Director: David F. Sandberg
In Theaters: 04.05
We have reached a point in this world we live in where it feels as though the studios have used the majority of the A-list superheroes, so now it’s time to reach further into the grab bag of heroes and heroines to see whether or not they can profit from characters that are slightly deeper cuts. In the case of 14-year-old Billy Batson (Asher Angel), who is given the powers of the wizard Shazam and transforms into an adult, super-powered version of himself (Zachary Levi), it feels like almost any character can be given the silver screen treatment with the right cast and crew at the helm.
As a foster child hellbent on finding his birth mother, Billy refuses to adhere to the rules and regulations of the government child-care program. However, when he is randomly given magical powers that include multiple abilities, the only people he can trust are his other foster brothers and sisters, especially Freddy (Jack Dylan Grazer). While becoming an internet sensation with YouTube videos showcasing his superpowers and charging for selfies with strangers on the street, Philadelphia’s latest spectacle attracts the attention of Dr. Thaddeus Sivana (Mark Strong), who has spent his entire life craving the powers of Shazam. This obsession has driven the doctor to absolute insanity and he, along with assistance of the demons of the seven deadly sins, will stop at nothing to garner all of the magic available in this universe.
In the same mindset as Ant-Man and Black Panther, director David F. Sandberg has taken a relatively unknown character and made him engaging, enjoyable and enlightening. While some scenes contain scenarios which might be a tad too much for a younger audience, the film’s message and delivery is a win for the entire family. The look and tone of the film is on par with classics such as Big and The Goonies, and be sure to keep a look out for multiple Easter eggs that reference other D.C. superheroes and nods to other cinematic influences. The warm-hearted nature of the film’s core comes from Billy’s positive embrace of his abilities, which is something many characters do not establish. This production is a great addition to the DCU, because it steps away from the dreary and drab environment they continuously push toward audiences and actually lighten up a bit. It’s a welcome feeling. –Jimmy Martin