SHAZAM Review - Not Horrible, But..

SHAZAM Review - Not Horrible, But..

Shazam! stars Zachary Levi, Mark Strong, Asher Angel and is directed by David F. Sandberg (Annabelle: Creation, Lights Out). The film runs 2 hours and 12 minutes and it has two end-credits scenes.

I gotta say, for the first time in a long time, I don't agree with the IMDb score... but more on that later.


Shazam starts out showing us a young boy getting tested to become Shazam, but fails miserably in his greed for the tease of easy power. We'll see him later as the evil Dr. Sivana (Strong). We then pop in to today and get introduced to Billy Batson (Angel) - He spends his free time trying to find his birth mother, while he's also getting put in his umpteenth foster home.

A bit later Batson ends up saving his foster brother from some youthful A-holes and finds himself mystically transported to a magical cave and given the power of Shazam by a dying wizard (Djimon Hounsou).

From there we watch him try to figure out who or what he is and what his powers are. Of course, Dr. Sivana wants his powers for himself, but what's truly happening is that he's been harboring the seven deadly sins, and THEY want the power.

But Shazam has not honed his talents and finds himself getting his ass handed to him all over the place. But of course, good has to triumph over evil, no matter what or how many it takes.


Where do I start?

The trailers have pretty much taken most of the steam of story discovery out of the opening first act of the film, so my interest needed to wait until act two to rev up.

As a film about a foster child trying to find himself and what the premise of family is about, this is a great film. It was nearly the backbone of the film for me.

As a film about Shazam, well, it's not the Shazam I grew up watching or reading. In my memories, Shazam was a different person altogether, not a fifteen-year-old boy in a man's body trying sort out what to do with himself.

Aside from the sarcastic ass humor of Deadpool, I'm not sure I like the over-the-top comedic efforts from DC. They don't do humor often, but when they inject it, it sort of lands flat.

Remember,  "SHAZAM!" is an acronym for having the powers of the six "immortal elders" Solomon (wisdom), Hercules (strength), Atlas (stamina), Zeus (power of), Achilles (courage), and Mercury (speed). Yet we don't get much wisdom, though the speed and strength were evidenced easily.

We also see how Billy Batson is dark and mistrusting, while the alter-ego of Shazam is doofy and very different from who he should be.

With Shazam, the pre-teen humor mode gets old pretty fast as this superhero is like no other. The jokes were cute but not new, and repeated an awful lot throughout the first two acts until the crap hits the fan and Shazam pulls out a win for the good guys.

But he can't do it alone and it's a bit of a shocker and let down to see who he gets to help him. (Did anyone see this coming? If you look at the character's past, I'd say no but they went there any way.)


IMDb users gave the film a 7.8/10 and Rotten Tomatoes critics gave it 91%. I think people are just happy to see a DC film not being dark and boring. So the general audience must have enjoyed the boy-turned-superhero story more than I did.

Shazam was part fun and part boring, even in act three as the bad guy gets the expected beat down. There was also quite a bit of product placement for Batman and Superman in the film.  And too bad Henry Cavil pulled out being Superman (You'll get that reference if/when you see the film).

Shazam didn't suck, but watching Levi try to act like a 15-yr-old boy in an adult body didn't catch my attention. Apparently I like my heroes more dark and serious with properly peppered humor. In Shazam, the threat was more about Shazam than to humanity with humanity getting caught up in the battle debris.

I don't feel like I wasted my money, but I did find myself fidgeting in my seat rather than being riveted by the story, developments or action on the screen.



Did you know that Shazam used to be called Captain Marvel, before Marvel Comics had a Captain Marvel? And in it's early days in the 40s, Captain Marvel totally outsold Superman titles? This online piece is a fascinating read...

The tale of the Captain Marvel lawsuits through the years.


If you've seen the movie already, you'll love this Pitch Meeting video...

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