ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Billy's Magic Word: Shazam!

Updated on April 27, 2019
Source

Synopsis

Billy Batson has spent a great deal of time trying to find his biological mother throughout Philadelphia. That search has been so consuming, he has found himself in trouble with both the police and his foster families. He's about to go on a more dangerous quest in Shazam!. Billy (Asher Angel) has been placed in a last-chance foster home with five other children and teens. After defending crippled foster brother Freddy Freeman (Jack Dylan Grazer) at school, Billy makes an unscheduled detour on his way home. The subway train he boards makes a stop at the Rock Of Eternity, where the original Shazam (Djimon Hounsou) has been looking to transfer his power to someone he deems worthy. He has concluded that Billy should have that power, and insists the teen take his staff and speak his name, making the transition final. Billy shares the details of the trip with Billy, then changes into an adult Shazam (Zachary Levi), a red-suited man with a yellow cape. Together, they try and learn all of the abilities that Shazam has. That includes the need for Shazam to revert to being Billy. Freddy films their experiments and posts them to the internet, making them instant sensations on Freddy's social network.

Those videos get the attention of Dr. Thaddeus Sivana (Mark Strong), who wants the power that Shazam has received. As a boy, the original Shazam had considered Sivana to be the next champion wizard, but was ultimately rejected. Sivana, however, did gain power when he stole the Eye Of Sin, and allied himself with the Seven Deadly Sins. The new Shazam, meanwhile, shows off his skills to a crowd of people, but nearly kills a busload of people when he loses control of his magic. After he saves the bus, Sivana confronts him, overpowers him, and demands to become the champion. Shazam escapes by running and reverting to his teen self, but Sivana learns about Billy and gets to him by kidnapping Freddy. While the boys try to keep this secret between them, their siblings learn about Billy, one by one. While Sivana continues the attack on Billy's new family, Billy tries to discover if Sivana has a weakness.

Evaluation

Shazam! is certainly not an original story by any means. The new Shazam himself has powers easily comparable to those possessed by Superman, though Superman remains an adult as Clark Kent. The movie story from Henry Gayden is also close to the story of Avengers: Infinity War, as two super forces battle for superior power. It is also not strong on characterization, save for its lead players. The resolution of Billy's search is the movie's low point, and puts a damper on both the family story and the action story. With that resolution, viewers might wonder why Shazam doesn't doesn't develop his powers the way Sivana has. The direction from David F. Sandberg is undistinguished, but still enjoyable because of the lead person and his adversary. Like Spider-Man, young Shazam has to learn that great power also includes great responsibility. Billy knows bullies, and recognizes Sivana is the biggest bully in the world. The young man likes showing off in costume, but Sivana makes him a different kind of showoff.

The movie is at its best when Levi and Strong, as the leads, make their plans and put them into motion. Levi perfectly captures a bring with an adult body and an adolescent mind as he learns the powers of Shazam. He loves the experiments that he and Freddy film, even when they don't go exactly as planned, including the one after the final credits. One of Levi's funniest moments comes when he's in a convenience store, and welcomes armed robbers to shoot him. He also adapts to his new home, and will do what it takes to protect that home from any intruder. While Shazam is a teen passing as an adult, Storng, as Sivana, has never become a full-fledged adult, in spite of his age. His own father and brother made life easy for him, and he sees the world as an adversary. When the original Shazam rejected him, Thaddeus acted like a child and took the one thing he could steal. When the power of the champion came to Billy, he made a second run at the power he'd coveted since he was Billy's age. The movie never explains, though, how Sivana bided his time and apparently kept evil in check for over 40 years. Angel and Grazer are enjoyable as Billy and Freddy, who learn that keeping a secret is easier said than done - especially in the age of the internet. Sandberg himself provides some voice-over work, including Mister Mind, who has a brief meeting with Sivana.

Conclusion

The character Shazam has been, from his beginning, criticized as derivative. The movie of the same name shows clear comparisons to other superhero movies, but Shazam! avoids cinematic kryptonite by being a generally good-natured film about a young man learning to care for the special abilities he has received. The DC Extended Universe may never produce the level of quality films that the Marvel Cinematic Universe has produced, but I certainly don't want this franchise to return to its uninspired origin of its Superman offerings.

On a scale of zero to four stars, I give Shazam! three stars. Billy, time to be a hero.

Shazam! trailer

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • profile imageAUTHOR

      Pat Mills 

      2 years ago from East Chicago, Indiana

      Thanks Mel. I am sure that DC has spent the last decade trying to copy the success of the Marvel movies, only to find most viewers don't find their efforts comparable to the Marvel films. They further compound their problem with relaunching the Batman franchise, due to Christopher Nolan's exceptional trilogy. The MCU has a greater human element, in spite of the superhuman abilities of its heroes. I agree there is a glut in this genre, and now viewers will see if there is indeed life for Marvel after Endgame and Stan Lee. Thanks for your input.

    • Mel Carriere profile image

      Mel Carriere 

      2 years ago from Snowbound and down in Northern Colorado

      I watched Shazam in the Saturday morning live action version, alongside Almighty Isis. I believe I was on a temporary Shazam kick then, having a few of the comic books. Still, thanks to the glut of superhero flicks saturating the market now I am quite burned out on the genre and will skip this one. Still, you write a worthy review.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://corp.maven.io/privacy-policy

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)