Most comic book movies are afraid to embrace the weird side of comics. Weird names, weird costumes, and weird ideas often get altered to make it seem a bit more mainstream. Dr. Doom’s name and origin are always changed, much to my chagrin. But Shazam, well Shazam was not afraid to accept the weird.
There is a silly looking wizard named Shazam, who is the last of a group of Wizards who protected the world from 7 demons that represent the seven deadly sins, but those demons escape and live in the eye of the main villain. That’s kind of weird, and I love it.
Shazam is a lot of fun. Zachary Levi is a joy to watch. He fits the role of Shazam, (Captain Sparklefingers?), perfectly. The movie is funny, charming, and has some fun action. I was never bored watching the movie, which is about all you can ask for from a movie like this.
The villain works for me. Mark Strong is obviously a good actor, they took the time to establish Dr. Sivana, and it paid off. He feels like a real threat and has a convincing motive.
But, there are some problems. I feel like there is a big disparity between how Billy acts when he is himself, and when he is Shazam. They feel like completely different characters to me, when Billy should have the same personality in both forms.
Also, none of the emotional moments hit me. The movie has charm and heart, but I never felt attached to the emotional conflicts. Whether it be Billy looking for his mom, or his random feud with Freddy that comes out of nowhere, it all falls flat. It feels forced to me as if they felt like they needed to even out the humor with some drama, but it just felt like they flipped a switch, it was not natural at all. The Freddy conflict, in particular, is super forced and comes out of nowhere.
Though while I was never very involved in the plot, I still enjoyed the movie. Sometimes a movie just needs to be fun, with no frills attached. I wouldn’t call the movie great, but it was good, and a damn good time. It is probably my favorite DC movie, though that isnt saying a whole lot. It still is nowhere near as good as the top Marvel movies, but it is on the level of an Ant-Man at least. DC is heading in the right direction. It is making movies people want to see and will leave being happy they saw now.