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Review: ‘Shazam!’ brings new hope to DC movies

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"Shazam!"

Shazam (Zachary Levi) and Freddy (Jack Dylan Grazer) in "Shazam!".

The DC Cinematic Universe shows that it can still compete with Marvel Studios with “Shazam!”.

“Shazam!” follows the story of 14-year-old Billy Batson (Asher Angel), an orphan who jumps from foster home to foster home because he keeps running away to look for his mother.

One day, Billy is brought to a secret castle where the wizard Shazam (Djimon Hounsou) resides. Shazam tells Billy that he is worthy of the wizard’s power and bestows it upon Billy. Now, whenever Billy says the word “shazam,” he is transformed into the superhero Shazam (Zachary Levi).

This movie is wildly entertaining and shows the DC Cinematic Universe does not have to be so dark and dreary.

The comedy is fantastic and hits in all the right spots, especially the dialogue between Freddy Freeman (Jack Dylan Grazer) and Billy/Shazam. It isn’t overwhelming, though, as the audience still gets great sequences of action and good storytelling.

All the child actors in the film also act to near perfection, making the audience forget there are any children in the film. Although not all of them get a lot of screen time, their roles are played out perfectly. No character gets in the way of another character’s chance to shine.

The only issue with “Shazam!” is the villain, Dr. Thaddeus Sivana (Mark Strong). He isn’t a dynamic character. He only serves as the antagonist, but he isn’t really the main focal point of the movie when it comes to issues to overcome. The heroes are not trying the overcome the villain; the heroes are trying to overcome their family issues and figuring out Billy’s newfound powers.

Some of the effects in the movie also looked a little ridiculous, especially when it comes to the Seven Deadly Sins and their CGI. Their effects were bland and kind of hokey, and the characters themselves didn’t serve a huge purpose in the overall plot of the story.

Otherwise, “Shazam!” is a great superhero movie. The script writing, camera work and overall story makes for a great origin story, and the emotion shown from all the child actors when facing hardships could not have been done much better.

Fans of the DC Cinematic Universe and superhero movies in general will find things to enjoy in “Shazam!”. Its comedy and family-friendly vibe mixed with action and storytelling make for a fantastic movie. Perhaps even the best DC Cinematic movie to date.

entertainment.ed@ocolly.com