Shazam! Movie Review

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Shazam! Movie Review

PC: Flickr (BagoGames)

PC: Flickr (BagoGames)

PC: Flickr (BagoGames)

PC: Flickr (BagoGames)

Micah Arenstein

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The timeless question. No, not “what happens after death?” No, not “who is God?” No, not the trolley problem. But, the question “Marvel or DC?” Anyone can have their opinion, whether you have only seen Iron Man or have read every DC Comic since Superman #1. Over the past few years, Marvel has excelled, pumping out blockbuster after blockbuster. In their desperate attempt to turn it around, DC has done the complete opposite (cough cough, Justice League, cough). With the stand-alone example of Wonder Woman, DC set out to make Shazam! a good movie, and I daresay they succeeded.

Shazam! is the story of Billy Batson, a foster kid on a quest to find his missing mother. He gets put into a foster home and meets his other foster siblings, including a disabled kid named Freddy Freeman. They become friends and Billy defends Freddy against the bullies at school. After a long chase from a bully, Billy escapes but is sent to another dimension where he ultimately gets the name and powers of SHAZAM. The catch: Billy turns into Shazam and back into himself by saying the superhero’s name. The rest of the movie centers around Billy’s process of growing up, discovering his powers, and dealing with the evil Dr. Sivana, played by Mark Strong. With twists and turns and plenty of laughs, you almost forget it’s a DC movie.

Shazam! openly invites the viewers to have fun during the movie. The cinematography is average but in the best way possible. The directors did not take many chances with their camerawork. Some will applaud the decision, others will scorn it, but there wasn’t a missed opportunity to do something special, so there is no whiplash. The acting, though, was phenomenal. Zachary Levi (Shazam) absolutely steals the show. He is quirky, funny, and somehow makes us believe he is really a 15-year-old in a different body. His actual 15-year-old counterpart, Asher Angel (Billy Batson), has a great performance and helps magnify Zachary Levi’s performance. Mark Strong’s performance cooly portrays Dr. Sivana as the demon-possessed villain he really is. He is threatening, imposing, and downright crazy. The fact that Dr. Sivana is so serious perfectly contrasts Levi’s goofy superhero, and their tense back-and-forth one-liners provide serious laughs.

In the end, DC has managed to produce a pretty average movie. With an underwhelming plot-twist and an unsatisfying end, Shazam! will ultimately leave a bittersweet taste in your mouth. Although, by recent DC standards, Shazam! can be considered a big success. With a post-credits scene that opens up the idea of a DC extended universe, Shazam! has the potential to open up a new world.

Final Rating: 7.5/10