Tuesday, April 2, 2019

SHAZAM! - Movie Review (3.5/5 Stars)

By Hamza Shafique (Instagram / Facebook)

Shazam! is the seventh installment in the DC Extended Universe (DCEU) and with this one DCEU continues its track of decent entertainers that started with Wonder Woman. DC comic characters are more popular, unique and interesting compared to Marvel ones, but they always lacked great visual representation but now since that has been fixed we can enjoy these characters even more, which is the case here as well.

David F. Sandberg’s direction, Henry Gayden’s screenplay and a story by Gayden and Darren Lemke captures the essence of this comic book character really well which gets further enhanced by Zachary Levi’s portrayal of Shazam and performances by the principal cast. All these ingredients create a very balanced joyous super hero ride.

Screenplay revolves around Asher Angel and Zachary Levi as William "Billy" Batson / Shazam and has all the elements of an authentic origin story. We see Billy settling down in a new foster home, becoming Shazam and then finally facing the super villain. I am happy for once villain doesn’t have world ending agenda and even though both Hero and Villain possess the same powers as Superman and Zod, they still don’t end up smashing all the skyscrapers in the downtown making it a very easy on senses kind of experience.  Script is well paced and is very funny with the elements of situational humor that arises from the fact that we have a 14-year-old in an adult body with lots of super powers.

What I also liked about the film is that it has the tonal consistency when it comes to the characters and has a very lighter feel overall- I mean the climactic fight sequence is shot at a carnival and is more humorous than intense, its like all the focus is on delivering the jokes rather than the punches. For once in a comic book movie action sequences are not the highlight of the movie instead the comedic conversations between Shazam and his foster brother Freddy, played impressively by Jack Dylan Grazer, are the moments to look for.

Shazam has the lighter kids movie kind of feel, may be because all the leads are kids and also it has the lowest budget of all the DCEU movies plus all the other movies of this genre we have seen recently and that could be another reason for it to appear this way. Nevertheless, this is not a negative thing, I am just highlighting this to align expectations, as you will not get any eastern European cities being lifted in space or intergalactic travels, it is a very simple localized film.  This film has a very Harry Porter meets recent Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse kind of cool vibe and is continuously hilarious, throughout engaging and overall fun, I go with 3.5 stars.