SHAZAM! is a really fun watch. The promotional campaign had me expecting something really silly, and to be honest I wasn’t very hyped about it.
I was pleasantly surprised to find a film with a lot of heart, and more than just a bunch of comedy gags lampooning the genre, which is what I was prepared for.
The cast was really solid. Zach Levi (as adult Shazam) and Mark Strong are both excellent, but the real standouts are the younger actors. Asher Angel (as young Shazam/Billy) and Jack Dylan Grazer are both fantastic, and really do most of the heavy lifting in terms of emotional beats. I could really list off the entire supporting cast, because there isn’t a weak link.
The film does have some flaws. The tone is a little uneven. Most of the time it’s fairly light hearted, but a few times it takes sharp turns, and is suddenly very dark, feeling almost like a horror film. The script also could have used a couple tweaks, but these are in the background, and the through line of the story is pretty strong. In fact Shazam!’s focus on it’s central theme of family is it’s greatest strength. Most superhero films tend to set aside the character arcs in the third act, and resolve the action climax with punching and powers, before circling back to resolve character beats. Shazam! ties it’s finale directly to the theme of family, and it was really well done.
The movie finishes very strong. A great action climax, and then the emotional arcs wrap up very nicely. Also stay seated for two good bonus credit scenes. Shazam! is probably the best movie DC has put out since The Dark Knight, and I’m interested to see where this story goes next. I recommend giving Shazam! a watch. You’ll have fun!