Shazam! (2019) Movie Review

details
Title: Shazam!.
Universe: Worlds of DC.
Rated: PG-13.
Director: David F. Sandberg.
Screenplay: Henry Gayden.
Story: Henry Gayden & Darren Lemke.
Release Date: 2019.
Runtime: 132 min.
Genre(s): Action, Adventure, Comedy.
Cast: Zachary Levi, Mark Strong, Asher Angel, and many more!
Budget: $100,000,000.
Opening Weekend: $53,505,326.
Gross USA: $140,371,656.
My Overall Rating: ★★★★★★★★☆☆ (8/10).

thoughts

Originally known as Captain Marvel before being rebranded as Shazam following legal issues with Fawcett Publications, this adult alter-ego to the fourteen-year-old Billy Batson appears whenever the magic word “SHAZAM” is spoken out loud. With superhuman abilities, this hero is every kid’s dream come true and offers us a glimpse into the mind of a man-child who discovers his responsibilities the hard way. Although the 2019 movie was a pleasant surprise for many, it encountered plenty of issues during production, leading to countless delays and rewrites. Although Dwayne Johnson will take on the role of Black Adam in a future DC movie, his character was almost featured in Shazam! and could’ve led to an unnecessarily rushed story arc. Fortunately for fans, Shazam! turned out to be a gem among the plethora of superhero movies being released nowadays.

What is Shazam! (2019) about? Loosely based on writer Geoff Johns’ Shazam! that offered a modernized origin story for this superhero, the movie kicks off by introducing the ancient and weakened wizard Shazam, searching for a worthy new champion who is pure of heart to take on the mantle and assure that the previously-defeated Seven Deadly Sins do not wreak havoc upon the world ever again. While the young Thaddeus Sivana fails this test as a young child, he later grows up blind with a corrupt desire to reenter the portal dimension and claim the powers of Shazam that he sincerely believes is due to him. Meanwhile, foster child Billy Baston is off on his wild shenanigans, searching for his birth mother as he continuously moves from one family to another with no place to call home. It’s when he’s snatched from his reality to take on Shazam’s trial that he is given the ability to become an adult superhero with a single magic word.

Image result for shazam! gif

Still set within the “Worlds of DC” cinematic universe, Shazam! offers the world a family-oriented superhero movie that stands out in its comedic tone and revitalizing joyfulness. Characterized as Tom Hanks’ Big with superpowers, the movie offers a heartwarming and enchanting coming-of-age story by looking at the theme of family and outdoing itself in its humourous execution. Without repeating more of the same, Shazam! looked to hit the refresh button on the superhero genre as it remains light and innocent without venturing in the gloomy and gory. Not only does it serve as a wonderful origin story for the hero, while adding himself to the roster of heroes that have so far shown all their colours, with Batman, Superman, Aquaman and Wonder Woman, it also looked to remain self-contained with a single theme of family serving as its foundation.

The direction the movie take is somewhat predictable but the execution allowed it to deliver an entertaining and sincere movie. Billy Baston only had one goal in his life and it was always to find his mother, despite all the obstacles put in his way. While those around him, including his new foster family, fruitlessly try and help him acclimate to his new environment, trust issues instantly arise. All he could see was more people he’d have to disappoint, more people he’d have to waste his time with until he could finally go back to his mother. Once he gets his hands on Shazam’s powers, there’s a whole sequence of self-discovery, not only to figure out what he can now effortlessly accomplish but also what he wants to do with his new life and powers. It’s this learning curve set in the modern technology-heavy world that promises such a good time in his adventure as a superhero.

Image result for shazam! gif

The movie doesn’t rely too much on action scenes but the final act does give fans the perfect teaser to what this character’s world is all about. Throughout the movie, there’s also a very contained and diligent use of CGI that keeps it cinematographically-tamed. In fact, only the Seven Deadly Sins required full-out CGI and they weren’t ever distracting, albeit a bit horrific in their design and actions. It is, however, worth mentioning that director David F. Sandberg brilliantly juggles both the childish nature of this hero as well as the risks and dangers he could run into. The chemistry and the banter between the kids are, honestly, pure and hilarious, and couldn’t have been done better, considering how many they were. I mean, for someone who directed horror movies like Lights Out and Annabelle: Creation, this turned out to be a fantastic exposition of his directorial talents. In fact, most of the emotional sequences in the movie are solicited through human behaviours and can be highlighted in the motives of every character. Does it mean that Mark Strong’s portrayal of Sivana gave us an incredibly original and impressive villain? Absolutely not. However, this antagonist served as an excellent threat to Shazam’s first adventure without ever overshadowing him.

Now, all that’s left is to establish if Shazam! can now be considered a Christmas movie.

Shazam! (2019) is a colourful and heartfelt coming-of-age story of a man-boy and his search for a place to call home.


EXHIBITA

Shazam! 2 is currently being developed and will continue young Billy Batson’s adventure in his newfound family.

Have you read any Shazam! comics?
Have you seen Shazam! (2019)? What did you think about it?
Share your thoughts with me!

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46 comments

  • Yet to watch this movie but I hope I will, soon. 😀 (As soon as it comes on prime video, that is 😂😂) And there’s Zachary Levi in the lead so… 😍

    Liked by 2 people

  • Okay anything called Shazam and I’m out of here… but then Lashaan decided to review this surely stupid college movie so I decided I would see if you somehow had morphed into a totally different dude. And I find a cute and adorably funny family movie!! WHAT?! You are no longer my violence loving friend!! Hahaha great review!! You totally sold me and the trailer even doubled my desire to see Shazam (still a really stupid name…)

    Liked by 2 people

  • Once this goes to bluray/dvd and our library picks it up AND the waiting list is reasonable, I’ll probably watch it. If I watch it around Christmas time, will that be enough to make it a Christmas movie? 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  • I remember the Shazam and Isis Power Hour live-action tv show from Saturday mornings.’Traveling the highways and byways,’
    Too bad a terrorist organization usurped her name.
    I did not have any interest in seeing this, but your review and the charming teaser changed my mind.
    Happy Trails!

    Liked by 1 person

  • I’ve seen it and I’ve enjoyed it. A cute, light movie with a few laughs. However, as your stars say – it was nothing THAT special.
    What makes a movie a Christmas one? If it has Christmas trees, snow, hot cocoa and ice skating in it then it definitely is. However, I am the kind of person who does not care about seasons. Ice cream tastes as good in the winter as it does during summer. I like watching ANY movie around Christmas time and I’ve watched Christmas movies in May before.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Your description “Like Tom Hank’s ‘Big’ with superpowers” was accurate and amusing! 😂 I think this has been one of my favourite super hero movies of 2019. How did you Shazam compared to Spider-Man Homecoming? Both being movies that have a somewhat younger superhero, and generally more comedic arc.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hahhah it really had that idea at its core! 😂 Like I’ve mentioned, it’s not an ambitious movie with crazy ideas. It takes things we’ve seen before and delivers something fun. As a huge fan of Spider-Man (my favourite MARVEL hero), I did appreciate it a lot for its portrayal of a young Peter Parker, with a sense of humour that works well with the character. I did do a review for it way back then too, if you’re ever curious to know more. I did final that ending was a bit accelerated too. What I like with Shazam is that it doesn’t just explore a kid in a man’s body but also a kid who’s trying to fit into a new family (or the other way around). It’s oriented around the idea of exploring family than friendship too.

      Liked by 1 person

  • Spot-on review my friend and you make a very good point about the fact this should actually be a Christmas movie which it absolutely should be! I’m glad you had fun with this, I was onboard as soon as Zachary Levi was cast and having previously read the Geoff Johns/Gary Frank New 52 story I had an idea of what to expect and it is exactly what it needed to be – a fun, heartwarming and often magical superhero adventure. It’s a shame it didn’t perform better at the box office but given the size of the budget and the positive critical reviews it shouldn’t hurt the chances of the sequel getting green-lit.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’d definitely prioritize it as a Christmas Holiday rewatch since I always make it a tradition to revisit Christmas-themed movies around that period without celebrating that day in particular! And yes, I was honestly convinced it was going to flop but I’m glad it proved everyone wrong. I’m still sad that the Worlds of DC universe is a bit messy at the moment. I can’t tell if the upcoming movies (Birds of Prey, Suicide Squad 2, Shazam 2, etc.) have a plan or not right now…

      Like

        • Yep and with the casting announcement recently, SS2 sounds… explosive… I’m scared about what the next Batman movie will be like though. There are so many villain rumours being thrown around, and rumours on what comic book stories it’ll be based on… I just hope they don’t try and do too much in just one movie…

          P.S. Do you have any idea why volume 10 of the Detective Comics series hasn’t yet been announced (the collected edition)? I’m postponing my reading and my review of it until they confirm what issues are contained in it and I find it odd that they still haven’t released anything about it…

          Like

          • Man, I completely trust the director for Batman as he delivered those incredible Planet of the Apes films. I think it could work depending on how the various villains are utilised and to what degree.

            Just checked and the next Detective volume has been announced, except it’s not volume 10 instead they’re reverting to volume 1 (titled “Arkham Knight”) and putting it out in hardcover as it’s a new run (Tomasi’s). They seem to do that, I see it’s the same with the new Aquaman run.

            Curiously there’s no release date showing on Amazon. DC have started a troubling trend of cancelling collected releases, I was annoyed about the cancellation of the new edition of Absolute Dark Knight Returns which I’d pre-ordered.

            Liked by 1 person

            • I saw that volume but then I also found Detective Comics: Mythology and both of those volumes seems to collect different issues… A bit annoying to not know what’s the final product and what issues are collected for sure. And man, that definitely sucks… I’ve seen a lot of collected editions get delayed too. Quite a volatile market.

              Liked by 1 person

  • I enjoyed it, though I felt it neither here nor there: some scenes were too scary for kids, some themes tackled in a way proper for seven-year-olds, but not for teenagers. It was as if the creators had totally forgotten what it is to be a kid 😛
    And yes, I felt Strong’s talent was wasted on Sivana. But the chemistry between the kids was there, and Levi pulled his weight here. I’d probably go more for 6/10, but hey – it’s me, and I don’t even like the Shazam character 😉

    Liked by 1 person

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