You really should go see Shazam.
Shazam, the latest DC Comics Superhero film, hits theaters this weekend. We’ve seen the film and have absolutely fallen in love with it. Because of that, we decided to come up with a list of 10 things we adore about the film. We’ll try to stay away from any major spoilers for now.
- Zachary Levi
Zachary Levi has been like a geek god for the past ten years or so. From his role as the titular hero in the NBC show Chuck, which saw him play a nerdy computer repair man whose mind is implanted with government secrets, to his Nerd HQ group which hosted offsite events during San Diego Comic Con, this is Levi’s time to truly shine and become a household name for everyone that isn’t as dedicated to the nerdier genre pieces.
- The Larger DC Universe
Shazam takes place in the DC Cinematic Universe or as DC has named it, the Extended Universe (DCEU). That means that every DC film since Man of Steel is canon. The characters know about Superman, Batman, and Aquaman, but none of them swoop in to help save the day. Their presence feels as if it’s just beyond the frame. This type of in-world story is perfect for expanding the DCEU, and hopefully DC takes note of this success moving forward.
We don’t want to give too much away here, but let’s just say, the movie takes place during Christmas time, and it’s likely the film will become a new “holiday favorite.” It’s right up there with Die Hard and Batman Returns.
- Seven Deadly Sins
The classic Shazam villains, the Seven Deadly Enemies of Man, appear in the film as terrifying physical manifestations of the seven deadly sins. We won’t give away much here, but they’re awesome and terrifying creatures that are better than any Parademon or random evil monsters seen in previous DC films.
- Justice League: Mortal
Without giving away some major spoilers, there are some easter eggs that tie into a failed DC film from the early 2000’s, Justice League: Mortal. The film was set to be directed by George Miller (Mad Max) and would feature the full Justice League roster. Production on the film fell apart when the Writer’s Guild strike hit in 2007 and the film lost its tax credits the studio was relying on to film in Australia. The film would have starred D.J. Cotrona as Superman, Armie Hammer as Batman, Megan Gale as Wonder Woman, Common as Green Lantern, Adam Brody as The Flash, Teresa Palmer as Talia al Ghul, and Jay Baruchel as the villain Maxwell Lord.
- Real World Situations
While most films about superheroes tend to show the heroes succeeding at every level unless a villain takes them down a notch, Shazam does a great job of showing how this situation would take place in the real world. news reports that will make you laugh. There’s the social media angle. There are things Billy and Freddy experience when Billy is learning his powers that are likely the same thing you would go through with your friends. By grounding the film in reality, it adds a greater level to the film that makes it even better.
- Dr. Sivana
Honestly, not has DC done such a good job with creating a fully formed villain since Heath Ledger’s Joker . I wouldn’t necessarily say Mark Strong’s performance as Sivana is on par with Ledger’s, but the way the film builds up his story and his battle with Shazam is top notch. He’s someone you love to see on screen every time he appears, and his journey is one that makes sense and is honestly relatable given the details of backstory. Sivana could have been a blank slate villain who was there simply to cause problems for Shazam, but instead, he’s a fully fleshed out character that in many ways is a dark mirror to who Billy could become.
- Freddy Freeman
Billy Batson is great, and he’s a hero we can all love and get behind. But the true hero of this film has to be Freddy Freeman, Billy’s disabled foster brother who is obsessed with superheroes. He’s the one who helps tie everything together: bringing Billy closer to the family, helping Billy learn how to use his powers as Shazam, and in many ways, being the voice of the audience in the film. He’s amazing, and Jack Dylan Grazer is going to be a star.
- The Third Act
Without giving away the end of the film, let’s just say this movie ends on such a high note. The final battle is one of the best superhero battles in recent memory. Even with some CGI mixed in, it never looks as though it’s all CGI. There’s comedy, heart, terror, and action all mixed into the entire end of the film– just as much as there is the rest of the film. But it pulls it together in such an amazing way that when it’s done, you’ll want to rewatch the entire film all over again.
- The Vázquez family
What truly makes the film shine is the focus it has on the family that takes in Billy Batson. Each character is someone you immediately fall in love with and want to see more of. Their inclusion in the film helps make it a better story and adds more heart than anything we’ve seen in the DCEU thus far. As much as we’re excited to see more of Shazam, we really can’t wait to see this beautiful, hilarious, awesome, diverse family on screen again.
Shazam is currently in theaters. You can read our spoiler-free review here, and be sure to keep following Poor Man’s Spoiler for all of our coverage of the film over this weekend.