Coming to theaters from director David F. Sandberg, DC Entertainment and Warner Bros comes the story of a boy who is about to become the one and only “Shazam!”
Billy Batson (Asher Angel) is a young boy who has seen his chair of heartache. Lost from his mother when he was a child, Billy has bounced around the foster care system. He finds a family with Victor (Cooper Andrews) and Rosa (Marta Milans) who already have a full house.
He meets Freddy (Jack Grazer), Darla (Faithe Herman), Eugene (Ian Chen), Mary (Grace Fulton) and Pedro (Jovan Armand) who embrace him immediately. Trying to keep to himself, Billy has no luck as Freddy attaches himself quickly to his new brother.
But Billy has his own plan and has spent years trying to find the mother he lost so long ago. Carrying a list and coming to the end of it, he doesn’t know what to do next. That is until his new siblings offer a technological way to make his search easier and get to it.
While on a subway one day he is transformed into another world where the Wizard Shazam (Djimon Hounsou) tells Billy a story of how his world came to be. He also shares with the boy that all he has to do is say one word and the Wizard transfers his powers to Billy.
And now he is an adult in a superhero suit which freaks Billy (Zachary Levi) out immediately. He races home to tell Jack what has happened (who by the way is totally thrilled) and the two decide to have fun with social media. What the new suited Billy doesn’t know is that there is someone else wants the power.
Dr. Thaddeus Sivana (Mark Strong) has had his share of bad times with family and makes it clear to them that he is about to take over, well, everything. Finding his way to the world where the Wizard lives, he still resents not being chosen the Champion and instead releases the seven deadly sins and takes them to Billy’s world.
Billy doesn’t really want to fight Dr. Sivana but once the evilness comes for his new family, it is clear that not only does he finally feel up to the task but gets a few friends to get in on the fun!
Levi as the adult Shazam is very, very funny. This is what I love the most about Levi playing this character — he has the wonderful ability to look surprised like a kid, get upset like a kid, become giddy like a kid and ask questions like a kid all the while in the body of an adult. He made me laugh so much and when he comes to care for his new family — it is done as a kid’s heart. Levi has captured so much in the film and I had such a good time watching him develop this role.
Strong as Dr. Sivana is an actor I love to see what he will do with a character. Look at his acting resume if you want to see how he can be a gentle character, a complex character, a strong character and even a funny character. Trust when I say that when he wants to portray and evil character — he can do it and do it well. As Sivana he gets another chance to make a character his very own. Yea, I dig Mark Strong.
Angel as the young Billy is a resourceful and slightly angry young man who spends his time searching and keeping people at arms length. All that aside, Angel has a side that sneaks out to let us know that he is vulnerable no matter how hard he fights it.
Grazer as Freddy is the absolutely perfect sidekick for both Angel and Levi’s Billy/Shazam. He uses humor for the complications of his own life and although it doesn’t always work, he doesn’t lose it. Coming face to face with the other kids at school, it is when he is bullied that Billy sees they have more in common than he wanted to think.
Chen as Eugene is smart and loves a good challenge, Fulton as Mary is getting ready for college but can’t decide if that’s what she really wants, Armand as Pedro goes along to get along with the sibling group. It is Herman as Darla is the absolute cuteness of the group. She embraces Billy from day one and even when he gives her the cold-shoulder this young girl still radiates love.
Cooper as Victor and Milan as Rosa are happy with the home they’ve created. From the beginning they accepted Billy with all of his emotional standoffishness and believed that in time he would just blend into their already blended family.
Hounsou as the Wizard Shazam gets a chance to wear cheeky robes and wave around a walking stick that I’m sure he stole from Gandalf the Grey. He has the voice to share the scary story of why he is in the house of empty thrones and wicked statues so that’s cool.
Other cast include Ava Preston as Lillian, Meagan Good as Darla, Evan Marsh as Burke Breyer, Natalia Safran as Mrs. Sivana, Andi Osho as Ms. Glover, Carson MacCormac as Brett Bryer, Sarah Bennani as Simone, Ali Badsha as Mehmet Kotil, and David J. MacNeil as Mr. Bryer.
FINAL WORD: This is our introduction to a new superhero with “Shazam!” I will admit that I kind of see him as a clean cut and child like Deadpool. Now understand there is nothing wrong with that at all except their comic homes are in different universes. Besides that, this is a fun film and I would absolutely recommend it for families.
Because of the kid/adult transformation, there are jokes, fun and situations that almost everyone can relate too. The audience I saw the film with didn’t hide their excitement about seeing the film and during spend their time laughing, applauding and smiling from ear to ear.
That’s what these films are all about, having a good time and doing it with family and friends. “Shazam!” is a film where it’s O.K. to act a little giddy and maybe even a little kid-ish and nobody will mind in the slightest.
In the end — if you want to save the world just say the magic word!