Shazam is a superhero film directed by David F. Sandberg, it is the 7th instalment in the DCEU. The plot follows Billy Batson (Asher Angel), a young foster kid who has spent most of his life trying to find his biological mum after she abandoned him at a fair. One day an old wizard calls upon Billy to take up the mantel of Shazam (Zachery Levi), and stop the evil that the 7 Deadly Sins have bought into the world, as well as defeat evil scientist Dr. Thaddeus Sivana (Mark Strong).
Of all the DC Comics heroes Shazam is probably the one that I am the least familiar with, as such it was neat to learn his origin story. I think the story choice of having Billy be a foster kid that constantly runs away from foster homes to look for his mum, who he believes is the only family he needs, only to have it turn out that his mum deliberately abandoned him is an inspired choice. This choice was surprisingly dark for a family film and I appreciated that. What’s more this gave the moment when Billy finally excepts his foster family far more emotional weight.
As anyone who has ever seen Chuck can tell you Zachery Levi might be the most charming man on the planet, he was great in the Thor films though he only had a small part and he is terrific here in a larger superhero role. He perfectly captures the Big mentality, being a kid’s brain in the body of a grown man, as he plays the character with a healthy does of innocence and naivety. When his big hero moment finally comes it feels earned.
Furthermore, Mark Strong does a great turn as the villain, his character is threatening and menacing and dominates the screen every time he appears. Strong proves once again that he is one of the most versatile actors currently working. The boardroom scene is one of my favourites of last year, you will know why when you watch it.
I think this might be the most underrated and perhaps the best DCEU film. The emotional stakes are pitch perfect, Zachery Levi is magnificent, and the film isn’t afraid to get dark, which it does several times to great effect.
The emotional stakes.
The wider universe.
None, I have seen this several times and it holds up each watch.
Reviewed by Luke