"Shazam" Review

Updated on May 14, 2019
Logan Daniel Williamson profile image

Part-time Film Critic | Graduate Student at Columbia University


Shazam! hits its stride when it goes for the comedy angle. I found myself howling with laughter at several scenes in this movie. It's not a particularly well-made movie by most critical standards. Zachary Levi, Asher Angel, and a breakout performance by Jack Dylan Grazer elevate this film beyond its myriad flaws.

One thing is that Shazam! is a very cheesy film. I am not sure if that is intentional or not, because the bits work about three-quarters of the time. Some of the jokes knocked the wind out of me from laughing so hard. Other times, like a certain overdone jape with St. Nick, the jokes admittedly got a little annoying. I give it latitude in some instances because I think the film is self-aware and tries to poke fun at the superhero genre.

Shazam! is a movie that rewards the ability to mute one's critical faculties and laugh at a goofy film without being too nit-picky about it. However, I found that the poor execution of the film was often distracting and too severe for me to feel comfortable giving it immunity from flak and waiving my critiques.

Mark Strong as the so-called "super-villain" in this film does an OK job. I blame the scriptwriters for a lot of the perplexity that I had regarding his character, Dr. Sivana. His origin begins after a chance meeting with a wizard that he develops a grudge against because the magic-man told him he did not have a "pure enough heart" to harness the powers of Shazam. He also has a deep-seated hatred for his father and brother, because they treated him like the black sheep of the family and told him he would never be "man enough." He then stages his entire life on the premise of wanting to exact revenge on his family, and he has an axe to grind with this sage who didn't let him inherit the mystical abilities of Shazam. I never understood what his motivation was beyond that.

There is a colossal time jump that leaves out the formative years of Sivana's youth and his transition into adulthood and status as a research scientist. He becomes a cold-blooded killer because he has daddy issues, a mean older brother, and a vendetta against a conjurer that slighted him as a child which most people would have written off as a hallucinatory experience. He makes it his mission to seek out Shazam, I assume, because Shazam lusted after his source of power. Still, the Machiavellian approach that Sivana takes to doing this and the flippancy with which he wreaks havoc seems erratic and directionless.

One of the things that continually bothered me was the stark contrast in attitude between the old Shazam and the young Shazam. The old one was a buoyant, lighthearted guy and the young one was dark, brooding and self-serious. I often did not buy into the idea that these two were the same person.

I did not particularly care for the digital craft in this film either. The movie often felt like a head trip, and the demon-monsters looked like amorphous CGI blobs. It sucks that the monsters were integral to the treachery and villainy of this movie, because the effects looked extremely dated in terms of quality.

Again, these are caveats to a laugh-out-loud thrill ride of a film, and I don't want to deter you from seeing it just because I can't suspend my cynicism for two hours and enjoy a movie for what it is.

Rating: 6/10

Questions & Answers

    © 2019 Logan Daniel Williamson


      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment

      No comments yet.


      This website uses cookies

      As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, reelrundown.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

      For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://reelrundown.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

      Show Details
      HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
      LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
      Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
      AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
      Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
      CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
      Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
      Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
      Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
      Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
      ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
      ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)