No, not the Shazam app that tells you the song you heard in the supermarket. We are talking about the Shazam! superhero comics that were brought to life roughly 80 years ago. Shazam! was introduced to the Superhero universe and now in 2019, DC Comics and Warners Bros have rebirthed Shazam! into a live action blockbuster. Will it live up to the hype? Read more to find out!
Asher Angel plays 14-year-old orphan, William “Billy” Baston, whose mother abandoned him when he was younger, who gets spontaneously transported to an unknown, yet magical setting named the ‘Rock of Eternity’ by Shazam!; an ancient wizard played by Djimon Hounsou. Ultimately, Billy is granted a list of superpowers: super-speed, flight, super-strength, immune to bullets, being able to generate electricity from his fingers, and the ability able to transform into the alter ego version of himself, a.k.a Captain Marvel; while possessing all of the mentioned powers. He just needs to exclaim the name “Shazam!”. Now if only it were that simple in the real-world universe!
You may have heard of the actor well known for his portrayal in NBC’s comedy-drama series “Chuck”, played by main star Zachary Levi. The witty, nerdy, yet dually charismatic and likeable persona that Levi exudes was all the more reason for him to be casted as the muscle-packed, but childlike superhero Shazam!, who may be alike to Superman; but at the end of the day, has the heart and soul of a 14-year-old kid living out everyone’s fantasy of seeing the world through the lens of a superhero.
Shazam!’s director, David F, Sandberg has had a skyrocketing career over the course of a few years. With his expertise in bringing both horror flicks, “Lights Out” and “Annable: Creation” to life in their most gory and glore forms to now putting together a DC Universe film all in approx. three years- it’s obvious that no-one can deny Sandberg’s skill and talent composing films of complete opposite genres in the movie spectrum.
Although he does tend to lead the film astray with overwhelming amounts of CGI, Sandberg reassures the audience that the graphics are only the cherry on top of the cake, while the rest of the tier and icing is represented by a clever, witty dialogue (thanking Henry Gayden for the brilliant script), perfect comedic timing, vast character development, while still maintaining the seriousness of superhero business with it’s usual action, conflicts with villains and dark undertones. All in all a great balance to maintain the contrast of tones with good vs. bad.
Although the story can come across a bit messy at times and unwieldy, Shazam! is new and refreshing to the modern superhero DC Extended Universe. It’s hilarious, funny, but also heartfelt and will be a great joy for audiences (13 years and older, sorry kids) to enjoy!