“Shazam!” is the latest of DC Extended Universe films and is directed by David F. Sandberg. Henry Gayden produced the screenplay in which he co-developed the story with Darren Lemke. Zachary Levi and Asher Angel share the role of Billy Batson who is bestowed with the power of Shazam. Mark Strong is cast as the villain of Dr. Thaddeus Sivana, who almost had the power when he was a child but let himself fall into the temptations of imprisoned beings known as the Seven Deadly Sins. Jack Dylan Grazer plays Billy’s foster brother and fledgling guide as Billy tries to understand his new powers.
Shazam! was not a series I followed as a kid, so I missed out on a lot of understanding of the characters and background here. I am not sure the script did a great job to service such newbies as myself in this one.
There are a lot of really funny moments in this film, but the coherence in the story wasn’t all that consistent. Levi did hit the mark as a child trying to get used to an adult body much as was seen with Tom Hanks in “Big”. However, he also has to contend with rather erratic and diverse superpowers. There was a lot of Asher Angel, who I thought was rather engaging himself as the teen-aged Billy Asher. Actually, the kids in the foster home were rather charming. The most charming being that of Faithe Herman as Darla Dudley.
Just as a side note, it was nice to see foster parents portrayed as people who actually cared deeply for their young charges. Cooper Andrews and Marta Milans play the couple who take on the admirable task of fostering children who are either orphaned or come from other troubling circumstances.
Shazam! may not have a very coherent backstory in the comic books for I know , so this may have been the best the writer could do.
The visual effects were fine. After a while, that can be reasonably expected to be the case in this genre of film.
Anyway, it’s a pretty fun movie with solid casting, but I wouldn’t expect it to make a whole lot of sense.