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Saturday, April 6, 2019

Shazam! - Movie Review


The Movie: Shazam!

The Director: David F. Sandberg

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

The Story: Teenager is given magical powers and must face off against a man who has gained control of ancient monsters who represent the seven deadly sins.


The Review:
Fun, action packed, kid friendly, funny, upbeat, and genuinely entertaining. Yes, folks this is a DC film. The same people who started off their cinematic universe with darkness, dread, and lots of overly serious shenanigans but have recently taken  left turn with their most recent efforts (See Wonder Woman and Aquaman). While Marvel is still clearly the king of the comic book movie, DC has gained a lot of ground and Shazam! does a lot to close the gap between the two studios.

At first glance, this movie looks silly, immature, and kind of goofy. Well, it is all of that and yet every bit of it still works as director David F. Sandberg knows exactly how to walk the fine lines of comedy, drama, action, and super hero geekiness. Adding to the fun is Zachary Levi who clearly had a blast playing this particular super hero and absolutely owned a character whose costume quite honestly looks ridiculous and cheesy. He also gets to channel a bit of the Tom Hanks magic from Big while playing a 14 year old in a grown man's super hero sized body.

One thing that really helps the lighter side of the movie to work is how the film makers don't pull any punches when it come to the evil and dark side of the story. The villains are real and quite scary giving a real sense of danger to balance out the quirky fun being had during the rest of the story. Mark Strong is impressive as always with a dangerously evil performance as the primary villain and counter point to Levi's at times immature antics and amateur heroics. Strong's character is deliberately villainous as he executes a plan that he has been working towards for many years.

It's interesting to see how the hero and villain mirror each other and yet have also been on a very similar path which allows for a lot of the movie's messaging to get fleshed out. There are themes of family, friendship, bullying, abandonment, and how power can be misused and abused when not reigned in by humility and compassion. The whole story and all of the characters are really well thought out considering the comedic aspect of the movie at times borders on parody. There are also efforts made to make sure the audience knows their new hero lives within the same world as the more iconic characters we are already familiar with.


The Verdict:
Shazam! is a fun movie that moves DC's cinematic universe in the right direction. It is easily the funniest and most fun entry into their roster of films and also sets things up for the inevitable sequels and crossovers.

Make sure to stay in your seat at the end as there is a mid credits and a post credits scene and both are worth waiting for.





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