Shazam! gives hope for DC Universe



Dynamic duo– Billy Baxton aka Shazam (played by Zachary Levi) (left) and buddy Freddy Freeman (played by Jack Dylan Grazer) (right) practice using his superhero techniques. Shazam was released in theaters on April 5 and has received positive reviews.

Hollis Tharpe, Staff Writer

DC Universe’s latest release, Shazam!, has given restored faith for fans of the franchise, as it provides a brand new hero to the big screen who is full of comedy and magical abilities.

Scoring a 91 percent on Rotten Tomatoes and 7.6 out of 10 stars on Internet Movie Database (IMDb), Shazam! is a step in the right direction for DC after film flops like Justice League and Batman Vs. Superman; it’s a relief to see the newfound success Shazam! provides.

The movie starts out with Billy Batson, a foster kid (played by Asher Angel), running away from his foster home, looking for his biological mother. Once he gets caught, he is taken to a group home of other foster kids. At first, he is cold and distant to them, but he slowly warms up to his roommate, Freddy Freeman (played by Jack Dylan Grazer).

After a run-in with a group of bullies, Billy rides the subway. The train speeds up rapidly, and the next thing he knows, he’s been transported to another world. In this other world, there is a wizard who transfers his powers to Billy, so that he can attempt to defeat the film’s antagonist, Dr. Sivana (played by Mark Strong). These powers turn him into the superhero Shazam (played by Zachary Levi).

The origin of Billy’s powers is different than other heroes because his abilities come randomly, rather than him being motivated after a tragic event. According to Levi in a Warner Brothers interview, “More often than not, you have a character who is begrudgingly pulled in…Billy Batson is stoked.” His excitement further sets him apart.

Asher was a fresh face to see on the big screen, given that he has never appeared in a live-action film before. His enthusiasm for the role came through in his character, matching the excitement of a teen who finds out he is a superhero. This eagerness was well married to Levi’s portrayal of Shazam’s humor. His playfulness was reminiscent of other heroes like DC’s Aquaman and Marvel’s Deadpool, sans the edginess of adult humor. Levi brings to life the awkwardness of a teenager trapped in an adult body. The film was very humorous with several well-timed comments and jokes, which greatly enhanced the quality of the movie as a whole.

However, my favorite character was Freddy. Freeman was a supporting character to Shazam but was on par with his humor but also had a relatability and down-to-earth quality, appealing to a teenager demographic.

Dr. Sivana was shocking for some fans to see given that it was originally rumored that Black Adam was going to be the villain. Sivana harnesses the power of the seven deadly sins in order to become the most powerful person on the planet which helped him in competing with other DC ruthless villains.

I would definitely recommend Shazam! to anyone who enjoys superhero films with a deeper message that relates to society. The overall theme is deeper than the normal cliché of “with great power comes great responsibility.”

Shazam! is overall a great movie and shows that the future of DC films is bright.