Two hours of sheer fun! Shazam movie gives DCEU a great direction to hang on to. It introduces the superhero subtly into the universe making it a complete package of whoopee. People who used to complain about DCEU being too dark for their taste, have been proved so wrong by David Sandberg that their argument has suddenly become invalid.
Shazam movie plays fiddle on your emotions by milking the story of foster kids properly. The sub-plot where the protagonist of the story is trying to find his mom is one of those sections where the movie gets really serious. The rest of the bits give you a very comic feel. Shazam movie bolsters on humour all along even as it tries to tell a story that every child secretly dreams of – being a superhero. How cool is that you have to just use one magic word and boom! Transformation!
Shazam movie manages to squeeze out a DC hero, straight out of the comic books and animated films, where only a smaller section of the world knew and celebrated him. It slithers its way to a big screen where the limelight shows, popularizing the lesser known superhero allowing the character to spread its wing and become a fully fledged persona. Also, since he becomes a part of DCEU, he now rubs shoulders with the likes of Superman, Wonder Woman and Aquaman.
The Direction of Shazam Movie
Goes without saying every director leaves their shine on the work they do. David who has directed great horror movies like Lights Out and Annabelle Creation ended up seeping in some horror in here too. The darkness, the element of surprise and the horror David Sandberg is so fond of, can be seen here as well in just the right amount when Dr. Sivana (Mark Strong) comes barging in to punish his father and brother for not believing in him when he was young.
Sandberg’s direction is far better than those unserious lot who think that the audience doesn’t care about the minutiae that go into filmmaking. David pays a lot of attention to the smooth flow of frames, keeping his subtlety intact, making sure to edit away those bits that don’t matter. However, good things might appear, it is not entirely flawless.
Like there is one scene in particular that nags your eyes. It makes you wonder why did David choose to go with a repeated frame? It is one of those filler frames that is used when the high school sequence was shown. There is a girl wearing a Batman bag who runs to meet her friends. But it is the exact same frame that plays minutes later. The problem with that scene is that the Batman logo is so conspicuous that it draws immediate attention, and a viewer could easily discern that it was the same frame that played minutes ago.
Finding Mom in Shazam (Spoilers)
Apart from all the crazy fun that the movie retains, there are some bits that are poignant too. Billy Batson loses his mom in a fair when he was a kid. He has this story in his head, a perspective that places her mom be to be this caring and sweet lady who was very fulfilling. It is the vantage of an innocent child of how he has always pictured his mother to be. He accidentally leaves her hand and then ends up getting lost in the crowd. So, he is forever searching for his mother.
Then plays the real picture when Billy is finally able to track her mother down. What was pictured as a sweet reunion ends up getting charred when she refuses to hug him, then retells the real story. The whole perspective is different this time, and comes from a woman who was sick of his needy son. Even though she might have left his hand by accident, she allowed the poor child to get lost. Letting the police find him, and take him away, for it wasn’t possible for her to feed and take care of him. She ran from a responsibility that was hers.
The despondency, on the other hand, on the face of Billy is crushing. It is a painful defeat for a child who spent years believing in a fairy tale. The reality hits him in the face hard that it is a cruel cruel world after all. You cannot even trust your own mother here.
All these years Billy had this image of him leaving her hand and he secretly blamed himself for doing so. But the knowledge of her doing it deliberately kills him inside.
The disregard that she shows to a thing that meant the world to him – a compass that she had given to him so that he would never get lost, punches you in the guts. She doesn’t even remember it, something he had been carrying around like a morsel of guilt in his hand. The massive import that it tacked along, she was oblivious to it. It just breaks your heart.
My only complaint was that David Sandberg moves on too quickly from that sinking feeling, reminding us that it is a comic after all. That even grief here is short lived.
Sharing is Caring
It is worth noticing how, when the time comes, Billy doesn’t hold himself back from sharing his superpowers with each member of his family. He doesn’t even give it a second thought. That all his superpowers would become shared, that they would be just like him and that he wouldn’t be unique then, does not bother him at all.
While this could be upsetting to many, watching many Shazam-like characters floating around on the big screen when just one wasn’t milked enough. But David chooses to ignore that with a rock solid message – It’s all about sharing.
On a personal level, I think it was too soon to do that. Fortunately for the movie, it ended up serving a purpose and added on to the plot. Future possibilities, however, seem even more interesting since it can go in any direction now. Keeping fingers crossed!
You can order Shazam movie from here:
The Final Verdict
Shazam movie is DCEU’s yet another saviour that complements some of the already successful movies we came across in the past. It makes its way into the hearts of people who didn’t know about the superhero at all. Places a solid foundation for itself, paving way for future installments.
Zachary Levi does a fine job with the superhero. Making him a complete package of fun. The fact that it is a child underneath a superhero costume makes it a delightful concept per se. People could easily relate to something cool like that.
Check out the trailer of Shazam movie: