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Review: Shazam!

Poster image of Warner Bros. Pictures' SHAZAM

Although many have lost faith in the DCEU, I think the desire Warner Bros. to keep everything moving forward is beginning to look like a wise move. It started with Aquaman. While it isn’t what I would consider a good movie, it made a bunch of money internationally and signaled an obvious change in tone and direction. The next step in this change comes in the form of Shazam!. In order to keep this going in the right direction, they kind of need this movie to hit. I don’t know how much money it will make, but after seeing it, I’m able to say that it’s a movie that’s hard not to enjoy.

We follow Billy Batson (Asher Angel), a 14-year-old foster kid finding his way in life. He’s had trouble throughout his entire existence, but things seemingly change once an ancient wizard (Djimon Hounsou) offers him a chance to possess superpowers. After he accepts, Billy is handed some special abilities by simply shouting SHAZAM! and turning into an adult version of himself (Zachary Levi). With his newly found confidence and his otherworldly powers, it seems as if things couldn’t better for the kid. It’s only when his newly found fame attracts members of the wrong side of the law that he begins to realize that great responsibility comes with all of his recent gains.

Not only is Shazam! offering its viewers an entertaining time at the theater, it’s also easily the best movie to come out of the DCEU so far. Based on the trailers, I couldn’t see that as being possible, but this is one of those cases where the movie definitively outdoes what was advertised beforehand. The one thing that I got from those trailers was that there was some personality here. Obviously, that’s important, but it would need more than that to succeed.

Well, this movie does have more than just a significant upgrade in personality. While it has personality and character oozing out of its pores thanks to some wise casting choices, it also works on a comedic level whenever it needs too. They take the protagonist and use him to supply both while also placing plenty of spirited characters around him that prove to greatly assist in bringing everything throughout the film to life.

The story that we’re here for is rather simplistic and precise. It even manages to disappear from the screen for a bit. This could be seen as a negative in many instances, but that’s not the case here since the characters that they rely on are so good at carrying the movie when we step away from the main story. Whenever that happens, we’re just watching certain characters on-screen have fun. In these moments, you won’t lose interest in what you’re getting even if you notice it’s a bit aimless at times.

The only thing that I could perceive as being a significant issue to some is that it’s a little longer than it needed to be due to an ending that extends further than it maybe should have. Because it’s not horrible and it doesn’t take the movie down much, I didn’t really mind it all that much. Other than that, most of the other things that people may not like are small and mostly inconsequential. With that being the case, I doubt too many people will be bothered by this stuff. You’ll likely just be one of many who decide to sit back and relish in all of the improvements that are here and might be coming to the DCEU.

I don’t know how much of a financial success Shazam! will be, but I do know that it’s the kind of cinematic experience that Warner Bros. has probably been hoping to give to fans for a couple of years now. Hopefully, they can take what they have here and build on it. If they’re able to do that, we could have a whole new universe ready to flourish. Who knows what’s in store in the future, but if they keep this up, nobody will be talking about all of their failures in the past. At this point, that’s a drastic improvement in itself.

Rating: PG-13

Director: David F. Sandberg

Cast:
Zachary Levi
Mark Strong
Asher Angel
Jack Dylan Grazer
Djimon Hounsou
Faithe Herman
Grace Fulton
Ian Chen
Jovan Armand
Marta Milans
Cooper Andrews

Film Length: 125 minutes

Release Date: April 5, 2019

Distributor: Warner Bros. Pictures

  • 7.5/10
    Score - 7.5/10
7.5/10
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