In 2014 when Warner Bros. revealed their slate of upcoming DC films, most of the buzz focused on the announcement of the Wonder Woman, Flash and Green Lantern films and rightfully so. Shazam! was also a part of that slate and his film was by far the most overlooked because the character was obscure compared to the biggest heroes in DC. As a DC fan I was excited for all of these films (some of which have been cancelled or sidelined) and because I knew the Shazam character, I knew how much potential a film set in his world would have. Upon seeing Shazam! nearly 5 years after its announcement I can gladly say it was everything I hoped it would be and more!
The nearly 80 year-old story of Captain Marv… Shazam translated perfectly to the silver screen and it is one of the most faithful adaptations I have ever seen in a comic book movie. If anyone has read Geoff Johns and Gary Frank’s Shazam series from the New 52 then you will have a general understanding of how the movie will unfold. That being said the film has plenty of surprises not spoiled in trailers, easter eggs and references to events and characters from other DCEU films and many instances of universe building. I could sense the inspiration that films like Big, Superman (1976) and Spider-Man Homecoming had on Shazam! and director David Sandberg outdid it in his first attempt at a non-horror blockbuster film.
The casting was perfect and I expect to see Zachary Levi (Shazam), Asher Angel (Billy Batson) and Jack Dylan Grazer (Freddie Freeman) in not only future DC films but in many other movies. Most of the films jokes were perfectly timed and for a family movie there were a ton of jokes and moments included for adults. Levi was perfectly cast as the titular hero and his portrayal of Shazam is among the best performances in any superhero movie to date. He really sells the idea of being a kid in an adult’s body and the chemistry he has with Grazer is fantastic.
Shazam! does an exceptional job of balancing laugh out loud humor with serious moments. In one moment the film will be taking jabs at tropes found in superhero movies and in another teaches lessons on the importance of family. While there are some instances of spotty CG, a couple of cheap jump scares and the fact that Dr. Sivana is a very safe, typical superhero movie villain, Shazam is without a doubt the best DCEU film and in my opinion arguably one of the best and most fresh takes on the superhero genre.
Go see the original Captain Marvel in theaters April 5th!
DCEU Movie Ranking
2. Wonder Woman
3. Man of Steel
5. Batman V Superman Dawn of Justice
6. Justice League
7. Suicide Squad