PG-13 | 2h 12min | Action, Adventure, Comedy | 5 April 2019 (USA)
Synopsis: We all have a superhero inside us, it just takes a bit of magic to bring it out. In Billy Batson’s case, by shouting out one word – SHAZAM. – this streetwise fourteen-year-old foster kid can turn into the grown-up superhero Shazam.
Review: The latest DC Superhero to hit the big screen is certainly the most entertaining even if the least action packed. SHAZAM focuses more on the heart of the character with a story that is family driven. Sure there is a bad guy and a final show down but it feels more like Saturday morning TV than epic blockbuster. That is a compliment by the way. SHAZAM has its strong points and uses them perfectly. It is a whole lot of fun for sure!
Fourteen year old Billy Batson (Asher Angel) has moved from foster home to foster home in search of the mother who abandoned him when he was three. The thought of family and home is something he closed off a long time ago. He is a street smart loner who lives by self preservation. When a wizard (Djimon Hounsou) chooses him as champion of good to take on an evil force looking to destroy the world Billy has to only say the word SHAZAM and he becomes an adult – word used lightly – superhero (Zachary Levi).
Much of the humor comes from the concept of a 14 year old in a grown up super hero form. At first Billy is only concerned with what he can gain from such power. As any teenager would in that situation. He knows very little about the super hero world and relies on Freddie (Jack Dylan Grazer) – another teen in his new foster home – to help him discover his full potential. Even that relationship gets shaken by Billy’s selfishness. But soon they have to come together as a team and family to defeat the evil Dr. Thaddeus Sivana (Mark Strong).
Unlike The Dark Knight and Man of Steel all of the angst and drama in this one is very light hearted without a hint of dark brooding. You understand Billy and his plight but at the same time the humor and surrounding diffuse the situation. The movie is very funny and the characters comedic. The theme of family is very prominent and there are moments when you may shed a small tear if you aren’t careful.
Grazer is fantastic in this one as the nerdy sidekick. Freddie has been picked on his whole life – without ever letting it get him completely down – and having a new foster brother and a super hero friend is a dream come true. Levi may be a grown up but certainly knows how to be a kid at heart. He nails the teen in a mans body persona so perfectly that you sometimes forget he is acting.
The effects and story line are strong and much of the film is Freddie and Shazam goofing around. Once the final battle comes it is timely and the perfect length. No spoilers here so I wont mention too much of what transpires only to say that again it elevates the family dynamic wonderfully.
SHAZAM! is rated PG-13 for intense sequences of action, language, and suggestive material. There is very little in this film to be offended by and most of the potty humor jokes would fly by your younger viewers. It is a fantastic tween film and one to enjoy with the whole family. Plus there are some solid concepts of friendship that might just get us all to think about what we have.