The following Blu-ray was provided to me by Warner Brothers for review. Thoughts and opinions are my own.
Solomon, Hercules, Atlas, Zeus, Achilles, Mercury, as you can see by just reading the bold letters it spells Shazam. Shazam is actually Billy Batson, a mild mannered kid who, when he yells Shazam becomes a superhero. Essentially Superman only powered by magic. It’s a character that has long been in film development. Well when DC hit big with the bright and colorful Aquaman they decided to go the route of another light hearted take and make Shazam. It was DC’s first take into a kid friendly superhero film as opposed to their usually dark and brooding style. The result was a critical and commercial success with a sequel already in the works.
Billy Batson is an orphan who spends most of his time running around looking for his long lost mother. He keeps running away looking for her with a compass he has until he’s finally put in a new foster home with 5 other kids. He actually gets along quiet well with them, especially Freddy Freeman, an avid superhero fan. One day at school Freddy is getting beaten up by a couple of punks and Billy runs in and beats them with a crutch. He makes a run for it, and hops on a subway to escape. Suddenly he’s transported to the Rock of Eternity where he meets the wizard Shazam. Shazam finds Billy to be “pure of heart” and endows his powers on him. Superhuman strength, flying, speed, invincibility (close to anyway) and the power to use lightning. All he has to do is yell “SHAZAM” and he transforms into adult superhero. Billy is transported back with the wizards Staff and begins using his powers for good, and with the help of Freddy, social media fame.
As Billy is experimenting with his newfound powers a threat by the name of Thaddeus Sivana has emerged. When he was a child like Billy he was transported to the Rock of Eternity, but he was not deemed worthy as he was tempted by the Seven Deadly Sins. Tempted by there power he is sent back to earth where he vowed revenge. Now a full grown adult Sivana Has found a way to return to the Rock of Eternity where he steals the Eye of Sin thus becoming the host for the Seven Deadly Sins. He returns to earth and see’s Shazam on the news. He easily defeats the inexperienced Billy in battle and tries to steal his powers to add to his own. Billy will need the help of his family and all his inner strength to stop Sivana in his quest to rule the world.
Lighthearted is the best way to sum this up. Its very faithful to the comics, very fun, and very action packed. It has a big heart, and even teaches a lesson or two, it is in my opinion DC’s best feature film to date. The parts with Sivana and the exploration of the Seven Deadly Sins are surprisingly dark, but never in a way that is going to frighten your kids, and that is who this film is made for. Its is probably the most family oriented superhero film since Christopher Reeves Superman, and that’s not a bad thing.
The film is fun. Watching Billy turn into Shazam (Played wonderfully by Zachary Levi) is just a laugh a minute. All the scenes are played for laughs but in all actuality is probably pretty accurate on how a kid would handle becoming an adult superhero. Learning to use his powers, fighting bad guys, buying beer, its really very funny. Its also got a great heart about it. Billy is an orphan. His mom abandoned him. We see him bond and learn to love all his fellow foster brothers and sisters. You see early on, and especially towards the final act what a heart of gold the kid really has.
The special effects are top notch as well. The Shazam costume looks fantastic, as do all the lighting fights. Warner Brothers has done a tremendous job on the Blu-ray so the video and audio quality are amazing. Its as if you’re watching a cartoon come to life. The sound quality is some of the best I have heard. You can hear all the effects, and flying sounds through your speakers. If the quality was not enough there are even special features, and yes, stay after the credits as well.
I am a fanboy for DC in terms of their comics, television shows, and animated films, but I have been very critical of there live action films. I’m not saying there is anything wrong making you films more adult, or with a darker tone. But there is nothing wrong going the family route either. Shazam is funny, exciting, and safe for the entire family. It was designed for a young audience and it delivered. Its just a well made well-acted film that every superhero fan young or old will enjoy. Pick it up.
Overall 3.5 out of 5 Stars!