Shazam! A movie review.

Shazam! is an enjoyable, feel-good superhero movie reminiscent of 80’s family flicks.

Billy Batson (Asher Angel) is a resourceful orphan looking for the mother he was separated from many years before. Placed with a new and quirky foster family, he meets Freddy (Jack Dylan Grazer), foster brother and roommate, who is obsessed with superheroes. After fighting some bullies, Billy escapes via the subway and is magically transported to the cave of the Wizard Shazam (Djimon Hounsou), who grants him superpowers and transforms him into his adult champion, Captain Marvel – oh, sorry, we can’t call him that anymore due to legal niceties (Zachary Levi). His job is to fight the seven deadly sins, who have chosen their own champion in Thaddeus Sivana (Mark Strong).

Shazam! has a fun premise: what happens when a kid becomes an adult with superpowers? It’s Big for superheroes, and a lot of the humour comes from Zachary Levi learning to use his powers (and abuse them, as any kid in an adult’s body probably would). Along the way he learns responsibility and respect, and it’s no spoiler to say he eventually saves the day (it’s a superhero movie, after all). There are a few unexpected surprises along the way, though…

Director David F. Sandberg and his very diverse cast look like they had a ball. The script is playful and inventive, and sufficiently different from other superhero movies to make this one stand out (DC writer Geoff Johns has his creative footprints all over it). It’s funny, nostalgic (with 80’s references galore), and also demonstrates it is very much part of the existing DC extended universe (DCEU), with numerous character references and a surprise cameo. It didn’t require me to use my brain at all (I generally prefer my superhero films more complex) and I laughed a lot. And there’s nothing wrong with that, especially in the Trump-infested mire of today’s world.

I enjoyed this movie. It’s one for the family, who can all leave their brains at the door and have a nostalgic and wacky time.

Rating: B

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