The entertaining and light tone works for this movie. Most people have the belief that DC is dark and broody because of the “Batman” movies and “Man of Steel,” but “Shazam!”, similar to “Wonder Woman” and “Aquaman,” proved that belief wrong.
The tone has a similar feel to some of the movies from the 1980s like “Big” and “The Goonies.” It’s similar to “Big” because a kid turns into an adult and it’s similar to “The Goonies” because of the adventurous tone with kids and teenagers as the main characters.
While “Shazam!” is a “DC Extended Universe” movie, it works very well as a solo superhero movie. It acknowledges that Batman and Superman are around, but it’s used more for comedic purposes.
The film actually pokes fun at the superhero, which is why it works in today’s era where we have so many comic book movies from DC and Marvel. Speaking of today’s comic book movie heavy industry, “Shazam!” knows how to stand out and give the audience something new instead of being repetitive like some people have accused other comic book movies of being recently.
As far as DCEU movies go, Dr. Thaddeus Sivana, played by Mark Strong, is one of the better villains. He’s not one of the greatest like Heath Ledger’s Joker or Tom Hiddleston’s Loki, but still a good villain with a backstory that helps the audience understand his motivations.
The final battle was a real surprise which is great because some superhero movies, including some of the best, can have a bland or uninteresting final battle.
While “Shazam!” has many laughs, it also has heart. It’s a very good family superhero movie.
It teaches people that there is more to family than blood and that no matter how much power they have, it doesn’t matter unless they have people they love in their life.
One thing that could have improved, would have been the score. Unlike other DC characters who have movies like Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman, there isn’t a theme or score to Shazam himself that the audience will find rememberable or stand out.
If there was one thing DC movies, from Richard Donner’s Superman from 1978 to Christopher Nolan’s “Dark Knight” trilogy and the “DC Extended Universe” have done well with, the movies usually have a great soundtrack. The songs they had were adequate, but there wasn’t anything like Han Zimmer or Danny Elfman’s Batman score or John Williams’ Superman score.
All in all, “Shazam!” is a very good movie that not only gives a new air to the “DC Extended Universe,” but comic book movies in general. Zachary Levi entertains and Mark Strong gives a menacing presence as the film’s villain.
Hopefully, DC will give other characters a chance to shine on the big screen like Shazam. They have many great characters that can also be adapted to the big screen and entertain.