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Shazam! has hit theaters with an impressive roar, and Zachary Levi was born to play the naive superhero.
When evil breaks free, the wizard Shazam has no choice but to select Billy Batson (Asher Angel) to become his champion to fight against the Seven Deadly Sins – a group of demons. With just one word, the unaware Batson is transformed into a mighty superhero, Captain Marvel (Zachary Levi). Having difficulties trying to play the part, Batson seeks out help from his superhero expert of a foster brother, Freddy Freeman (Jack Dylan Grazer), who teaches him how to be a true hero. However, while they thought that being a superhero was all fun and games, a lurking villain, Dr. Sivana (Mark Strong), seeks to steal Batson’s newly possessed powers.
The overall story is magical. It’s so heartfelt and meaningful and just what you would want from a family-oriented superhero film.
It is a tad slow during the first 30 minutes. That slow beginning allows for character growth and for the audience to connect more with the characters.
The DCEU (DC’s cinematic/extended universe) has a history of having its films being darker than the average superhero film. Shazam! is the exact opposite. It’s cheesy, fun, and hilarious. However, when it is time to shine a spotlight onto the film’s villain, the film doesn’t shy away from showing just how terrifying he can be.
The best thing about Shazam! is the amazing cast and the wacky characters that they play. When Levi was first announced to play as the fan-favorite superhero, fans were upset because they thought he wasn’t a good fit for the role. Let me tell you, he is perfect. Levi is outstanding, hilarious, and had plenty of personalities to pull off the 14-year-old superhero. You can tell that him taking part in Shazam! meant something to him.
It’s not just Levi that makes the film great. Grazer, most notably known as Eddie from 2017’s IT, is a great sidekick to Levi. The two combined is something that I didn’t know I needed in my life. His dynamic with Levi is extremely fun, and at the same time, they have a great brotherly bond. Grazer provides a handful of laughs and some real emotional value to the film.
Angel does a good job playing as the sad mistreated orphan. There is a tear-jerking moment where his character comes to a realization about himself, and Angel performs quite well in it.
The one thing that astounds me is how much growth Batson’s character has throughout the film. He was played by two different actors, ended up feeling natural. As if it was just only one person playing the part.
It is clear that the cast has a great relationship with each other behind the camera. Watching Batson go from being selfish to being a true hero is admirable. It’s one of the reasons why Shazam! does so well.
Often in superhero films, the antagonist is melodramatic and laughable. However, Strong’s character is written like a true villain. Strong is typecast to play as the bad guy in films, but there is a reason for that. He plays a menacing villain, and with a well-written character, he enhances the experience.
The thing that goes hand-in-hand nowadays, especially in superhero films, is the action and CGI. There are not many things that drag Shazam! down, but one thing for sure is the CGI. It’s not bad, but it’s also not great either. There are some moments, particularly when characters are flying, that looked unpolished and unbelievable. It’s noticeable and takes you right out of the film’s atmosphere.
I am not making the case that the whole film is riddled with bad special effects. In fact, there are some CGI effects that are done well. One of my favorite parts is the final fight between good vs. evil because of how great the action and visual effects were. It lacks a bit when you have so much going on in a film and can’t fully embrace it.
Shazam! is arguably the best DCEU film to date because of the fun-filled, funny, heartwarming story. It thrives because of the strong cast and silly characters despite its lackluster special effects. It’s a wonderful comedy for the whole family, and I’m planning on seeing it again soon.