ComicsVerse’s SHAZAM review is here, and DC has succeeded. SHAZAM! is filled with humor, heart, and electricity like no other DCEU film so far. When SHAZAM! is at its best it takes advantage of the tropes of superhero origins and supervillains to provide great comedic effect. However, it can also find itself being a predictable origin story. The good news is the banter, relationships, and visuals more than make up for that minor complaint.

SHAZAM Review: Story 

SHAZAM!, directed by David F. Sandberg, is a wonderful film filled with great laughs, visuals, and touching themes of family. Zachary Levi gels with all the other actors perfectly. He really feels like just another part of Asher Angel’s Billy Batson. The charisma that he radiates helps push the film up from a good movie into a great film.

Additionally, Billy and Freddy have a fun-loving and exciting energy that is not present in many other superhero films. The duo is joyful and has fun discovering and using superpowers, with an innocence that is unique. The film uses its position in the DCEU to great success, referencing other DC heroes just the right amount. It is not intrusive at all, and it makes the characters more relatable because they are enamored by superheroes, just like the audience.

Billy Batson, played by Asher Angel, is a foster child determined to find his mother. After some delinquency, he is adopted into a foster family by Victor and Rosa Vasquez, played by Cooper Andrews and Marta Milans. The family contains five other foster children, Freddy, Mary, Darla, Eugene, and Pablo. Billy rooms with Freddy, played by Jack Dylan Grazer, a crippled boy with a passion for superheroes.

The wizard Shazam is tasked with finding a new champion, worthy of his power, and capable of holding back the seven deadly sins. After a former potential champion, played by Mark Strong, returns to unleash the sins against Shazam, he gives his power to Billy Batson. Whenever Billy shouts “SHAZAM,” he takes the form of his older, peak self, played by Zachary Levi. Although he is amazed by his abilities, Batson, an immature 14-year-old, also struggles with his concept of family while navigating his newfound powers and responsibilities.

Billy’s Buddy 

The best part of the film is the relationship between Billy and his foster brother Freddy. There is a sense of joy and excitement that the two characters embed into the film that is electric. Their chemistry and rapport are on display throughout the entire film. Specifically, their relationship is at its best when they set out to discover what superpowers Billy inherited. Their video experiments are a fantastic show of their relationship and Levi’s chemistry with Grazer. It is incredible that Sandberg manages to contain this dynamic whether it’s Zachary Levi or Asher Angel playing Billy.

SHAZAM Review- Billy and Freddy hide from armed robbers
Courtesy of DC Entertainment

Freddy manages to steal every scene he is in. Jack Dylan Grazer is funny, relatable, sympathetic, and completely believable as Freddy. He has an admiration for the superheroes that exist in the DCEU that borderlines on obsession. This makes him incredibly relatable, and it plays into his excitement at Billy’s discovery of his powers. Freddy’s love of heroes makes him the natural fit to guide Billy into the world of being a superhero.

Shazam and the Rest of the Fam 

Billy’s relationship with the rest of his foster family is some of the best parts of the movie. They add an additional layer to the film, grounding the story and adding tremendous heart. The performances from the foster children in Billy’s family are great all around. Darla, played by Faithe Herman, is adorable, charismatic, and hilarious. She is certainly a standout in the film. The kids have great chemistry, and each one manages to deliver hysterical comedic moments. The foster parents are played very well too, although they were not given nearly as much to do.

Shazam Review- Billy and Freddy discover electricity
Courtesy of DC Entertainment

SHAZAM Review: Sins 

The biggest problem with SHAZAM may be the lack of dimension for everyone except Billy and Freddy. The film has a quite large cast, so it is understandable that not everyone can have significant development. However, it would have been nice to see the other kids and the parents get more than one or two memorable traits.

The villain, Dr. Sivana, is a weakness of the film. Sivana gets a good amount of backstory and some motivation but does not add enough to the film or his character. It seems like Sandberg is almost unsure what to do with him. SHAZAM! often parodies and makes fun of the tropes of traditional superhero villains, yet it handles his backstory seriously. It is so dramatic that it feels odd when his actions are played for laughs. The backstory tried making Sivana a relatable character; however, when we see him after his backstory, he is cold-blooded to the max. That alone is not necessarily a bad thing, but it does make the film’s approach to his character feel a bit disjointed. When SHAZAM! uses Sivana as a plot device to push Batson forward, he works great, but when the film goes for more it is a bit of a letdown.

 

SHAZAM Review- Dr. Sivana and SHAZAM
Courtesy of DC Entertainment

There is a subplot involving a pair of older bullies that harass Freddy, which is also disappointing. The two bullies are very stereotypical, and not in a fun, ironic way. Their involvement in the film is minimal, but every time they show up they simply feel like there was an obligation to have bullies. Especially in a film that pokes fun at and flips around some superhero tropes, it is especially noticeable that they fulfill such an obvious and predictable role.

Tone

The tone of the film is perfect. The film is hysterical and fun. The film’s tone is unified in a way that the DCEU has not always been, with a major emphasis on comedy. Comedic moments are often placed in serious scenes, to break tension or to point out the absurdity of the situations the characters find themselves in. I can see some people potentially having an issue with the jokes intruding on more serious moments, but I had no problem at all. There is hope and energy in this film in a much more significant way than many other DCEU films.

SHAZAM Review: Conclusion

I love SHAZAM!, in case you couldn’t tell from this SHAZAM review, and I believe it is a new high for the DCEU. The film is a must-see in theaters. It has incredible moments of laughter, emotion, and action, with a few minor flaws. I recommend the film and rate it 9 out of 10.

One Comment

  1. Amy Aprile

    Amy Aprile

    March 25, 2019 at 8:19 pm

    Jason Peverett

    Reply

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