Movie Review – “Shazam!”

What do you get when you combine the wisdom of Solomon, the strength of Hercules, the stamina of Atlas, the power of Zeus, the courage of Achilles, and the speed of Mercury? The best DC comics superhero movie since Wonder Woman, that’s what!

Cast and Crew Information

Asher Angel as Billy Batson
Zachary Levi as Shazam (or Captain Marvel, if you prefer, but the movies will never use that name. Unless Disney buys Warner Brothers, too.)
Djimon Hounsou as The Wizard
Mark Strong as Dr. Thaddeus Sivana
Jack Dylan Grazer as Freddy Freeman
Marta Milans as Rosa Vasquez
Cooper Andrews as Victor Vasquez
Grace Fulton as Mary Bromfield
Ian Chen as Eugene Choi
Faithe Herman as Darla Dudley
Jovan Armand as Pedro Pena
John Glover as another Sivana

Screenplay by Henry Gayden
Story by Henry Gayden and Darren Lemke
Directed by David F. Sandberg

Availability Information

Although many cities had early screenings on March 23, the wide release is on April 5.


An old wizard is being extremely picky when choosing his champion. When the forces of evil choose theirs, the champion for good needs to be chosen quickly, but was he chosen correctly?

High Point

We get another great DC superhero movie. They had great stuff on every size screen years before Marvel did, but their recent output has been… inconsistent. You can relax.

Low Point

Mark Strong plays a villain powered by cloud monsters. Gee, we’ve never seen that before…

The Review

The originality of an adapted work is always limited, but this doesn’t feel quite like any other Marvel or DC movie I’ve seen. Sure, there are elements of the origin story that echo the hero’s journey, but as soon as you dig into specific details, it goes in very different directions. It’s a superhero movie that has something to say but doesn’t beat you over the head with the message. I give it 5 out of 6.

The effects are well done. They are entirely seamless in this one, and that’s what they need to be for something on this scale. I give it 6 out of 6.

The story is well structured, with layers and meanings if you want to dig for them. The movie is not as funny as the first trailer would have you believe, but that’s not to say the jokes don’t work. The jokes they include work very well, but they come less frequently here than they do in that trailer. Instead, we get a story with actual depth that uses humour to good effect. I give it 5 out of 6.

The acting is well done. We have a lot of young actors in this, which is always risky, but nobody lets the movie down. Mark Strong was the best thing in the Green Lantern movie, and while he’s not as well developed here, he doesn’t disappoint. More importantly, Zach Levi personifies the “boy trapped in a man’s body” very nicely. He’s got this character down pat. I give it 5 out of 6.

The production is high quality. The bulk of David F. Sandberg’s directorial career seems to be in smaller, independent films, and he brought his crews with him for cinematography and editing. It’s a talented team that will be able to demand higher paycheques after this job. I give it 5 out of 6.

The emotional response is great. This could be the first superhero movie you’ve ever seen, and it’ll work. This could be your first introduction to Billy Batson, and it’ll work. If, however, you are already familiar with previous DC films and with the source material, you’ll catch so much more. Example from the first 30 minutes: they attend Fawcett Central School. I give it 5 out of 6.

Overall, it’s a much needed win for the DCEU, about as good as that other movie with a superhero named Captain Marvel that’s out right now. I give it 5 out of 6.

In total, Shazam! receives 36 out of 42.

Addendum: How I Rank DCEU Movies

My personal ranking of the recent DCEU movies, aside from the deliberately omitted Aquaman because I have yet to see it, is as follows:

  1. Wonder Woman
  2. Shazam!
  3. Justice League
  4. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
  5. Man of Steel
  6. Suicide Squad

5 replies on “Movie Review – “Shazam!””

    • I would agree, but I suspect the gap after #1 and 2 (assuming I agree with Fiz’s assessment of Shazam!) is large, and even larger before the last three on the list.

  1. See, this is why I hat trailers. I was subjected to the trailer for this one when watching Captain Marvel, and it made it seem like the stupidest movie I’d ever seen. I had absolutely no plan or desire to ever watch it.

    Now I might actually watch it once it’s on home release.

    • They appear to have radically reimagined Dr. Sivana!

      Part of the problem with this Captain Marvel is he was written with a light-hearted, cartoony touch. Since his acquisition by DC in the 1970s, it’s been difficult to fit him into a more grim world of superheroes.

      The trailer looked to me like the film strikes the right tone, if the intention was to be in keeping with the original comic-books. I will be seeing it.

      I don’t suppose there’s a scene involving a 1973 Dodge Open Road RV?

      Although I am more interested in this other little superhero movie coming out in April.

  2. And….. they found the right tone. Bits are a tiny bit dark for what is at heart a kids’ movie, but really, this is a fun superhero movie that shows DC/Warner can pull it off when they hire people who understand the source material, whether that’s a Dark Knight or a Big Red Cheese.

    Also— I like Marvel, but they’ve been dicks about the use of the name.

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