DC movies have a tendency to lack a certain captivating aspect Marvel movies possess. Whether it is a good storyline, strong character development or something else, DC’s movies have been missing something since the "Batman" trilogy.
"Shazam!" came to theaters April 5, with DC’s best and newest material. While I am still partial to Robert Downey Jr.’s "Iron Man" or any of the "X-Men" films, this DC movie was unexpectedly impressive.
I am not suggesting I bought a movie ticket thinking I would hate it. I was definitely looking forward to it, considering it was a superhero movie in general, and I knew Zachary Levi was portraying adult-hero Shazam.
Additionally, I have loved Levi in other roles such as Chuck from the show "Chuck" and Flynn Rider from the movie "Tangled." His performance in the role of Shazam was equally as funny and skilled as his performance in "Chuck," for which I had hoped.
I got more than I bargained for with this movie. Based on DC’s history, something about the movies produced have been off in some way. This one not only included a great main actor, but introduced several other skilled actors as well. It also included an interesting storyline.
While the idea of a kid suddenly turning into an adult has been done in the past (such as "Big," "13 going on 30" or "Freaky Friday"), I cannot think of a time it was applied to a superhero. This alone made the storyline, as well as the script, so much more captivating, as the main character was always switching lives or roles.
The audience wanted to pay attention not only because the characters are developed, but because the plot line is as well.
The character Billy Batson, the kid who could turn into Shazam, was portrayed by Asher Angel, an actor I have never seen before, but who proved impressive nonetheless.
He played a child growing up, who was figuring out both what he wanted family to mean and what type of person he wanted to be. However, this role and storyline would not have been complete without the supporting characters, Batson’s siblings.
With Batson’s background of not only being a foster kid, but continuously running away from homes and trying to find his mother, becoming a member of such a large family originally seemed overwhelming and pointless.
It is incredibly difficult, and consequently rare, for movies to successfully develop this many characters. However, "Shazam!" gave each of Batson’s sisters and brothers a personality of their own, as well as a connection with him.
Jack Dylan Grazer, the actor portraying Freddy Freeman, one of Batson’s siblings and his best friend, did an outstanding job of not only playing the part, but adding to the story. He gave Batson his first personal and emotional connection relatable to all audience members.
Both the producer and director of the movie were new to me, as well as many of these actors. This is mostly due to my lack of willingness to watch a horror film, as Peter Safran has focused on producing movies like "The Nun" and "The Conjuring," while David Sandberg has directed "Annabelle: Creation" and "Lights Out."
Considering their strictly horror background, it was surprising that this film is actually funny. Even the villains are not scary when they should be.
The villains, in fact, were one of the few things I found annoying. The evil statues, for example, later turned into semi-decent bad guys made of smoke. However, at the beginning of the film, when they were still statues, they were not scary or dangerous-looking at all. They simply looked fake and low-budgeted.
The fight scene was the climax of the movie, but it also could have been improved upon. The fight scenes, as a whole, could have been executed better. This particularly showed through with the demonic villains in the end, really highlighting their cheesiness.
With all of this in consideration, this movie was still worth the watch. The end of the movie alone made sure of that, with the heartfelt love and care shown by this adorably mismatched family.
Though the bad guys looked cheesy during a good portion of the film, the movie was funny, entertaining and overall surprisingly good.
"Shazam!" is definitely a movie audiences will enjoy. However, the real success of the movie lies in its ability to gain the interest of Marvel fans and prompt them to find out more about the DC realm.