Regrettably, I didn’t see Shazam! in the theatres, although it was not because of lack of interest on my part. It just didn’t work out. Thankfully I was finally able to see the movie.
Shazam (originally known as Captain Marvel) is in some ways similar to Superman (there was once even a lawsuit). However, he is different, and not just because of magic vs science. Instead of putting on glasses to pretend to be someone else, he really is a teenager named Billy Batson, who magically becomes an adult superhero.
I was familiar with Shazam’s origin story but it was done in a fresh way. Sivana originally had the opportunity to get the powers but was found unworthy. Sivana, after becoming an adult, finds another way to get the power he wanted.
This Sivana is quite a bit different from the Sivana I grew up with. Instead of being a generic bald mad scientist, he is a physically imposing villain with magic powers that rival Shazam. In some ways he was a one dimensional character, but the rest of the movie made up for it.
Shazam! is really a movie about family. It begins with Sivana’s dysfunctional family. Then we get Billy’s quest to find his true mom and then his placement into a foster family. This foster family ends up being one of the highlights of the movie. I loved the relationship between Billy and Freddy.
Billy gets the powers of Shazam but ends up using them the way a young teenager would likely use them. We get to watch his maturity develop, even if we have to watch him run away from the villain first.
The move is full of both laughs and action. My kids absolutely loved it, but it is not just for kids. There is plenty of story that is aimed at adults.
Even though this is technically the lowest grossing DCEU movie, I consider it to definitely be one of the best so far.
PS As a long-time comic book fan, I was amused that there were both Captain Marvel and Shazam! movies playing in the theatres at the same time.