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‘Shazam’ Review: The Path For DC Movies Is Lighting Bright

There’s a new word on street and that word is Shazam!

Many fans were skeptical when Warner Brothers announced that one of their upcoming projects would be a film based on the relatively obscure character Captain Marvel Shazam! but after seeing the film last week, it safe to say they are on for a treat…

For those of you who are unaware, Shazam is the super-powered alter ego of Billy Batson, a teenager who finds himself chosen by The Wizard to become his champion granting him all the powers of (S)olomon, (H)ercules, (A)tlas, (Z)eus, (A)chilles and (M)ercury. As the Wizard’s Champion, Billy is the one tasked with stopping the Seven Deadly Sins and their own Champion, the villainous Doctor Thaddeus Sivana.

Taking on the dual roles of the titular hero are Asher Angel and Zachary Levi who play Batson and Shazam! respectively. Much like the film itself, many fans were actually skeptical when Levi was announced as Shazam. Despite appearing as Fandral in Thor: The Dark World, many fans couldn’t get over the actor’s comedy roots although it’s safe to say that these were definitely part of the reason his character worked so well, especially when you remember that beneath all that muscle he is still a teenager at heart.

Whilst Levi has a blast acting like his teenage counterpart, it’s Angel who has some of the most emotional scenes throughout the movie as Billy goes from being the rebellious teen always on the run to someone who learns to embrace family in whatever form they come in. There’s one particular emotional scene nearer the end of the film where Angel’s abilities really shine.

Shazam Movie Zachary Levi

Supporting both Levi and Angel throughout the film is It: Chapter One star Jack Dylan Grazer as Billy’s foster brother Freddy Freeman. Freeman is a source of a lot of the humor over the course of the film, with his attempts at shaping Shazam! into the hero he later becomes. But much like Angel and Levi, Grazer also adds plenty of heart to the film with his character both wanting to help his friend yet also being undeniably envious of his gifts.

On the other side, we have Mark Strong as Doctor Sivana, the film’s primary antagonist and champion of the Seven Deadly Sins. Despite this being Strong’s second time playing a DC villain after his turn as Sinestro in 2011’s Green Lantern ended up being one of the film’s few saving graces, he somehow manages to bring something new to Sivana making him an interesting villain in the process. While the aforementioned Sins themselves don’t really play much of a role in the film outside of being CGI henchman for Sivana, their appearances are wholly unique and they definitely have some interesting scenes.

The film’s plot could easily be described as the usual superhero origin story, but the film has enough charm and quirks that it definitely feels much more unique than the usual superhero fare. The film’s third act is definitely one of the best we have seen on screen from DC since 2013’s Man of Steel, with the action being both engaging and exciting.

One of the film’s main downsides is that despite the fact that it’s a bright and optimistic story, it primarily uses a very grey color palette, although this could always be said about the franchise as a whole.

Overall, Shazam! definitely feels as though the DC universe is back on track to being something that fans can get excited for again. It’s heart and charm definitely makes it one worth seeing.

Grade: B

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