DC's 'Shazam!' is a fun throwback to the golden age of comic books [Movie Review]

The company responsible for such dark matter as 'The Dark Knight' and 'Aquaman' have finally added a lighthearted film to the DC Universe

Wong Tsui-kai |

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Zachary Levi (left) and Mark Strong play their roles exactly as they're needed in Shazam!

Shazam! is the newest and lightest entry to the DC comics movie universe. It tells the story of teenager Billy Batson (Asher Angel) whos given powers by an ancient wizard that allow him to transform into the superhero Shazam (Zachary Levi). Meanwhile, Thaddeus Sivana (Mark Strong) is an ambitious scientist who was denied those powers when he met the wizard and just couldn’t get over it, becoming the villain of this film.

Yes, Thaddeus’ motives are super shallow and there is even an actual evil villain monologue scene, but that just all speaks to the kind of movie Shazam! is: its fun, simple and a cheesy throwback to its comic book roots. The plot, of a 15-year-old coming to terms with his new powers and discovering a whole new sense of responsibility, is similarly standard but easy to enjoy.

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The movie’s humour is great, and nails all the funny moments you would expect when a teen suddenly finds himself strong enough to rival Superman, but haS yet to figure out all his powers. Be a hero and fight crime? Maybe later! For now, all Billy wants to do is test his limits, share videos online, and make money with selfies. #Influencer. 

While it’s nothing extraordinary, the change from selfish boy to real hero is portrayed very well by Angel and Levi. Jack Dylan Grazer, who plays Billy’s best friend Freddy Freeman, also turns in a solid performance.

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But for all its merits, the family-friendly superhero flick does have its flaws as well. For example, the final showdown between Shazam and Thaddeus is both too long and not spectacular enough, dragging the pace of the last act quite a bit.

Nevertheless, the film is overall an easy and entertaining superhero popcorn movie with witty jokes, laugh-out-loud moment, and plenty of cheese.