Title – Shazam! (2019)
Director – David F. Sandberg (Lights Out)
Cast – Zachary Levi, Asher Angel, Jack Dylan Grazer, Mark Strong, Adam Brody, Djimon Hounsou, Meagan Good
Plot – Orphaned Philadelphia teenager Billy Batson (Angel) gets transformed into a superhero known as Shazam (Levi) and finds himself in a battle with the evil and power hungry Dr. Sivana (Strong) who will stop at nothing to steal Shazam’s powers.
“Oh hey, wassup? I’m a superhero!”
Review by Eddie on 22/07/2019
I’m sorry DC, it’s just not working for you.
After the doom and gloom and relatively po-faced outings of old didn’t work, DC have tried the Marvel approach of fun and frivolity in amongst their narrative re-telling’s of their favourite properties and while Wonder Woman was an easy watch and Aquaman a fun yet extremely silly splash, the bemusingly well-received Shazam! is a try-hard effort that’s insistence on constant chuckles masks the fact is has an extremely dull main character, generic villains, poor CGI and a story we’ve seen countless times before and seen delivered in a much better fashion.
Despite lead actor Zachary Levi’s commitment to his role as the wise cracking teenager in an adults body Shazam, David F. Sandberg’s film mostly feels forced and lethargic as we head on a two hour plus journey that sees charisma free Asher Angel’s orphan Billy Batson be transformed into the all-powerful Shazam, when a wizard chooses him to be the saviour of the world for some unknown reason.
It feels like it takes ions for Shazam to appear as we get stuck following around the depressive Batson as he looks for his real mum and gets introduced to his new foster family and potential new BFF Freddy Freeman (played in a scene stealing fashion by Jack Dylan Grazer) yet sadly when Shazam finally does make his appearance you quickly begin to realise this film isn’t taking any risks as it takes us on a journey of Batson learning about his new powers, running away from fights and recreating Rocky Balboa iconic moments.
It’s a real shame the film didn’t decide to take more risks with its generic coming of age/origin story, nothing fresh or original happens here even if it’s nice to see the film do away with a love interest subplot for Batson and the appearance of yet another Mark Strong big bad in the form of the lamely recreated Dr. Sivana is a major weakness of the film, that culminates in one of the most long-winded and un-exciting finales I can remember seeing in a comic book film, right up there with the end of the original Guardians of the Galaxy film or Man of Steel’s crash and bash extravaganza.
With all the doom and gloom of the film (perhaps I’m just a grumpy old man?) there are moments throughout Sandberg’s outing that suggest a great film lay somewhere within all the forgettable components.
In a career littered with horror outings such as Lights Out and Annabelle: Creation, Sandberg does bring some nice ominous moments to Shazam! around the hit and miss humour, highlights of which include a board room attack and some neat otherworldly side quests but all these little set pieces and moments make up very little for the overall feeling that Shazam! just isn’t as fun, smart or hip as it thinks it is.
Final Say –
With an air of manufactured swag seeping out of every pour of Shazam’s! being, this latest DC outing feels like an unfairly praised adventure that will likely be forgotten about quick-smart as the next batch of far more memorable superhero outings come our way. Funny in brief moments, this is superhero film seriously devoid of magic or wonder.
2 vending machines out of 5