Script - 7.2/10
Direction - 9.4/10
Acting - 9.1/10
User Review( votes)
Writers: Henry Gayden and Darren Lemke
Director: David F. Sandberg
Starring: Zachary Levi, Mark Strong, Asher Angel, Jack Dylan Grazer, Djimon Hounsou, Faithe Herman, Grace Fulton, Ian Chen, Jovan Armand
Genre: Action, Adventure, Comedy
From: New Line Cinema and DC Entertainment
Release Date: April 5, 2019
We all have a superhero inside us, it just takes a bit of magic to bring it out. In Billy Batson’s case, by shouting out one word – SHAZAM! – this streetwise fourteen-year-old foster kid can turn into the grown-up superhero Shazam.
Say His Name – Shazam!
Shazam! is the latest entry in the DC Universe of films and I have to say it was a breath of fresh air. The film followed suit with its most recent predecessors in the DC Universe, Wonder Woman and Aquaman, to deliver a fun and enjoyable time for the whole family…Quick heads up. If you do have young ones, there is a moment or two in the film that might be intense for them. Even with a few darker moments, Shazam! found a way to bring pure joy and a story anyone can relate to.
What’s the Story?
David F. Sandberg, best known for directing Lights Out and Annabelle: Creation, hit it out of the park with his first non-horror feature. There are elements of Sandberg’s horror roots seen in Shazam! (remember those darker moments I was telling you about). The timing and pacing within certain scenes with the comedy, heart, and suspense hit like a rhythmic beat, always catching you at just the right time. Now Sandberg had an amazing cast that was able to deliver all that this film required.
Henry Gayden is a fresh screenwriter with only one feature under his belt, Earth to Echo. Gayden had worked as a crew member on Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 3 and honestly, that shows, in a good way. The dialogue isn’t the strongest (I know the writer doesn’t have final say), but the story that Gayden wrote feels honest. No exploitation of the superhero genre. There’s a love in his writing for the characters and its shows throughout the film.
Those heartfelt moments are what anchor the film and bring the audience on the journey with Billy Batson (Asher Angel). Angel had been in plenty of TV series and short films, but this was his first bat at playing a lead character…half of a lead character? Either way, there were some scenes in this film that tested him and he proved himself. Angel built the foundation of this character’s motivation and desires. Those were evident in his acting and I appreciate the sincerity of his performance.
For the most part, the comedic and action-packed moments from the film come from our dynamic duo Shazam (Zachary Levi) and Freddy Freeman (Jack Dylan Grazer). Anytime Levi and Grazer were on screen together you knew you wouldn’t stop laughing. And if you think you know those two actors from somewhere, but you can’t put your finger on it, I got you. Zachary Levi is best known for his role on one of my favorite shows ever, Chuck. Whereas for Mr. Jack Dylan Grazer, he was probably your favorite little germaphobe form the breakout film It.
Levi brought a sense of wonderment to this role. You could feel the joy coming through the screen every time he was on. Very few people can bring a character to life and make them their own, but Levi will forever now be our Shazam.
Grazer was phenomenal. He went toe-to-toe with Levi in every scene they had. It’s easy to forget how young Grazer is, based on his talent. Every line he delivers is timed perfectly and when he needs to hit those emotional moments he’s able to give you those feels.
The rest of the cast, primarily the other kids in the foster family, are able to help build upon this heartfelt foundation. There are moments in this film you don’t think should work, but because the actors put themselves in every line of dialogue I believe them. That’s something special.
Throughout the production of this film, Levi and Sandberg would bring up the Tom Hanks film, BIG, to give you a feel for the film, and that comparison landed. This film has heart. I know that’s a generic statement, but I’m honestly at a loss for words. I couldn’t stop smiling throughout the film. It reminded me why I love superheroes. Inspired me to continue on the path to try to be a storyteller. It made me happy, and that’s all I wanted. I’m looking forward to future Shazam! films and can’t wait to see more from this entire group of people.
So if you’re in the mood to smile, then this is the movie to see! Oh and I heard if you yell – SHAZAM – while in the movie Zachary Levi will appear. Let us know what you thought of the movie down in the comments below and make sure to follow us on all social media platforms for more movie reviews.