Review: Shazam makes a thunderous entrance to the big screen

Updated: Jun 2, 2020

The new superhero movie “Shazam!” exceeds expectations despite tough film competition around it this month.

By Devin Smith, Staff Writer

Photo by Steve Wilkie/Warner Bros.

The film “Shazam!” showcases an unconventional superhero portrayal that is a breath of fresh air compared to its rivals in terms of relatability and character connection.

“Shazam!” directed by David Sandberg, details the story of a young foster child named Billy Batson, played by Asher Angel, who is unwilling to fit in with an non-biological family. When he meets a foster family that seems to genuinely care about his well-being however, his life takes a drastic turn. He unwillingly gains lightning-like superpowers and changes into the body of a chiseled grown man, played by Zachary Levi. Billy is the chosen one to fight off an evil that can destroy all of mankind. He takes on the mantle of Shazam and he must quickly learn how to use his newfound powers to fight this force and protect the only true family he has ever had.

This film is exceptionally good at setting the right tone. The comedy was never forced, and the action and storytelling were original and was able to get the audience attached early in the film. Putting a 14-year-old in a grown superhero’s body is an unique concept that sets Shazam apart from other protagonists. Due to the fact that he is so young with a relatable backstory, it is easy for Billy to connect with viewers. It feels like we are on this journey and learning with him the entire way through.

Angel and Levi were both outstanding in their roles as the younger and superhero versions of Billy. It was believable that Levi was actually the grown-up version of Angel. It is not easy to split a film up and use different actors for the same character and have it remain credible, but this film does it perfectly. Billy’s best friend in the film is played by well-known actor Jack Dylan Grazer. The duo provides an unreal amount of comic relief and ordinary relatability, which is tough for a hero movie to do.

The dialog in this film is one of the best parts about it, due to its creativity and use of current culture. Even though Billy is now a grown hero, he is still a young boy at heart. That can be seen by how he carries himself. He looks intimidating, but he speaks how any child at that age would and just wants to play video games and make funny jokes at the end of the day, no matter how severe the situation is. The interactions between him and the permanently serious, no jokes whatsoever force that wants to destroy the entire world are some of the things that make this film special.

This film is an amazing watch and was definitely better than the majority of people expected judging by the initial backlash. With stiff competition in hero movies coming out in this season, “Shazam!” marched right in and made its mark. This is not an ordinary superhero movie so everyone should give it a chance even if traditional hero movies do not appeal to them. It was a wonderful ride and unexpected ride.