Movie Review: Shazam! Magically Marvels at the Movies

Movie Review: Shazam! Magically Marvels at the Movies
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Dylan J. Mayberry

Dylan J. Mayberry

Dylan J. Mayberry is an aspiring actor and has a strong passion for film. He was born in Brampton Ontario and has recently moved to Oakville. He is a graduate of Acting for Film & Television from Niagara college.

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The latest entry in DC’s catalogue of comic book caped crusader films is indeed special. It’s no secret that DC has been struggling to find its feet. But with Shazam!, one can argue that they have finally found it. On the flip side though, one could also argue its “footing” is just copying Marvel’s formula.

Shazam! is a classic origin story. It follows almost beat for beat films like Iron Man, Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man, and (to a lesser degree,) DC’s own Man of Steel. You could say all of this is working against the movie.

However, with bright young star Asher Angel heading the movie up, it somehow has this different context that makes it feel new, even setting itself apart from Marvel’s Spider-Man: Homecoming.

Billy Batson, age “almost 15”, has spent most of his life on the run, escaping foster home after foster home. But once the dying wizard Shazam summons Billy to champion his sacred duty of protecting the world, he struggles with what family really means while also dealing with his newfound magical abilities.

There is a lot to love about this film. At the top of the list is its humour. It is funny – very funny. It thoroughly plays with the idea of a young child being a super hero in realistic and entertaining ways. Special mention must go to not only Angel, but his alter ego played by the charismatic Zachery Levi, and Jack Dylan Grazer’s very relatable Freddie.

Photo: Warner Bros. Pictures

The movie has a high energy to it. All the action set pieces carry this wonder and joy to them that invokes being a kid. It creates an interesting fish out of water scenario with a child trying to stand with the “big boys” like Superman and Batman. From preventing a convenience store robbery to saving an off-balanced bus full of innocent civilians; the super hero antics are simply delightful watch.

Something to consider, however, is its overall tone. There are some dark, almost horror-esque scenes in the first act of the movie. Thankfully, it lightens up as Billy begins to experiment with his newfound abilities, but it still needs to be mentioned. Parents hoping to take their kids out to this for a fun movie night beware: there are some moments that may disturb naïve or innocent youth.

Anyone who loves comic book movies and high energy action would find high enjoyment from Shazam! Even DC fanatics hopeful for their team to make their mark in the film scene will have their hopes delightfully realized. Just keep in mind in the age of your group intending to attend.

Inspired by Marvel’s method, Shazam! manages to manifest a magnificent and original take on a classic formula.

3 ½ out of 4 Stars
PG, 2hr 12mins, Action Adventure Comedy
Starring Asher Angel, Zachery Levi, Jack Dylan Grazer, Mark Strong, and Djimon Hounsou.
Now Playing at Film.Ca Cinemas, Cineplex Winston Churchill and Cineplex Oakville & VIP. Also in IMAX.


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