The DC Extended Universe lately have not had a good run with some of its most recent titles; Suicide Squad shot itself in the foot, Batman VS Superman was a terrible cringeworthy mess and Justice League… well some of us are still trying to wash the bad taste out of our mouths.
However not all bad things last forever, with Aquaman more recently paving the way to a newer, stronger DC Extended Universe. Shazam also follows in these same footsteps, delivering another exciting superhero journey. Billy Batson (Asher Angel) is introduced into the DC Extended Universe as a teenage foster child who is chosen by an ancient wizard (Djimon Hounsou) to inherit his powers and protect the world from threatening supernatural forces.
Shazam is instantly seen as the odd one of the bunch. If you’ve followed Shazam’s comics then you will know that the story tone has always been comical, so it makes sense for Shazam to drift away from the usual dark/serious tones that most DC films have adapted to.
Shazam’s overall story is immensely engaging and is such a hilarious journey. The acting talents of Zachary Levi as Shazam and Jack Dylan Grazer as Freddie make the journey so much enjoyable with their dynamic on-screen chemistry. When the two are on-screen together, you can’t help but crack a smile.
The entire cast accurately set up an identical environment and feel to the comic books. Every character was replicated and presented without compromising the original content the film is based on, especially regarding the Shazam family. The focus of family was painted out so well that it hit the emotional chords particularly through Billy‘s character development and story progression; the display of how the power of family can be a force to be reckoned with when it is united.
Asher Angel did exceptionally well in his role as Billy Batson showing an air of innocence, hope and vulnerability that was very relatable to audiences. However, I did feel that Zachary Levi and Jack Grazer were the standouts of Shazam with their witty and seemingly natural exchange of lines. Mark Strong also made a very formidable foe as Dr. Sivana, his character, although the villain was also relatable, but it also made the story more engaging and grounded.
I quite enjoyed how Shazam also played homage to other heroes within the DC Extended Universe, which in some ways can be seen as canon to a new re-imagined Justice League. I would be okay with this if they were thinking of revamping the franchise and making Aquaman and Shazam the beginning of a new universe. I couldn’t help but instantly get a feel of Tom Hank’s 1988 classic “BIG” which in some cases the film plays homage to, particularly the story of a boy who ends up in a man’s body and his best friend tries to help him ease into the swing of things which is what Shazam is. We also get a blend of “Man of Steel” and a hint of “Rocky”, so I can say you have a perfect balance of comedy, yet also an engaging amount of action and pop-culture nods to keep you satisfied.
Up there with Wonder Woman and Aquaman, I really enjoyed Shazam for its comical elements, characters, heartfelt family moments, and engaging plotline. It’s such a fun film to watch. I’m proud of what Director, David Sandberg has presented to DC Extended Universe and I’m deeply satisfied with what Shazam has offered to the DC fan base and general public – a job well done.