Saturday, July 11, 2020

Review Shazam! (2019)

#Shazam (2019): 6/10

Shazam! is DC’s latest attempt to break the mould and try something a bit different and new. Billy Batson (Asher Angel) is chosen as champion and entrusted with god-like powers and must stop Thaddeus Sivana (Mark Strong), who has taken the Eye Of Envy containing the power and spirits of the Seven Deadly Sins, but in truth Billy is more concerned with finding his estranged mother whom he lost as a child.

Anyone who has seen the trailer will already know what to expect from Zachary Levi (‘Chuck’) as the film’s more adult Billy Batson. He provides most of the film’s energy and wit, and is impressive in the role. There are a plethora of neat pop culture references too, with many aimed at other DC icons, although at times the tone of these scenes does teeter on the edge of silliness.

It’s the story of “young” Billy finding himself and his relationship with his foster family that proves the real charm of the film. Asher Angel (‘Andi Mack’) is endearing as the younger Billy, fed up of the foster system as he continues to be thrown from one family to the other, and untrusting of those around him. Billy warms to his new foster family, just as we do. All play their part and are great throughout, in particular foster brother Freddy, played by Jack Dylan Grazer, who has great on-screen chemistry with both Billy actors. When looking to cast a worthy villain though, Mark Strong probably wouldn’t be at the top of your wish list. After roles in comedy films such as ‘Grimsby’ and ‘Kingsman’ where he really brought something to the film, his performance here feels largely underwhelming and generic.

Overall, it’s a mixed bag. A film that is charming when it wants to be, quick-witted in some places, silly in others. It’s a refreshing change from the relentless Marvel production line though, which can only be a good thing. Be sure to stick around for a double helping of post credit scenes.

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