“Say my name, so my power may flow within you,” the wizard taunts, as Billy Batson stands in disbelief and confusion. Still, he says the wizards name and, shazam, 14-year-old Batson is now an adult superhero with multiple abilities. Sound crazy? The plot of this movie alone offers an intriguing, comedic-feel, bound to be disastrous or amazing with no in-between.
So, who is Billy Batson, and how did he get so lucky? Billy is a young, teenage foster kid always on the run. He is desperately in-search of his mother, who he accidentally got separated from as a younger child. To find information regarding his mother, Billy has to break a lot of rules, and oftentimes, the law. He is convinced he will find her, and until that day, he is determined to be independent. Well, as independent as one can be at the age of fourteen, because no matter how hard he fights, he still ends up in foster homes. The most recent, being a group home, where he learns the values of family and friendship.
Then we have the villain. Remember the wizard I just mentioned? Well, Batson wasn’t the first person to end up in his lair, the Rock of Eternity. Long before Billy becomes Shazam, the wizard was calling those he thought were worthy of his powers. When they heeded the call, they were given a test to see if they were worthy. Unfortunately, none were, and one boy took the unworthiness deemed upon him by the wizard to the max; Thaddeus Sivana.
Sivana spends his life trying to find his way back to the Rock of Eternity to get the power he thinks he deserves, and eventually ends up with the power of the seven deadly sins. Yikes. Even with the power of the sins, he still wants more, so he seeks out Shazam, and voila. We have our rivalry.
Unfortunately, on Shazam’s end, he doesn’t quite understand the responsibility of being a superhero. He uses his powers to get out of school, make some cash via selfies and YouTube videos, and, well just think like a teenage boy. This makes him a vulnerable target, but it also allows for character development.
Throughout the movie, we watch Billy struggle between right and wrong. He learns what being a superhero means via his new brother, Freddy. Freddy is a geek to the max. He loves all things superheroes, and is quite jealous of Billy’s new abilities. He feels it is his job to teach Billy the superhero ways.
As we watch his character develop, we also get a lot of humor. This movie is packed with jokes, quick-quips, witty-humor, terribly funny punchlines, kid humor, as well as adult humor. If you aren’t invested in the DC Universe, you could still watch this movie and leave the theatre laughing.
Wait, a DC movie with great character development, an interesting villain, and jokes? Unheard of, right? If you’ve seen any DC movies as of late, then you probably know that they can be a little slow, sometimes bland, too serious, and even confusing. Justice League was a mess, but they redeemed themselves with Aquaman, although that movie was still a little iffy. But, this movie was amazing; hands-down.
If you think about it, DC movies are only the way they are because of the complex characters they are trying to put on a screen. Each DC character has a unique background story, oftentimes tragic, filled with loss, and really defines who the character is as a person and as a hero. With Shazam, you have one character with two-roles, yet they managed to portray both sides very well.
The whole movie was easy to follow, and even a little relatable. The target audience could be anyone. Was this because Shazam himself is a very relatable character? Or maybe because he’s literally 14 on the inside? Was it because of the dysfunctional, yet loving family on the other end? Well, whatever it was we need more. If DC channels whatever they did to make this movie such a success into their other films, I think we could be looking at a very new, very exciting universe. They can continue the trend of having character driven and visually exciting movies while also keeping them fun and not requiring their audience to have extensive knowledge of comic book lore in order to appreciate them.
Regardless, this movie holds true to its origin story, and offers many intriguing, exciting, funny scenes, packed with action, heartfelt backstories, and more. Whether you have zero comic background, have lost your faith in DC movies, love DC movies, or simply just looking for a laugh, this movie is truly an amazing and relatable pick. Afterall, wouldn’t you want to be a superhero with the shout of a name?