Shazam! (2019) – Summary, Review (with Spoilers)

Shazam! (2019) - Title Card
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Shazam! borrows from what you expect from Marvel, adds a touch of Deadpool, but then reminds you DC us the big brother Marvel has long borrowed from.


Director(s) David F. Sandberg
Screenplay By Henry Gayden, Darren Lemke
Date Released 4/4/2019
Genre(s) Action, Adventure, Fantasy
Good If You Like Emotional Origin Stories

Superhero Movies Which Don’t Take Themselves Too Seriously

Movies Driven Mostly By Kids

Isn’t For You If You Want To See A Lot Of Quality Action
Noted Cast
Billy Asher Angel
Rosa Marta Milans
Victor Cooper Andrews
Mary Grace Fulton
Freddy Jack Dylan Grazer
Pedro Jovan Armand
Eugene Ian Chen
Darla Faithe Herman
Thaddeus Mark Strong
Shazam Zachary Levi
The Wizard Djimon Hounsou

Shazam! Plot Summary

14-year-old Billy has spent most of his life in search of his mom, and since losing her, he has been to over 23 foster homes. Mind you, there is no mention of abuse or reason for him to run, but he leaves anyway thinking his mom is searching for her and by him also looking, he hopes they’ll reunite. But, before that happens, he ends up in the home of Rosa and Victor. Two people who were foster kids who now raise foster kids. One being Mary, who is off to college soon; Pedro, who isn’t doing well in school; Eugene, who is obsessed with video games; Freddy, who is handicapable and has a huge love of superheroes; and the adorable Darla, who is the youngest, a big-time hugger, and really into the concept of family.

However, despite how welcoming everyone is, nothing changes for Billy. That is, until one man, Thaddeus, changes Billy’s life forever. Not by finding his mom, or even Billy’s dad, but leading Billy to meet the last Wizard. A being who met Thaddeus when he was a kid, in 1974 but said he wasn’t worthy of getting his powers. So, for the rest of Thaddeus’ life, he searched for the wizard and the magic denied to him. Something that, after a series of events, Billy comes to have.

Leading to Thaddeus coming for Billy and you being left to wonder, considering Thaddeus’ trauma and how that influenced him as an adult, what will he do to validate himself? Specifically, would he kill a kid, his foster family, and innocent people, to heal a wound caused by his father?

Other Noteworthy Facts & Moments

  • If bringing your kids, prep for them to hear s*** a few times and some light innuendo. One of them being the wizard saying for Billy to touch his staff and Billy taking that in a sexual way.

Question(s) Left Unanswered

  1. Where was Thaddeus’ mother?

Highlights

At Its Core, Shazam! Is About Childhood Trauma

Thaddeus (Mark Strong) shocking police officers.
Thaddeus (Mark Strong)

Whether we are talking about Thaddeus, for most of his life, not feeling like he is enough, or Billy’s search for his mom, this is the type of film which is rooted in childhood trauma. Heck, you can even see that outside of our leads. Freddy is handicapable, and outside of one crutch, there isn’t anything else that is different about him. Yet, he eats alone, is bullied, and no one, even when kicked in front of the whole school does anything. Mind you, the only thing going against the kid is he is obsessed with superheroes, naturally DC heroes, and likes sprouting random, kind of disgusting facts. But not anything which would make him a social pariah.

Oh, and I have to mention Darla. With her being so young, and probably adopted, or taken care of, by Rosa and Victor for a long time, she sees each new person as her brother and sister. Making the rejection Billy gives a bit devastating to her and maybe tapping on her own issues with her parents. Two people we never hear about, to know why she is in foster care, but you can see just denying her as a sister walloped Darla.

It’ll Get You In Your Feelings

And it is moments like seeing Darla devastated which get you in your feelings. That is, alongside Freddy growing attached to Billy, since he is one of the first people to really be his friend, and how having a fight with him leads to him feeling rejected. Which is the big thing here, rejection. Feeling like you aren’t enough for someone and it not always being a think you think about, but that person tells you directly.

Though it isn’t just that, Mary was like Billy at one time and ran away, but now that she has found a forever family, it is making the decision to go away to college hard. For she perhaps just got comfortable so to start over again is hard.

It’s Comical

Freddy (Jack Dylan Grazer) and Shazam (Zachary Levi) looking at something.
Freddy (Jack Dylan Grazer) and Shazam (Zachary Levi)

One of the reasons Deadpool is mentioned isn’t because there is a breaking of the 4th wall, but the way some jokes are may remind you of Deadpool if he was 14. Be it the aforementioned joke in the movie about The Wizard and his staff, how Freddie and Billy handle naming his alter ego, as well as some parts of Shazam’s fights against Thaddeus. It creates a nod to what you may have often seen with Marvel but completely lacks a formulaic feel which feels like this was churned out by an algorithm – as most Disney/Marvel owned films do.

On The Fence

Don’t Expect To Learn Why Everyone Is In Foster Care

While not a huge issue, being that everyone in Billy’s new family were in foster care or are in foster care,  there is the desire to ask why? It isn’t a big issue, but while you will get emotionally invested in most, the question of “What happened with your birth parents?” lingers.

The Fight Scenes Are Okay, Nothing Flinch Worthy Or Anything Like That

Whether we are talking about the fights early in the movie or the final one, there aren’t any here which will get you hype. They are good enough for an action movie, especially one over 2 hours, but nothing that makes the battles a selling point.

Shazam Overall: Positive (Worth Seeing) | Purchase, Rent, or Get Merchandise On Amazon

Shazam (Zachary Levi) trying to buy beer.
Shazam (Zachary Levi)

Shazam! bridges that gap between a movie which kids and tweens could be into and something that won’t lead to adults having a 2-hour nap in the theater. For with it balancing juvenile jokes with emotional moments from many of the cast members, it has quite the balancing act. One which sadly doesn’t include quality action scenes, but I’d argue everything else in this movie compensates for that. Hence the positive label.

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1 COMMENT

  1. I only found this review because I was curious about what happens in Shazam but I have to say after doing so I was very impressed with this review. The way it’s formatted and written, and the balanced approach it takes instantly makes it one of the most useful movie reviews I’ve read. Will definitely be checking out reviews from this writer and site in the future.

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