Dark, moody, serious – these are the factors that you won’t find in Shazam! the new standalone superhero adventure from Warner Bros. Starring Asher Angel and Zachary Levi, the new film tackles the story of DC’s Captain Marvel, although he won’t be called that due to rather recent and obvious reasons.
The main takeaway from the film is that like Aquaman, it doesn’t take itself too seriously, which was an issue that plagued much of the DCEU under Zack Snyder. Judging by the A Cinemascore of Shazam! and the impressive box-office returns of Aquaman, it seems audiences like this new tone too.
Directed by David Sandberg, Shazam! revolves around Billy Batson, a troubled orphan who is bestowed incredible super powers by a wizard. The only problem is, he has to discover just what they are through the help of a friend, who is obsessed with superheroes.
What follows next is pretty much run-of-the-mill gags and jokes seen in films like BIG and 13 Going on 30, you know a teen instantaneously thrust into adulthood. Except in Batson’s case he gets to fly and shoot electricity out of his hands amongst other things.
But nothing is as straight forward in any superhero film and before long; he has to contend with an arch nemesis named Thaddeus Sivana, who also boasts similar powers as he. In the villain’s case, his tie-in and obsession with the hero’s origins, whichis established early on in the film.
Although formulaic – it also covers the whole great power, great responsibility shtick – Shazam! still comes across as fresh and truly funny. Levi, an obvious choice for the part, is in his element playing the man child superhero.
Overall, the light-hearted tone and feel good factor of the film should warrant a viewing on the big screen. It’s also got a cool cameo and an end credit scene that does make you wonder where exactly the DCEU is heading towards or if its interconnected at all.
Perhaps we will know the answer when Wonder Woman 1984 hits cinemas next year. But for now, the DC superhero universe seems to be in a good place.
Popcorn Review: Lightly Sweet & Fresh