If you’re looking for another dark and layered, angst-filled superhero tale – you’d better look somewhere else because Shazam!, the latest offering from DC comics, is all fun, all the time.
The story starts with 14-year-old foster kid Billy Batson (Asher Angel) looking for yet another new home. When he ends up with a loving family comprised of two former foster kids raising foster kids, you think he’s home free — until he meets a wizard on the subway and is imbued with magical powers.
It throws off his new life just a little.
The beauty of Billy’s magical powers lie in yelling the word Shazam! and immediately turning from 14-year-old boy into grown-up superhero (Zachary Levi) of the square-jawed, rippling muscles variety – think Big meets Superman.
Once he’s got his superpowers it’s up to new foster brother Freddie (Jack Grazer), a superhero fanatic, to help him navigate a steep learning curve.
Can he fly? Stop bullets? Become invisible? Charm girls? The possibilities are endless until a bad guy arrives. Big Bad is played by Mark Strong and he comes with demon forms of the seven deadly sins to do his bidding.
What he wants are Billy’s new powers so he can become unstoppable, but even a 14-year-old can figure out pretty quickly that’s a bad idea. In the end, Billy’s new family comes together in an unexpected way to help him save the day.
Shazam! is without a doubt the best DC movie since Wonder Woman. It is fun and lighthearted and doesn’t take itself too seriously.
It’s also filled with a feeling sorely missing from almost all superhero movies – joy! Most superheroes are tortured, do-gooders who HAVE to save the world. But Billy is a kid who GETS to save the world and that makes a huge difference. His superpowers are the best thing that’s ever happened to him, not the worst, and it makes his energy infectious.
Zachary Levi gives the best performance of his career as the big hero with a childlike spirit. Despite his very manly looks you never for a moment think he’s older than 14, a feat that’s harder than it seems. Angel and Grazer are a winning pair whose comedic timing and tone make the movie feel like Deadpool light (now for kids!).
This is a movie the entire family will love – including those who claim to hate superheroes. These man-boys will win you over with just one word – Shazam!
Vicky Sparks is a Bright’s Grove native and movie critic for Global TV’s The Morning Show, which airs nationally on Fridays. Her Journal Reviews cover movies playing at Galaxy Cinemas Sarnia