You had me at superhero tropes satire and a bold/t but fashionable costume.
What would you do if you could turn into a bigger, super muscular and super powered version of yourself? From revenge on bullies to supervillains to charging phones, Shazam (Zachary Levi) is a 14-year-old kid turned superhero and he is having a blast with his new abilities.
Because it simply is that annoying time of the year, many of you might be joining me in a seasonal feeling-down period. And though Vienna is serving some delicious weather lately, it is just as recharging to see a feel-good movie that makes you laugh as it is to soak up some sunshine. So if the loud city sounds outside your window can make you angry, like me, consider treating yourself with Shazam! – a movie both sad and uplifting.
“Feel-good” in this sense is free of all negative connotation that some might have with the phrase, equating it with lack of sophistication or the oh-so-important gravitas. Shazam! will punch you with some harsh realities and very relatable conflicts within and among its main characters. This includes abandonment and the desperate path to find approval, as well as making yourself heard and feel part of a family. However, a specific part of life and society deservedly earns the spotlight: foster care. Centering around foster parents and their newly welcomed children, you can see the caring approach from the people involved in this project because they tried to give a 360 view of the entire experience and the emotions each of the partipants might feel. All of which is concluded with the message of family as something that you can build on your own and don’t necessarily need the bond of blood relation for.
“I’m a foster mom. What’s your superpower?”
And because it has touched my heart and made me frown, it is even sweeter how much it made me laugh. Jack Dylan Grazer is a star. If you haven’t fallen in love with him yet, where have you been? He has charisma and authentic acting abilities for days. In this movie, he plays the somewhat helpless Freddy Freeman who is an expert on all things superheroes and teaches Shazam how to use his powers. His performance will absolutely charm you, showing similarities to Adam Brody’s character Seth in the O.C. series (*wink wink* you’ll know later). Billy Batson (Asher Angel) is his counterpart (also very Ryan-ish), a quippy young chap who bends the rules and knows how to handle trouble (think young Nathan Drake from Uncharted 3). When Billy gets turned into his red-spandexed alter ego, all kinds of shenanigans ensue. Their dynamic is classic but refreshing, their enthusiasm and energy basically as contagious as Measles.
Referencing different properties in this review is quite the appropriate move since Shazam! includes innuendos and openly stated nods to other movies like Harry Potter or Rocky and many more. And in the midst of all this is Zachary Levi (Shazam) who nails brawns, brains, charm, navité, wisdom and comedy all while wearing a ridiculous costume. On the other end of the spectrum is Dr. Thaddeus Sivana (Mark Strong) who seriously needs to loosen up and is desperate for a hug. While his stoic front is a little intimidating, he hardly poses a real threat rather than helping the others to fully unfold their powers. Still, opposites are funny so he helps Shazam to shine even brighter as the exuberant and lovely character he is. However old-school their good vs evil constellation may be, it is well executed and adds sophisticated lore bits and pieces every now and then.
Where is your home? Have you found your lair yet? Go and see Shazam! to find out whether its protagonists can answer these questions for themselves. With a cast radiating excitement, joy, and wonder and extras so terrible they are almost funnier than their professional colleagues, it is truly a movie that will carry you away, let’s you escape, be thrilled and experience pure bliss.