Movie Review: ‘Shazam!’ is a humorous and heartfelt win for the DCEU

Shazam! is the 2nd of 6 superhero movies to be released in 2019. The market is becoming oversaturated with a new superhero movie coming out every other month. Many (myself sort of included) are getting fatigued by the constant releases and feel the films are becoming stale. However, every so often a superhero film comes out with an unique voice and perspective to tell a larger than life tale. Shazam! does this very well.

Billy Batson is the main protagonist, a troubled, smart-talking, delinquent who has been in and out of foster home for almost all his life after he was lost as a young child. His life is changed forever when an aging wizard gives Billy his powers. Now, whenever Billy says the magic word “Shazam” he turns into Shazam, an adult superhero who can fly, lift cars, and control electricity.

Zachary Levi plays the superhero version of Billy. Most well known for playing Chuck on the show Chuck and Flynn Rider from Tangled, Levi does a great job with the role, nailing both the physicality and humor. He’s immature, childish, and Levi plays it perfectly. He is completely inept with his powers and has absolutely no idea how to use them in a responsible manner. That is where Freddy Freeman comes in, Billy’s handicapped Foster brother. Jack Dylan Grazer, well known for his role in the 2017 reboot of IT brings his honed comedic timing and makes the character incredibly endearing.

Freddy knows everything there is to know about superheroes. He teaches Billy about his powers, which leads to an especially humorous montage of Billy testing out his newfound powers. He does just about everything you’d expect a teenager with superpowers to do. He signs his friends out of school while in hero form, he buys beer, he zaps his schoolbooks out of the sky with lightning bolts, and more. It is all extremely entertaining and hilarious, but it also gives a great message about the importance of using the gifts you have been given responsibly (similar to Spider-Man).

Director David F Sanberg and his team bring a lot of life to the film with scenes and shots full of striking lighting and camera movement. Each swirl pan and zoom is well executed and adds variety to the film’s visual language. The action is vibrant and the editors always make it easy to tell what is happening in the frame.

Despite all the funny dialogue and large scale superhero antics, Shazam! is a story about family, more specifically, finding an unexpected family and learning to accept your family. Billy’s new family is full of wonderful side characters from the kind parents Victor and Maria, to the adorable younger sister Darla. Each character leaves his or her own mark on the film and has a moment to shine.

Shazam! is a great time at the theater. The laughter was so loud at my screening I couldn’t hear dialogue after punchlines. It is full of fun, humorous, and heartfelt moments, and has everything I expect from a movie like this. But, it still deviates enough from other films in the genre to be different and unique. I highly recommend checking out Shazam! when it opens in theaters on April 6th.

⭐️⭐️⭐️ 1/2 /5