Shazam gives a new light to DC movies

Kristen Bolash, Entertainment Editor

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Shazam starring Zachary Levi and Asher Angel as Billy Batson proved to be a huge hit at the global box office opening weekend. The movie has received nothing but praise. With the success of both DCEU’s recent movies– Shazam and Aquaman— is DC still the brand to mock? Clearly it is not. This review contains spoilers.

Shazam is solely based from the New 52 comic reboot from DC Comics. But the history of Shazam goes back to Fawcett comics. The origin remains the same, Billy Batson is pure at heart and a wizard named Shazam gifts Billy powers to protect the realms. Billy transforms from his teenage self into an adult with powers when he says “Shazam.” He lies in Philadelphia with his six foster siblings, the main one in the movie being Freddy Freeman. Freddy and Mary are from the original Shazam comics, but Mary played a lesser role because the New 52 reboot changed her from Billy’s twin to Mary Bromfield.

The biggest change from this comic series to the movie is that Black Adam’s role is taken by Doctor Sivana. Sivana is one of the classic Shazam villains, so it didn’t make the movie any less quality or losing storyline. The only downside to having Doctor Sivana as the main villain is that we have to wait even longer for Dwayne Johnson’s Black Adam movie debut. Mark Strong as Doctor Sivana proved once again he is capable at any role given to him.

The movie begins with Sivana’s origin and why he wants Billy’s Shazam powers. Doctor Sivana is a villain the viewer can understand right away without reading years of comics to know. It’s something only now taken into thought by superhero movies, unlike Steppenwolf in Justice League or Thanos in many Marvel films. Many villains we don’t get to know but finally we get one we do. The little flaw with the villains I could say is that the Seven Deadly Sins weren’t as properly introduced as they could have been. The viewer gets the idea but it was lacking in some ways. BUt the design of the Sins truly looked evil and that’s when director David Sandberg’s horror expertise shined. The way the camera angles were when the Sins were around was truly a horror movie technique. The scary scenes were genuinely disturbing and the jump scares weren’t predictable.

Zachary Levi has to be given praise for truly becoming a teenager in an adult body. The transformation scenes were flawless. Before watching the movie I thought going from Asher Angel to Zachary Levi would be noticeable and a completely different character. But it is still the Billy Bason character, just a different look. The lines delivered by ‘Levi that were clearly from a teenager weren’t forced. His teenaged fights with Freddy Freeman were perfect and coming from a teenager, it was exactly what our fights look like.

Billy is in a group home with six other kids and you’d think getting to know each other than Billy and Freddy would be impossible in a two hour movie but each sibling has a complete personality as if they were the main character. Although some get probably less than five minutes of screentime it is like they were the focus with how well their characterization was. One thing I will say is that when Billy gives them the Shazam powers, it gets a little long giving everyone their own little fight with one of the Sins. Also, you would think being one of the original three Shazam characters that Mary would have been given a strong and powerful fight scene but to me she looked the weakest. It was a letdown but as a teenager Mary is given the most characterization so it balances out. The transformation of the Shazam kids didn’t feel random or forced, it truly felt like a family moment. If I did not know the kids all have powers from the comics (or I didn’t see the Funko Pops of them) it would have been a pleasant surprise that felt bittersweet. But knowing prior didn’t take away from the moment.

Freddy was the most relatable character in this film and was the heart of the movie. He is so happy to just be able to be friends with a superhero. His face at the end receiving powers is priceless. Freddy is a massive comics fan. He is also disabled. Freddy’s love for superheroes serves as his escape, he describes it as the loneliness being taken away. We can all relate that to something we love whether it be comics, movies or sports.

There is only one little negative, most scenes that would have been hilarious not being in the trailer lagged after we had seen them. With so little trailers, Warner Brothers really took the hit scenes and spoiled them. They are mostly in the beginning half though. But they could have done without giving away that Shazam does in fact have flight powers or being bulletproof. The scenes are sill funny but it felt like it would have been more if I hadn’t already seen them. IF you want the full experience of a DCEU movie, avoid trailers and toy released.

Overall, DCEU’s superhero movies are only getting better and better. This movie had everything you would want from a superhero movie while staying fresh. The cast was outstanding and their acting was flawless. The Shazam sequel has already been confirmed and the production for Black Adam is set to begin in early 2020.