‘Shazam!’: A wonderfully lighthearted superhero romp


When the first trailer for “Shazam!” dropped, and we saw Zachary Levi in a brightly colored suit flossing on camera, there was plenty of reason to be skeptical. The track record DC Comics movies had also worked against the movie, with only one movie since 2013 getting a ‘Certified Fresh’ rating out of the franchise.

“Shazam!” thankfully breaks the mold, not just for the DC Extended Universe, but also for superhero movies across the board.

Levi plays the magical hero Shazam, while also channeling the 14-year-old Billy Batson (Asher Angel), and Levi is honestly the best part of this movie. In every scene he is in, you can see the behavior and mannerisms that a teenager would have projected through the 38-year-old. Similar to Hugh Jackman as Wolverine and Ryan Reynolds as Deadpool, after seeing Levi on-screen, I can’t picture another actor playing Shazam.

Playing alongside Levi is Jack Dylan Grazer, who portrays Levi’s handicapped foster brother, Freddy Freeman. Grazer and Levi are the main protagonists of the film, and are the only characters that have a real arc throughout. Child actors can definitely make or break a film, but Grazer did an amazing job.

The movie’s antagonist, Dr. Sivana (played by Mark Strong) was motivated by a childhood obsession of obtaining the power of Shazam. Strong never really went beyond the campy super villain character he started as, which I thought was fine. Strong dove headfirst into the role and did fantastic, which isn’t really surprising considering Strong has played the villain role in seemingly every movie he’s ever been in.

Unlike other superhero movies where the plot is the main focus and the humor is complementary to the story, “Shazam!’s” humor is the backbone and focus of the movie. The film doesn’t take itself too seriously, and the script was tight enough to flawlessly mix telling a story with a near constant barrage of jokes.

About a third of the way into the movie, there was a scene where Shazam and Freddy took Billy’s newly obtained powers for a spin, and the three minute montage that follows is absolutely hilarious. That scene segways into problems Freddy is having at school with two bullies, and the movie flows seamlessly between these scenes that have extremely different tones.

There was only one example of an awkward tonal shift in the movie, in a scene toward the beginning that featured Strong and Strong’s father in the boardroom of Sivana Sr.’s company. Without spoiling much, that part of the movie was excellent in its visuals and the fear it provoked, but the scene felt out of place in comparison to the rest of the movie.

The film’s score was the only part of the movie that was unremarkable, however it didn’t stand out as bad. Outside of a few pop songs that were great additions, the music didn’t jump out, but it did what it needed to.

Overall, “Shazam!” is a fantastic movie, and I’m eagerly waiting for when we can see more of Levi on the big screen.

Rating: 4/5 stars