Words Glenn Blomfield
If I was 14yrs old again, and I saw this movie I would have one hell of a good time, my imagination would run wild with excitment. Put simply, Shazam is a fun movie with lots of humour and heart. At the heart of the film is a young 14 year old teenage boy Billy Batson (Asher Angel). In foster care he has lost his place in the world, been through many adopted families but never felt settled, he is desperate to find his own Mum, and be home with her. Running parallel to this story line is an ancient wizard Shazam who is in search of a new bearer of super hero powers to keep the seven Monster Villains of Sins at bay, and save the Human Race from its demise. These two story lines converge and Billy becomes that superhero which can turn into a muscle bound adult at will, with super powers to save the world.
Shazam is a movie that at first has a lot of fun, the kids in the film, feel like they are from an era of films made in the 1980’s, which we are now seeing in rival for example NETFLIX ‘Stranger Things’, or with the feature film like ‘Super 8′, that feel of a Steven Spielberg film. The Director David F. Sandberg is taking glee at the feeling of being a teenage boy again. Imagine if your super power was being a kid that can be a adult and a super hero, you are definitely going to have fun, and do some irresponsible things. Visit a strip club for example. But of course with being irresponsible comes the lesson of learning responsibility of your actions, and the importance of people around you. Billy has a side kick, another teenage boy Freddy (Jack Dylan Grazer) they met in the new foster home, he helps Billy discover what powers he has, experimenting with things like X-rays eyes, being invisible, shooting lightening bolts from his hands, able to buy beer at the liquor store, important things like that. There is an urgency to gain control of these new found powers, as he must face the evil villain Dr Thaddeus Sivana (Mark Strong) and his band of evil villain monsters.
The villain side of the film Shazam, feels the weakest element, as the true heart of the film is the story of Billy and the foster kids in the new home he is living in. What it’s like being a kid without adults or parents in your life as a role model, then being able to be an adult yourself and a super hero to boot. Family comes more important, and that can be made with the people around you, and who care for each other. So the villain side of things can feel like an add on, like you cant have a Super hero movie without the token bad guy doing evil things against man kind. SHAZAM works well as an origin story, and will certainly have success with sequels to come.
I am not a big fan of Super Hero films, but I definitely had a lot of fun and entertainment with Shazam, the film means well, and it has the ability to be not too schmaltzy and just enough heart to win you over. The humour may get a bit low brow and ridiculous but the majority is a winning formula. A surprise treat, Shazam has given a lift to the DC universe which has tended to be on the darker side of drama. Adults can go in to this film and capture what it feels like to be teenager again, and be entertain at the movie with imagination, adventure and fun, you also just may learn a few things along away like the importance of family, and at heart what it is to be young, and not lose that feeling.