I’ve yet to talk about them on this website but I have seen every post Dark Knight movie DC has made and I’ve yet to truly enjoy a single one of them. Nearly all of them have been frustrating experiences filled to the brim with terrible stories, awful characters, distracting editing, and complete unoriginality. Even with the debatably “good ones” (Wonder Woman and Aquaman) I just can’t find anything that truly stands out to me outside of a few moments of fun dialogue. All of these movies have left a bad taste in my mouth one way or another.
And then comes Shazam.
Shazam smacked me in the face and made me smile for 2 hours straight. Every single problem that I’ve had with DC movies over the years were completely absent from this movie and it was an absolute joy from start to finish. Everything from the acting, the story, and the characters were wonderfully executed and it didn’t feel its 2 hour length at all. The entire movie is filled with goofiness, cheese, and pure unbridled fun that’s really reminiscent of super hero movies from the early to mid-2000s (I’ve been seeing Sam Rami’s Spider-Man movies being thrown around a lot as a comparison). There is so much heart here that I can’t really begin to describe how much I enjoyed Shazam so I’ll start with something easy, the acting.
DC has always had a problem with finding really good actors for thier movies, especially children, but thankfully that issue isn’t present here. I don’t know where New Line Cinema found these kids but every single one of them played their part amazingly and they’re all memorable in their own way, especially Asher Angle Jack Dylan Grazer. Asher, who plays the child version of the main character Billy Batson, portrays him perfectly. His bratty but sympathetic line delivery really comes through in his performance and it really brings the character to life. Jack also plays the perfect foil to him by playing a more optimistic and level headed character and they both play off each other amazingly. And of course Zachary Levi as the older version of Billy is wonderful and my favorite part of the entire movie. Levi is really good at acting like a child in a grown man’s body and his line delivery is extremely funny. All of this plays well into the story which is also a HUGE improvement over DC’s other films.
Shazam, in my opinion, has the perfect tone for a super hero film. It has JUST the right amount of lightheartedness and serious themes that it feels perfectly balanced and enjoyable. The film, despite its tone, never lessens the impact of its darker themes and it does a great job of showing how threatening its villain can be, which is a problem that has plagued DC movies for a LOOOOONG ass time. Thaddeus Siva (Mark Strong) is shown to be a constant threat and it works very well because he’s constantly given enough screentime to really develop himself. That villain also helps Captain Marvel (That’s his NAME and you will never change my mind) develop as a character and that’s probably the strongest part of this movie. Billy Batson’s growth from being a teenage shit head to a full blown hero is extremely compelling and has probably given me the most feeling out of a DC movie since they started this entire cinematic universe.
All in all I can not recommend Shazam enough to people that like super hero movies or really just action/adventures movies in general. By the time it was over I was smiling ear to ear. If DC is able to pump out this type of quality from now on then I’m all for it. Just….keep it from getting too sad, okay DC?