My first encounter with Shazam! was when the trailer came out last summer. I mentioned in commentary, it reminded me of Big. Two kids, one becomes an adult overnight and hilarity ensures. Add in superpowers and it all sounded like a lot of fun. I got to see the movie last week, so here's a spoiler free look at Shazam!
I ended up reading more about Shazam! after seeing the movie, originally known as Captain Marvel, his powers come from saying the magic word "SHAZAM!" which is an acronym of the six immortal elders:
These powers include: the Wisdom of Solomon, the superhuman Strength of Hercules, the superhuman Stamina of Atlas (near-limitless resilience), the Powers of Zeus (lightning control and magical resistance), the courage of Achilles (and near indestructibility), and the superhuman speed of Mercury (which also provides flight).
A decent set of 'powers' to have, and with the ability to change in and out of hero mode in an instant, he's a very versatile hero. But as a character created around 80 years ago, the costume looked very dated and given it seemed to be set in the same universe as the rest of the DC movies it was interest to see that it seemed to be quite faithful. It wasn't anywhere near as dark as other characters which is hopefully a sign of DC moving in the right direction towards their own look and feel. The Dark Knight trilogy was one thing, self contained, but nothing they've created since has had to feel as dark.
I've seen Shazam! referred to as DC's Deadpool and while the comparison is fair in terms of how light hearted they both are, it's an odd comparisoo to make because of how far Ryan Reynolds and Marvel took the Deadpool character. They decided to push things as much as possible and created a set of films that are very dark and self aware. DC played it safe and it worked.
I was expecting something in the vain of Superman meets Big. An origin story built around two friends. Turns out friends might be a strong word in respects but overall it was what I had expected it to be which was great. In some respects it was more and certainly a bit darker in some places.
Watching a 15 year-old in a 30-something body was fun to see, especially when trying to figure out his various powers. There are some great scenarios we find Shazam! in, dealing with both the villain and others throughout the film.
I think it was better than Captain Marvel, but that was a film that had a bit of baggage around it. I have yet to see Aquaman but as 'modern' DC films go, it was up high up the list for me.
Overall, I really enjoyed the movie, sold by everyone's performance except perhaps Mark Strong who didn't seem to work as well as Zachary Levi did as Shazam!
Sequels & Black Adam
Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson was cast as supper villain Black Adam some time ago now and it was expected he'd make an appearance but as Shazam! moved forward, a decision was made to keep the characters apart for now and bring them together at a later date.
The Rock and Zachary Levi look like two that would work very well together but we'll have to wait to see how it turns out.
I came across this fan poster on Tumblr showing Tom Hanks as Shazam! which looked great followed by this one, which is filled with spoilers.
Realised I had forgotten to mention how Shazam! fits into the DC universe. Both Superman and Batman are referenced which is an interesting take. Man of Steel aside, the other recent DC movies haven't been anywhere near as good as Marvel's offerings but Shazam! is hopefully a sign of what they might be moving towards.
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