DC got themselves another writer-director who has made a name for himself with horror films to helm one of the new superhero offerings in Shazam!. Does it pay off like James Wan and Aquaman? Well, let’s dig in...
Directed by Swede David F. Sandberg, who made a name for himself in horror short films and the features Lights Out and Annabelle (the latter was produced by James Wan of Aquaman fame), Sandberg brings his horror sensibility to Shazam! without making the film too dark and murky.
The horror tropes give the film a 1980s family movie feel, in line with Flight of the Navigator and the Gremlins and Goonies, where the leads are kids.
They happen to go on an adventure but deal with scenarios and themes that are not necessarily kid friendly.
Basically, the stuff the Mouse company wouldn’t readily endorse.
Shazam! walks the fine line between being entertaining for kids and giving them a mini-emotional scarring experience.
From the protagonist Billy Batson, who has to deal with abandonment issues, to the many jump scares that litter the film, even the creature monsters are not super cute.
Whilst the family angle is doing the most with the cuteness, from the adorable Faithe Herman as Darla to Ian Chen as Eugene Choi, the film is death by cuteness.
Even Jack Grazer who is manic as Freddy Freeman is charming in his own way but there's more to Shazam! than charm.
Some of the scarring aspects include Billy Batson's journey, where his looking for his family gets real at points, but at the same time is handled in a progressive and empowering way, both in theme and actual plot.
I also liked how Shazam! is probably the most diverse superhero movie out there.
The cute factor does not cover the flaws in the film though. Asher Angel plays Billy Batson as a moody teenager whilst Zachary Levi (who is great as Chuck in the series) overplays Captain Marvel aka Shazam as a 7-year-old who's had too much Coca Cola.
Then some of the CGI reveals that the film was not shot on the Aquaman budget, especially the flying and floating bits but these are minor gripes when compared to the movie in its totality.
It gives us cute, adorable kids, a heart touching message about family and some great laughs.
Can't wait for the Mister Mind sequel, which should be bonkers in the same way Guardians of the Galaxy was.
It felt like: DC’s own friendly neighbourhood Spiderman movie.
Fun Trivia: Shazam! is known as Captain Marvel in the DC comics but Marvel copyrighted the title for their Carol Denvers inspired Captain Marvel Comics even though they came after the DC run. The first comic book movie ever was a Captain Marvel movie back in the 50s.
*Trash ** Ja nee ***Ya zama-nyana ****We are vooking with gas *****Instant Classic