I was fortunate enough to watch an early screening of the Zachary Levi fronted superhero offering from DC comics entitled SHAZAM. Fandango events rule!
I like to go into each film I view with a fresh mind and zero expectations. I have to be honest and admit that wasn’t the case with SHAZAM. Why? Well, to understand that you’ll have to know where I’m coming from. So allow me to give a little insight into my mental state and personal history regarding this particular title.
It was amazing. Michael Gray (Billy Batson), Jackson Bostwick (SHAZAM) and Johanna Cameron (Isis, who I had a terrible crush on. Nearly as bad as my Wonder Woman crush) -had myself and siblings pretending to be superheroes from a very young age. My younger brother or one of my friends would be Billy and when he got into trouble he shouted, “SHAZAM!” I would pop out from somewhere (from a bush or behind a tree which he would then duck behind) wearing a cape (white pillow case tied around my neck) ready to beat up the bad guy. My sister was Isis and helped me out.
Decades later (90’s) I worked in a comic shop. Let’s be honest. During the 90’s it was all about X-Men, The Death Of Superman, Spiderman and anything Batman. Other hot titles included Spawn, Death, Sandman, Lady Death, Vampirella and The Crow. (And too many others to get into) My point is Shazam wasn’t one of the main titles back then but I still held a soft spot for him. I hadn’t been able to afford or regularly read comics before working at that beautiful store so I spent my free time catching up on all the Shazam comics I’d missed.
Fast forward to 3/21/2019 at 7:pm. I’m sitting in the theater trying to have no expectations or hopes. I’m trying to go in with a clean slate and just let the movie speak to me. FAIL. I cannot contain my excitement. I’m that guy. I showed up at the theater wearing Black Adam colors (superhero boots and all) in my new Shazam shirt.
I was ready. But was the movie ready for me? I had PLANNED to go in unbiased but honestly I couldn’t. I didn’t really know who any of the actors involved were besides Mark Strong and Djimon Hounsou (both have always been brilliant in whatever they do and this was no exception).
I realize I’m SUPPOSED to know who Zachary Levi is from some TV show called Chuck, but I only remember seeing like half an episode before life got in the way; so I never went back to watching it. Kinda like Star Trek: Discovery. It never left a strong enough impression on me to make it a point to continue. Now it may have been different with Discovery if Michelle Yeoh had made it past the second episode… But whatever. Time is important to me so I’m pretty picky about committing to TV shows. Not saying Chuck or STD aren’t great. They may be, but I’ll never know.
So here I am at the at the screening already conflicted because I’ve got no clue who this main actor dude is but I’m also totally excited to see Shazam hit the big screen anyway. The Godzilla: King of the Monsters preview was totally lit so my mood evened out once the movie began.
I should note that I went and saw the film with my friend and coworker Charles Epps. He was openly excited. I wanted to be but was trying not to be angry over my outfit. Yes yes yes in the pic I’m wearing a brand new overpriced SHAZAM shirt I’d bought just minutes before at FYE; but that’s not what I was SUPPOSED to be wearing. My intended outfit was a full, comics version, SHAZAM costume complete with cape and boots! I paid for expedited shipping from COSSHOW so it would arrive a week before the Fandango Early Showing but my suit never came. I still believe I would have looked BADASS in it. FIGHT ME!
After the movie I was livid that I wasn’t wearing my SHAZAM suit because of how much I genuinely enjoyed the show. That’s right. I LOVED IT! I intended to go in my comic accurate SHAZAMMIES and rip the movie to shreds frame by frame. That’s definitely not what happened here.
So this “Chuck” dude got all Henry Cavill levels of buff for the role. I instantly respect that because it requires a type of dietary discipline and physical dedication that I currently do not possess. I’d intentionally stayed away from trailers so I had no idea if he could actually act. Pleased to say that everyone in the film shined, especially Zachary Levi.
I’m not into spoiling a great experience for anyone. So you’re just going to get the broad strokes from me. What you need to know is that youthful energy and wonder have returned to superhero movies in a big way. Especially in the from of Spiderman: Into The Spiderverse and DC’s last three outings. Wonder Woman, Aquaman and now (especially) Shazam let you be a kid again. What I mean is the movie brings you along on a fun and imperfect journey of a kid who suddenly receives Godlike abilities.
He’s not a perfect kid either. He’s got flaws. Lots of them. But with the help of new friends and a family he initially doesn’t even want he finds his way; and the audience is allowed to find their way with young Billy Batson.
See that??? I gave away too much! My point is GO SEE IT!!! Take the whole family! SHAZAM offers the kind of feeling one had gotten watching Goonies, Gremlins or Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. I was able to fall in love with every single character just like in the movie Stand By Me. And I will confidently bring my girls to my next viewing knowing they’ll love it as much as I do.
So there it is! That was my quick and dirty spoiler free review of SHAZAM! I didn’t want to overthink things and hit you with every comic book accuracy and inaccuracy just like the vids other reviewers are currently releasing because this kind of movie doesn’t require overthinking. Just pay the quarter, turn off your brain, take the ride and enjoy the show with your whole family! Checkout Shazam on the IMDB website for more information.
By Lord Veil
UPDATE: I TOLD YOU I’D LOOK BADASS IN MY SHAZAM SUIT AND YOU CAN’T SAY OTHERWISE FOR NO WORDS CAN TARNISH MY SHINE!!!!