'Shazam!' Film Review
The newest DC film to hit theaters is finally here! After word got out that early test screenings of the film were very successful, I got excited. DC's best films have definitely been their solo films, with Wonder Woman and Aquaman both being commercial and box office successes. Shazam! also looked to be goofier than any DC film we have gotten so far. But what is the verdict?
Shazam! is indeed goofy, but in the best way possible. The film manages to mix comedy and intensity together very well. It also doesn't take itself too seriously, aiding its ability to make the audience laugh. In fact, unlike other superhero films that try to be funny, most of the comedy in Shazam! lands. I think this is the most fun I've had at a DC film yet.
The best part about this film has got to Zachary Levi's portrayal of the hero who happens to be a young boy in the body of a grown man. From what I have gathered, Levi is like a big kid in real life, so he fits the role perfectly. The entire cast, actually, is very good. The foster home young Billy resides in is full of interesting characters that are all unique to themselves. The best by far, however, is Jack Dylan Grazer as Freddy Freeman. The chemistry between him and Asher Angel (young Billy Batson), as well as Levi, is what makes this film work.
Mark Strong plays the villain of the film, a man by the name of Thaddeus Sivana. The beginning of the movie introduces him and his story, helping the audience understand his future connection between him and Shazam. Mark Strong is a great actor, and I had no doubt that he would do a great job in the role. The best part about him, in my opinion, is that he isn't a big CGI baddy that DC has been prone to use in the past. While the movie does have some CGI characters (I won't get into spoilers), the final battle isn't a huge mess of computer-generated barf thrown at your face. Wonder Woman, one of the best films in the DCEU (or Worlds of DC now, I guess) even suffered from that problem.
This is the part of my review that will contain spoilers. If you don't want spoilers, skip to the next section of the review. You have been warned.
The film does a great job at establishing the universe it is in. While references to other DC films and characters are EVERYWHERE, it doesn't feel as if it is shoving it in our face.
So, what does this film do to set up the future of the DCEU? First, it sets up a future team in the "Shazamily". In order to defeat the villain, Shazam turns all of his foster siblings into different members of the Shazam family. I highly suggest looking them up on the internet and reading more about them. They are quite interesting. This team could possibly show up in the future, maybe in a sequel.
There is also, of course, a mid-credit scene and a post-credit. The post-credit scene is there to poke fun at Aquaman, which could set up a future relationship between him and Shazam. The mid-credit scene, however, could also be very important. In it, we see Dr. Sivana scribbling symbols on the walls of his prison cell. These symbols are seen earlier in the movie and aided Sivana in his search for Shazam and the Rock of Eternity. We then hear a voice talking about magic and seven realms. The voice is coming from a talking caterpillar by the name of Mr. Mind. In the comics, Mr. Mind is the leader of a villain group calling themselves "the Monster Society of Evil". Could this team show up in a future DC film being aided by Sivana and his knowledge of magic? I guess we will have to wait and see.
The Best DCEU Film Yet?
Shazam! could possibly be my favorite DCEU film yet, but I'll have to rewatch Wonder Woman before I can determine. It pokes fun at the superhero genre. It doesn't take itself too seriously. It has a good message and delivers it very well. With the perfect cast of characters and the perfect mix of comedy and intensity, this movie will definitely stand out as one of the best movies of the year for me. I think I even enjoyed this movie more than Captain Marvel, and I am a huge Marvel fanboy.
Shazam! is an awesome time and definitely worth seeing in theaters. It brings joy to my heart to see that DC is taking a step in the right direction. Although I love Marvel more, I do love DC, and it excites me to see that they are finally pleasing the fans with their content. Here's to hoping that they stay on this track. I am going to give Shazam! a 9/10. I highly recommend it, even if you are getting tired of the superhero genre. It's very different from the superhero films I have seen recently, and that's definitely a plus.
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© 2019 Benjamin Wollmuth