25 September 2023


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Reviewed by Rama Gaind.

Director: David F. Sandberg, Roadshow Entertainment.

Cast: Zachary Levi, Mark Strong, Asher Angel.

The heroes and villains are there, of course, but Shazam! is also about family.

Looking for the mother he was separated from as a child, Billy Batson (Angel) moves between foster homes. After being placed with an enthusiastic temporary family, he resists any form of attachment. However, the need for a confidant arises after a wizard blesses him with superhero powers.

There’s a superhero inside us, but in the case of 14-year-old Batson, it just takes a little bit of magic – and shouting one word – to bring it out. He then transforms into the adult superhero Shazam! (Levi).

Still a kid at heart – inside a ripped, god-like body – Shazam! revels in this adult version of himself by doing what any teen would do with super powers: have fun while testing out his new-found abilities. Shazam! sets out to test the limits of his abilities with the joyful recklessness of a child. Moreover, he’ll need to master them quickly before the evil Dr Thaddeus Sivana (Strong) can get his hands on Shazam’s magical abilities!

Shazam! is a beloved super hero character from the Marvel Comics universe. He began life as Captain Marvel, but eventually changed into Shazam! Once upon a time this beloved hero was actually part of a huge controversy and legal battle between Marvel Comics and DC Comics.

Shazam is an acronym formed from the names of the gods that grant powers: the wisdom of Solomon, the strength of Hercules, the stamina of Atlas, the power of Zeus, the courage of Achilles and the speed of Mercury.

Levi has a fresh-faced charm, launching himself in the character with complete abandon. Strong, as his villainous counterpart, doesn’t have much to work with, being ensnared in a bad boy role. The pair’s hostile dynamic feels underdone.

Upbeat and unpretentious, Shazam! is a kid-friendly caper with enough energy to engage the audience – and it mostly succeeds.

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