Big, the classic 1988 Tom Hanks movie, and then it's all in a superhero format. As simple as saying "Shazam!" You have, Shazam! It is not one of the most well-known of DC properties – no superman or Batman or Aquaman – but it has been charmed, and it has been destroyed Steven Spielberg churned out in the '80s.
Billy Baston (Asher Angel) has been tossed from foster home to be abandoned since being abandoned by his mother. Finally he lands in one that gives him five instant siblings including a new BFF named Freddy (Jack Dylan Grazer), who is disabled but a real firecracker. One day while riding a bus, Billy finds himself transported to a netherworld for a meeting with a wizard (Djimon Hounsou, in his sleep by now). He is now a chosen one, a kid who is about to go into a caped, crusading adult just by uttering the word "Shazam!"
That's when Billy turns into a confused superhero and gets a huge lift with the emergence of Zachary Levi, who livens things up considerably. As in all these things, there is a villain for him to confront, and that comes in the guise of dr. Thaddeus Sivana (Mark Strong), who seems to be making some pretty scary monsters on a moment's notice. David F. Sandberg is able to switch back and forth between the two iterations of Billy at 14 and then straight to Levi. The fun comes from Freddy's dealing with these newfound powers and using them.
Make no mistake, Shazam! is nowhere near the ballpark of the movie that inspired the Henry Gayden script (there is even a letter homage). It stops too often for the silly frenetic action, but when it is on its game, it is indeed indeed – [more] Aquaman and Wonder Woman. It is nice that the DC franchise has found the comic in comic books again, this time around.
Levi is a big reason this works, but for the film is stolen lock, stock photography every time Grazer shows up as Freddy. He is the ideal sidekick and makes this shit really work in his own way. It is so nice to see you in Hollywood movies. Billy's force for good towards the end so add a nice touch. Had they lopped off 20 minutes or so, Shazam! would really be something to write home about. As it is, I'm betting it still wants to hit the sweet spot until the Avengers come along later in the month. Producer is Peter Safran. Warner Bros. releases it Friday with previews Thursday night.
Do you plan to see Shazam! ? Let us know what you think.