Shazam! - Review
Matthew Brady - wrote on 05/07/19
Me a few years ago: "Hey DC, are you trying to f**k this up on purpose? Seriously! What the hell is going on over there."
DC: OK Matt
Me after Shazam: Well, that's more like it.
I've been harsh at DC for awhile now, but for good reasons. I don't want them to fail, it's just that they keep missing the point. However they are listening and improving. If this is the direction DC is taking, then I think it will exciting and ambitious, if done properly.
'Shazam!' is the true hero DC needs right now, right behind 'Wonder Women' for this rocky cinematic universe. It’s fun, light-hearted, funny and embraces the corniness. Although don’t let that trick you into thinking it doesn’t have any serious moments, because when it gets dark, it’s absolutely terrifying and no surprise the director’s previous work are horror movies. Throughout the movie, I would occasionally have flashbacks to Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy.
Not to say it’s a great or perfect movie, as it’s got problems. The visual effects looked pretty good (for the most part), however the other times it either looks out of place or unfinished, like needed more time to polish up. It takes a while for things to get moving in the first act, and not to say it’s dull, just padding along. And that’s really it for issues.
Zachary Levi is an absolute joy to watch as Shazam and the older version of Billy. Levi oozes with charisma and a clear indication from his introduction he was born to play this role. I can’t imagine any other actor in the role than him. There was never a scene where I didn’t buy him as a kid in a man’s body. Asher Angel as Billy Batson also did a great job, especially during the more dramatic scenes, which I thought he performed beautifully. Levi had the comedic elements, while Asher had the emotional elements.
Jack Dylan Grazer is great once again and a promising young star. He can express some much emotion through his face and eyes, despite looking like he’s up to something. The chemistry between him and Levi (and Asher) are dynamic.
Mark Strong plays the main villain Dr. Sivana, which Strong best describes him as “an evil son of a b**ch”. While not the best or the most compelling villain of all time, but at least his motivations are clear and you understand what he’s been through. Heck, the film starts with a young Sivana experiencing a traumatic event that shaped him to be what he is. I can tell Mark Strong was having a blast and he was menacing enough to be a threat.
The other child actors were also pretty good, although some of them took a while to fully grow on me. Once they did, it was good and dandy. Also the foster parents are the sweetest people in the world.
Another thing to mention is how genuinely well written it is. The humor and the punchline to every joke was surprisingly funny, which I didn’t expect judging by how cringe the trailers falsely advert it. I find it compelling that we see Billy learning how to use his given powers step by step, even the end climax he’s still learning. David Sandberg manages to juggle some many themes and tones, but impressively never came off as “too much” or a train wreck that any new director with a background in small budget movies would struggle at.
Still, I can’t believe a movie like “Shazam!” exist in the same universe as the bleak ‘Batman V Superman’ and the third worst thing to happen to America “Suicide Squad”. Even a familiar f̶a̶c̶e̶ shows up at the end.
Overall rating: Just say the name