A few weeks ago, I realized something. Two of the movies I’m super excited for, Pet Sematary and Shazam, were opening the same day. Which would I see first? Could I possibly choose between my love and loyalty to Stephen King or Zachary Levi? Maybe an hour after I tweeted about this personal crisis, I found out about the advanced screenings of Shazam. Hallelujah! Went online and ordered tickets. Was this close to buying for one of my usual theaters, but realized that I could change things up since I wouldn’t be bound to A-List. Turns out, Zachary Levi made an appearance at the theater I almost went to (dang it! I chose poorly) (Also, if you really think I can’t identify that theater from that little bit, you really don’t know me at all). But I got to go to Dave and Buster’s first and I won a friend who got to see the movie too. Who says Marvel and DC can’t play nice?
Right so, superhero origin story, I don’t think I need to go into too much detail there. What makes Shazam different is that he’s actually just a kid. 14 year old Billy Batson is imbued with magical powers by a wizard (like ya do) and when he says his name (Shazam, duh) he turns into a full blown superhero (my love, Zachary Levi) with abilities including lighting and speed and strength and other things he’ll discover thru the course of the film.
To be completely honest, it took me a while to get into it. We’ve seen so many of these movies, it’s getting harder and harder to suspend disbelief. It also didn’t help that the teens next to me couldn’t go five seconds without a comment. By the time we got to act two, which was when my boy first appeared and when I finally get annoyed enough to give a “Are you guys gonna talk thru the whole thing?!” to the duo next to me, that I started to get into it. Then we got to the final act and I was so amped up. I feel like it’s rare that a movie really does get exponentially better as it goes on. Superhero movies especially tend to lose it in the climax. That’s where Shazam really took off, and I very much want to see a sequel.
Yes I know, I’ve very much been a critic of the DCEU, but it comes from a place of me wanting the best out of these movies. I’ve always loved Superman and I don’t think he’s been treated right. I feel like the rushed quality of these movies is insulting to the audience, and I want to see them treated with the care and attention they deserve. All that said, this movie feels like they’re FINALLY getting something right (besides Wonder Woman, which also was oh so very right). But this movie is FUN. I don’t think I’ve said that about any of the other movies in their series, which has been one of the basis of my criticisms. I’ll say it again, this movie is fun!! It’s so much more family friendly than anything we’ve seen from them and much lighter than anything else too. This definitely felt like we were seeing supers thru a kid’s eyes, and I loved that perspective. So different from other DCEU or MCU films and it makes a standard origin story stand out.
What it really gets right though, is casting Zachary Levi. I have loved him since his Chuck days and I’m ecstatic to see him move on to . I mostly love him because he is one of the sweetest people in Hollywood (and the best person I ever met at a Broadway stage door). But he’s also a very excitable nerd who gets genuinely excited for all things comics and all things geeky, maintaining a sense of a wonder and childlike spirit about it all. All of those qualities make him PERFECT for the role of a kid who suddenly becomes a superhero and is overwhelmed and psyched by it all.
The other bit of casting I loved was the diversity, especially among the foster kids in Billy’s found family. That diversity is especially apparently at the end with an event I don’t wanna spoil. Even just highlighting foster kids is something that brought me joy. What also brought me joy was the way they showed they’re still connected to the greater DC Universe while still being apart from it. Again, it’s like how the kids see living in that world. And that’s a world I wanna live in too
Shazam – \m/ \m/ \m/ \n