“Shazam!” Delights DC Viewers [Opinion]


Credit to Warner Brothers

Image from the “Shazam” movie website, owned by Warner Brothers

By Michael Willmann, FHNToday Reporter

Overall Score: 7.8/10

If there was one word that could describe how I felt after seeing DC’s newest release, it would be “surprised”- and in the positive way. Considering DC’s current track record, I was not expecting much. With both Aquaman and the Justice League being some major disappointments, I went into Shazam! with some rather low expectations. After viewing the trailer, I had it in my mind that it was either going to be a moderate thriller or a corny failure- and I was fully expecting the latter. Yet to my pleasant surprise, I found that neither was true. Instead, I found a genuine superhero movie that wasn’t just a thriller. It had a believable storyline with characters that seemed to develop in a believable manner as the story progressed. While there were corny moments directed at younger audiences, there were plenty of other moments that made the movie quite unique and were enjoyable for all viewers. While I found the movie slow to start with, it did gradually make its way into the thick of it and the action really starts to pick up around the end.

This movie is definitely an improvement for DC. As I mentioned earlier, I was fully expecting some corny plot line that was all too predictable and rather a bore for the audience as the characters yelled out senselessly cheesy one-liners. I do think that Henry Gayden, a rather lesser-known writer, did a pretty good job with working alongside Director David Sandberg to provide viewers with a family-friendly and entertaining story, full of all kinds of moral stories and just the right amount of action and entertainment. Here’s a quick synopsis: Billy Batson, an orphan who jumps around different foster homes ever since he was young, finds his activities interrupted when he is suddenly selected for his purity by an old wizard to carry on his kind. He must not only cope with his new family, but with the reality that he now has new powers and a strong sense of responsibility with them. He must choose between using his powers selfishly or for the benefit of others around him, all while struggling with his childish attitude to perform mischief and fend for himself.

While I do think that the story starts off slow, the comedy thrown into the movie at the start makes up for it. Sandberg really knows how to sharpen up a dull moment and is quick to add a little bit of laughter after any particularly dull or slow scenes to keep the audience’s attention. Most of the jokes flow naturally into the story and don’t feel like they’re forcefully shoved into the audiences faces for them to “enjoy.” I know at my theater there was a great amount of genuine laughter- something that DC movies have always really failed to do, especially Justice League, the humor in that movie was horribly stale.

While Shazam does really focus around the story more than the action, which is something I enjoy, that doesn’t mean that there is a lack of said action. It just takes a while to get to it. Most of the movie will involve exposition and long sequences of Billy struggling to gain a handle on his powers alongside one of his foster siblings. Once viewers get through all of that, though, the action hits hard and fast. I have seen many people out there complaining that the special effects used to create the main villains feels “childish,” and I just absolutely have to disagree. I thought the CGI used to create the villains was rather stunning, and they did a wonderful job of making the “7 Sins” look exactly as horrifying as they sound.

To wrap it all up, I think that Shazam is a huge improvement for DC. If all of their single-hero movies were this entertaining, I feel like DC would have a much larger following, especially if they followed the MCU’s guide where they gradually interconnected them instead of just throwing them all together into a movie with rather little explanation or build up. The movie was entertaining, comedic and has caught my attention. Instead of averting it, I am now excited for DC’s next hit- and eagerly await a Shazam sequel.