…Spoilers ahead (Sorry not sorry)!!
This week I was visiting an old friend, and we decided to go on a spontaneous trip to the cinema. We got to the cinema and saw that Shazam had started ten minutes ago; perfect! We’ve missed the boring adverts and just caught the film trailers… Now I don’t know much about the DCEU, I’ll admit; I’ve watched Teen Titans Go! on Amazon Prime Video, and Titans on Netflix… And that’s it. Yep, you read that right. No Aquaman, no Batman and no Superman! (Judge me later). I’ve just always sorta immersed myself in the Marvel side of superheros… But Shazam was there, and it was convenient, so off we went…
Firstly I want to say all the child actors in this are perfect, like so good! Now we all know that child actors can be hit or miss, some can be seriously terrible (I’m looking at you Harry Potter trio)… But the kids in this were honestly great, not wooden not forced not over dramatic, just great! Shazam is like a coming of age story, an origin story and a comedy all mixed up in one. We start the film basically learning the origin of our supervillain, get introduced to some aged wizard that bangs on about purity of heart and soul, and get introduced to the rather ugly seven deadly sins. It’s all pretty generic and obvious at this point.
We are then introduced to Billy Bastion next (Asher Angel) – He’s a kid in the foster care system that keeps running away because he’s trying to find his Mum; they were separated at a theme park when he was younger, and he truly believes she just couldn’t find him… Instantly as an adult you know that simply can’t be true… It would have been as easy as turning up to the police station for her. It’s a good plot mechanic though because you feel sympathy towards Billy and makes you want to like him, and he is a likeable character for the most part.
Billy is sent as a sort of last hope to a group foster home run by two ex Foster children. This is where you’re introduced to what you know will be important characters post origin story – There’s Freddy (Jack Dylan Grazer), Darla (Faithe Herman) who is my number one absolute favourite character she is so sweet, Mary (Grace Fulton) Eugene (Ian Chen) and Pedro (Jovan Armand). Billy is bunked in with Freddy who is absolutely obsessed with superheroes, which is convenient and good news for Billy moving… So fast forward a little bit, and Billy is transported to the magical wizard lair as you knew he would be, after the evil Dr Sivana (Mark Strong) has come in, wrecked the place, and unleashed the sins. The wizard’s role up to this point can be boiled down to “I tried to find someone pure of heart, but don’t have time, so you’ll do – You’re now the saviour of the universe”… There’s a bit of back and forth and reluctance, but Billy takes the wizard’s powers and becomes Shazam (Zachary Levi)!
What follows is pretty much the scenes you’d expect from a child stuck in an adult’s body, and all of a sudden I’m a superhero. These are honestly some of my favourite in the whole movie – I love the scenes where he’s trying to work out what superpowers he has along with the help of Freddy, who seems to have no real regard for whether he may actually hurt Billy (aka asking thugs to shoot him in the face and secretly setting him on fire). Eventually, Billy finds his Mum with the help of the other foster kids, and it’s as expected… She isn’t interested (I anticipate that it’s not the last we see of her). Wait what?!
…But unfortunately, we then move into what was my least favourite bit of the film. The big bad guy fight. Obviously Billy being a child and all, hasn’t prepared for the fact that he got these powers for a reason. He didn’t listen to the wizard and he’s just kinda decided to just… Mess about, as you would. Dr Sivana basically comes after him and his family, and theres a big, old, long, drawn-out fight scene. The effects are good and it’s visually pleasing, but it’s just not snappy enough for me. I don’t like the way it flows, and it kinda seems to last a LOOOONNNGGG time… But this is made up for in the last stretch of the film, where something major happens (I won’t spoil this) and it becomes interesting again.
The film overall is visually pleasing. It has a broad sense of humour and I think it blends it’s source genres really well – Origin stories I feel always have the opportunity to drag a bit, and unfortunately that does happen at points… However the humour in the film really makes up for it. I think it’s appealing to both adults and children, and actually makes a really good family film. This is 100% a film I would suggest for a family Saturday movie night!
I’d rate it a: