Warner Bros. Pictures opens its sixth movie in the DC Expanded Universe on April 5th, and we have your early spoiler-free review on the newest superhero: “Shazam!”
After the unsuccessful screen adaptations of Suicide Squad, Justice League, and Batman v. Superman, many DC comic fans have been anxiously awaiting to see the next era of the DC Expanded Universe. Warner Bros. Pictures, in partnership with DC Comics, is bringing “Shazam!” to the silver screen for the first time. How does movie stand up in comparison to the other DCEU standalone films? In this movie review, I cover plot, characters, and visual fx of the film.
Disclaimer: This is not an opinion-free review. While this review does not contain spoilers for the overall film, I allude to particular scenes and plot points in my overall evaluation of the film. Continue at your own risk.
From the beginning of the film all the way to the end, Shazam does not disappoint with its comedic moments and intense battle scenes. The film follows the main storyline of the New 52 arch in the comic but makes a few changes of course. One of the big things to note about this film is that this movie is set in a world that already knows about superheroes. What I mean by this is everyone knows who Batman, Superman, Wonderwoman, and Aquaman are at this point and are even praised and admired. With this being the backdrop for the movie it adds this layer of depth to Shazams character as he now has to learn how to be a superhero in a world where superheroes already exist. This isn’t necessarily bad at all as seen by Freddy’s character, Freddy is one of Billy Batson’s new foster family members, who helps Billy understand what superpowers he has and what it takes to be a superhero. Speaking of other superhero’s you can see nods to the other DC superheroes all around this movie, especially in Freddy’s room where he has a replica Batarang and an authentic bullet that has ricocheted off of Superman. We also get a hilarious moment in the film and in the trailer where Shazam is running from the bad guy and grabs a Batman doll and throws it at him screaming “Get him, Batman!” Overall, while this film may not be the best that the DCEU has to offer, that goes to Wonderwoman of course, it’s not disappointing and worth a watch.
This film would be nothing without the large cast of fun and interesting characters that appear throughout Billy’s adventure. Speaking of Billy, Billy Batson who is played by Asher Angel gives us an amazing portrayal of the character who can be fun and witty and one point but can also be engulfed in solace especially when it comes to his foster family. His foster family is made up of a bunch of quirky individuals who each have their best intentions for Billy especially Darla (Faithe Herman) and Freddy (Jack Dylan Grazer) who you will come to love. You can’t discuss characters without talking about Shazam after all the movie is named after him who is played by Zachary Levi and is the best casting Decision DC and Warner Bros. Pictures could make. He is fun and charismatic and is able to capture the naive innocence of a 15-year-old trapped in an adult superhero body. Along with the super side of this film, Mark Strong plays the bad guy, Dr. Sivana, who is all kinds of evil. We meet Strong’s character as a boy who is wronged one faithful day and spends the rest of his life trying to get back at life. Stong’s portrayal of this character is dark and menacing and is a perfect counter to Levi’s Shazam. Shazam and Dr. Sivana are perfect opposing forces that adds a lot of rich moments to the film.
The visual art in this film is also one of the aspects that makes this a must see when it releases in theaters in a few weeks. If you want a comparison, this movie does a better CGI job than Marvel Studios Captain Marvel did especially when it comes to flying superheroes. For the majority of the film, the CGI that is done to the villans and when Shazam is flying is very believable. Of course, the whole movie isn’t CGI and some of the set pieces are also incredibly well done.
All in all, “Shazam!” breathes new life into the DC Expanded Universe. After the success of this film and Aquaman, the future looks bright for DCEU movies.
Make sure to head over to the theater to see “Shazam!”, April 5th, 2019.