Shazam!: DC universe improves with latest comic installment

April 23, 2019

Any superhero fan has dreamed to be one at some point – to suddenly have superpowers, fight evil, and save the world. In Billy Batson’s case, by shouting out one word – “Shazam!” – a streetwise, fourteen-year-old foster kid can turn into the adult superhero, Shazam.

Billy revels in the new version of himself by doing what any other teen would do, having fun while testing out his new powers. But he’ll need to master them quickly to defeat the evil Dr. Thaddeus Sivana.

Considering the angst of most previous DC-based films, this one is downright adorable, despite occasional moments of darkness.

The antagonist, played by Mark Strong, was thoroughly disappointing from both his boring backstory and confusing motivations. Dr. Sivana had the ability to control the Seven Deadly Sins, grotesque animations attempting to be horrifying but laughable, not in a good way.  

The script comes off as clunky and unoriginal. There were multiple attempts at humor that anticipated huge laughs but only got a few chuckles. The storyline started off slow and remained slow, which had audience members frequently checking their watches.

This DC-Comics-adaptation swoops in with the surprising amount of heart thanks to its charismatic lead and saving grace, Zachary Levi. He acts as a jumpy Labrador Retriever, and he believably shifts from enthusiastic, to slightly selfish, to embracing the mantle of responsibility.

However, his younger self (Asher Angel) was completely opposite, being portrayed as a misunderstood teen. The performances could have been in sync a little bit more, so you could feel like this was two sides of the same person.

Shazam! felt like it was trying too hard to entertain audience members. However, it is a definite improvement from other DC-Comic adaptations with its humor and childhood fantasy.

Rating: 6 out of 10

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