Growing up, they made cartoons about everything. Even toys. Yeah, They made cartoons about the backstory of toys. It must have worked cause I still remember watching and playing with my GI Joes, Transformers and Mighty Max. Yeah, Mighty Max.
I say this because, last night, I went a saw Shazam, a movie Starring Zachary Levi as the titular character and Mark Strong as his antagonist. The story is pretty simple, formulaic you could say. Guy has what others don’t, the right stuff, the will, the something something something. In this case, a Pure Heart. He gets superpowers, learns about himself and powers, and has to overcome personal dilemmas to defeat the bad guy.
Seriously, it’s a superhero movie and it hits the tropes like a…superhero hits bad people.
Again, you might be wondering why I brought up the cartoons, and I’ll explain. This movie, while formulaic, was fun. It was bright and funny. It had an approachable style that makes it difficult in some places, but entertaining without pandering. This movie got me really excited about going to my nearest comic book store and picking up a copy of Shazam.
This movie is a great commercial.
After I saw Batman, Superman, Suicide Squad, Aquaman and Wonder Woman, I said, “Hey that’s pretty good! …I hope they do better on the next one.” It’s an interesting story that they told, they must have have fun writing that.
Shazam was a movie that took all of its source from comics. They made a movie that didn’t reinvent every character. They took familiar and made it fun. I legit started looking online last night for what collections I should pick up.
Now let’s get into some of the nitpicky stuff. The bad guy, Dr. Something, is exactly how I just described him. He’s a doctor, I guess, and he has father issues. And that’s about all we get to find out. The movie starts by showing a very dark backstory of his, and it was great. Then there is a great follow-up scene when he begins to go 100% bad. Then after that…he becomes a terminator robot.
It’s sad too, cause Mark Strong is an amazing actor who should have been able to have way more fun with this bad guy. Now, the scene when he goes one hundo bad… Awesome visual effects. The creatures he controls and the imagery of terror that he inspires, is insanely good.
Zachary Levi, such a great actor. And in this film he did a great job, except his angry face, which reminds me of my nephew filling his diaper… I mean, I know that’s harsh, but I literally laughed out loud when I saw him make his angry face at one point. Other than that, he did a great job of being a kid who wants to be a superhero, who doesn’t understand what it takes to be a real hero.
Despite some visual drawbacks and some formulaic and stale film bumbles, I really enjoy and recommend this movie. It has a lot of heart and and great message. It’s funny and enjoys itself. If you’re looking for a fun DC movie (cause how often do you get those) then zip down to the theater and shout, SHAZAM!
PS: Don’t actually shout at the theater employees. They’re just doing their job.
Photo courtesy DC Films/Warner Bros. Studios.