3 1/2 Stars
Shazam, the world’s mightiest mortal, gets his own vehicle in this blast of a film that brings a sense of fun back to the modern era superhero movie. While Superman and Batman busy themselves battling one another on a rain-soaked battlefield, drenched in nihilism, the second tier of DC Comic characters ave revitalizing the brand.
Billy Batson (Zachary Levi) is an orphaned teenager running wild in the city of Philadelphia. His mischievous antics have landed him in the care of a new foster family. Now, saddled with a new set of parents and siblings, Billy promptly runs away from home. This leads to a meeting with an ancient wizard in which the teenager is transformed into a fully grown superhero.
Shazam! is the (seemingly) rare superhero movie in which the titular character actually enjoys being a superhero. The bleak tone of the Christopher Nolan Batman trilogy has informed the Superman franchise and the current iteration of Batman films. Even the lightly toned ‘Phase One’ of the MCU presented us with a collection of reluctant heroes. In today’s cynically minded era of cinema, it’s beyond refreshing to see a popcorn movie about someone who enjoys being a superhero, as much as we would.
Director: David F. Sandberg
Stars: Zachary Levi, Mark Strong, Asher Angel