Shazam! review: Zachary Levi is fun as the superhero kid

Shazam poster thumb

Warner Bros and DC are changing things up a bit with Shazam, the latest live-action DC superhero film starring Zachary Levi as the titular character. Many of the DC films have been dark and serious, but recently they have been lightening up with movies like Aquaman, which felt more like an exciting, Indiana Jones adventure. Shazam! is ramping up the fun, especially when it follows a boy who can transform into an adult superhero by shouting “Shazam!”

Shazam! follows Billy Batson (Asher Angel), an orphan chosen by the ancient wizard Shazam and is gifted powers like flight and super strength. In addition, his body transforms into an adult body complete with a red suit and cape. As a new superhero, Billy will have to navigate life by adjusting to his new foster family while also searching for his real mother and dealing with Dr. Thaddeus Sivana, a villain played by Mark Strong.

The appeal of Shazam! is seeing a kid having fun with his new powers. There are heroes out there who feel burdened with their powers, but not Billy Batson. Since he feels that his life already sucks, having the ability to transform into an adult with powers is definitely an escape. Zachary Levi is like a kid at heart, and he’s the perfect person to play Shazam. There is excitement and giddiness as he takes advantage of his powers, whether it’s visiting a strip club or buying alcohol at the liquor store.

The other big highlight of the film is the foster family dynamic. The parents and kids are adorable and unique in their own way. Jack Dylan Grazer plays Frederick “Freddy” Freeman, a disabled kid who becomes Billy’s foster brother and best friend. I can definitely relate to the character since I would be acting the same way if my friend had powers. Freddy channels that excitement for the audience and asks all the questions we would ask.

The school element is very enjoyable as well since many of us can relate to wanting to fit in and not wanting to be bullied. Seeing Shazam help out his family is wonderful to see, whether he’s giving advice or helping his family in tough situations. It doesn’t hurt that Levi is charming and charismatic, even if his character can be selfish at times.

You can’t have a superhero movie without a villain, and that’s where Thaddeus comes in. He’s obsessed with seeking power and feels a desire to prove his worth after being denied the chance to gain powers. Mark Strong does his best with the role, but the character is forgettable.

There is a subplot with Billy Batson that felt like a letdown. I was hoping for something more emotional, but I was like, “Is that it?”

Overall, Shazam! is a total blast and Zachary Levi is charming and a treat to watch as he has fun being a superhero. It’s also refreshing to see a superhero with a big and supportive family on the big screen, and you’ll be rooting for them as they get sucked into Shazam’s adventures. The film is a lot of fun and will give you that feeling of wanting to have superpowers.

Score: 4/5 Atoms

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