Shazam! zaps audience with energy and laughter

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Courtesy screenshot / MovieAccessTrailers
After a visit with a wizard, Billy Batson, played by Asher Angel, gets superpowers.

Superheroes and comic book movies have come a long way from the “Batman” television show of the ‘60s to the world-building “Avengers” movies. These movies come in different shapes and sizes. Each of them offers a unique dimension to the comic book genre. Hitting theaters in between two major Marvel premieres “Captain Marvel” and “Avengers Infinity War: Endgame,” “Shazam!” brings a much needed breath of fresh air in the midst of the recent somber and serious comic book adaptations.

“Shazam!” is a story of Billy Batson, played by Asher Angel, a foster kid who gets superpowers after a visit with a wizard. With the powers, he can transform himself into a superhero played by Zachary Levi, by saying the word “Shazam.” With his newly gained power, he must fight off the evil villain Doctor Sivana, played by Mark Strong, and his crew of the seven deadly sins to save the world from trouble.

The David Sandberg-directed film brings a healthy dose of nostalgia to the superhero genre. While not all people are familiar with the character of Shazam, it is easy to feel a sense of campy, childlike action fun. It is the type of movie one would find on the Disney Channel or Cartoon Network. The movie has just the right amount of lightheartedness that the recent hero films are dialing down. As much as DC Comics is pushing for its own version of a cinematic universe, “Shazam!” looks like it can stand on its own without the help of other movies in the same franchise. In other words, it can be enjoyed by people without having to watch the other DC Comics cinematic properties.

Courtesy screenshot / Warner Bros. Pictures
Shazam!, played by Zachary Levi, and Freddy Freeman, played by Jack Dylan Grazer, have fun testing out Shazam!’s new powers.

People can walk into the movie with an expectation of watching an action film. With the label “superhero movie,” moviegoers might be disappointed with the lack of breathtaking action scenes or heart-pounding battles. Although “Shazam!” is not entirely an action movie, it is completely humor driven.

When viewed under a comedic angle, the movie is astonishingly well-made, and the jokes elevate the movie’s campiness in the best way possible. The audience can find themselves laughing along with instances where Batson has to familiarize himself with his superpowers and the new identity of “Shazam.” They can chuckle at the remarks that characters make and the “feel-good” sense of the film.

All the actors in the movies deliver energetic performances with on point comedic timing. Levi is the perfect casting choice for Batson’s alter ego Shazam. The role requires Levi to have a childlike personality, and he did a fantastic job with the role. The child actors also bring a considerable amount of talent to the table, and the chemistry between the teenagers are believable. Doctor Sivana is the best villain that DC Comic has offered to the big screen yet. He is intimidating and commands respect every time he is on screen.

While excelling at humor, the movie can also run the risk lacking drama. Sometimes the joke can eclipse the more emotional aspects of the film. While the movie’s message about family is delivered tastefully, it does not pack as much of a punch simply because at times, the comedic moments are that much stronger. The message is clear by itself, just not as powerful as the quip that the characters exchange. But still, the movie is a great package as a whole and promises a well-made cinematic escapade to fans.

“Shazam!” is perfect for teens and young-spirited adults. The movie delivers humor remarkably well. With the new superhero adventure sweeping through theaters worldwide, movie lovers and comic book geeks alike will have a strong entertainment candidate for a night out.