Random Thoughts on Shazam

Shazam Movie Review

Shazam is a delightful movie that’s full of joy and wonder. It has a lighthearted tone that’s deftly balanced by weighty consequences. It’s also the best film in the DC Extended Universe (DCEU).

Unlike previous DCEU efforts, Shazam isn’t hampered by dull moments sandwiched by great scenes (Wonder Woman). It doesn’t suffer from action that’s distractingly frenzied and Patrick Wilson yelling as if he graduated from Vegeta’s School of Melodramatic Screaming (Aquaman). The other DCEU movies…the less said about them, the better.

Shazam is funny, exciting, and captivating. It does very little wrong and does so many things right. You should see it. Now in the grand RPadTV of binary lists, here are some random thoughts on the wonderful Shazam movie. [Spoilers are about to strike like lightning. Preterite mode engaged.]

Shazam Movie Review lightning
Lightning in my hands!

A Slow Start (Bad) — The one thing I didn’t like about Shazam was its setup. It took too long to establish the characters of Billy Batson (the titular hero) and Dr. Thaddeus Sivana (the villain). With a runtime of 132 minutes, the beginning of the movie felt unnecessarily long. Thankfully, the rest of the film more than makes up for its slow start.

Surprisingly Dark (Good) — Given the nature of the character and the carefree tone of the trailers, I was surprised by Shazam’s darkness. Project leaders get disintegrated like Thanos victims like nazis in Raiders of the Lost Ark. Executives get decapitated and thrown out of skyscrapers. The wicked moments are infrequent but effective.

Faithful to the Comics (Good) — The Shazam movie borrows heavily from the hero’s New 52 reboot. For the most part, the character is close enough to the source material to keep purists happy. The story also has enough original elements that help it stand on its own, but also connect it to the rest of the DCEU.

Shazam Movie Review Sivana
Bald guys are almost always evil in TV/movies.

Family Matters (Good) — I was surprised (pleasantly) that the movie used the entire Marvel Family as much it did. I was expecting them to pop up at the very end or in a post-credits scene. Instead, they were a key part of the movie’s third act. As a comics nerd, I really appreciated how faithful they were to their New 52 counterparts (Darla’s speed, Pedro’s strength, Eugene’s nerdiness, etc.).

A Man Called Meng (Good) — The kids’ foster father was great…but also distracting. The actor, Cooper Andrews, looks like Meng. As a pro-wrestling mark, my mind drifted to a sitcom about Meng raising a bunch of foster children. (That show would rule, btw.) On a slightly related note, the kid that plays Billy Batson (Asher Angel) looks like a boy version of Arya Stark.

Shazam Soars Above the Rest of the DCEU

I had high expectations for Shazam. I’m a fan of the comics and the trailers hooked me. Shazam is the first DCEU movie that exceeded my expectations. It’s clearly the best DCEU movie to date. Wonder Woman was slightly overrated because Warners set the bar so low with Batman v Superman and Suicide Squad. Aquaman got the benefit of the doubt for not being as crappy as Justice League. Shazam leaves the previous DCEU movies in the dust and holds its own against any superhero movie, save for Marvel’s very best.

I hope to see more Marvel Family in future DCEU films. For now, I’m happy to pay money to see Shazam again in theaters. That’s the first time I’ve felt that way about a DCEU movie. Holy moly.