I was lucky enough to score tickets to an otherwise packed early screening of SHAZAM! and boy howdy, I feel that this movie did not disappoint.
Unlike the MCU films, Shazam! was not restrained by the in-movie canon set up by all of the other ones. There were passing references to Batman and Superman, as well as Aquaman, but they never detracted from the film itself, and really allowed it to be its own movie, with its own problems, unhindered by 20 other films in which it had established canon to adhere to.
Billy is lovable, as are all of his adopted siblings – all the kids really knocked it out of the park. Zachary Levi’s performance was hilarious, balancing the awkwardness of being a child in an adult body perfectly. I was concerned about second-hand embarrassment, but I didn’t catch any, which is a real testament to the writing team. The difficulties of being a foster kid with a bad reputation, and not fitting in anywhere was masterfully done. The family scenes hit home in a way that I haven’t seen or felt in a superhero movie for a long time. The whole foster family is delightful, I am particularly enamoured with Billy’s foster parents. And Darla. Darla is the cutest thing ever. I would protect her with my life.
I laughed OUT LOUD in a packed cinema and had so much fun at the film, I almost forgot this was a DC franchise. The film was colorful and bright, and even in the darker places, it was never washed out.
The cinematography was awesome, the fight scenes were clean and entertaining and the whole thing moved along at such a good clip, even the slower moments in the film felt natural and didn’t drag on too long. I would have happily sat through another hour of the story but at 2 hours and 12 minutes run time, I think it was perfect as it was.
I am not particularly familiar with Shazam! as a character, but the film was a competent origin story, and it never felt like it was bogged down by being just an origin story. It was compelling enough to keep me entertained. I do know, however, that the lack of Black Adam is going to be a turn off for hardcore fans, but I think what they did was excellent.
I feel like this was damn close to a perfect movie, and it’s currently in my top-3 superhero films. I highly recommend it, and if I can swing it, I will definitely go see it a second time.