BEIRUT: Every single kid dreams about becoming a superhero, and this dream finally comes true as the audience is able to live that experience vicariously via DC’s latest hero film release, SHAZAM!
DC films haven’t had the greatest luck, but with AQUAMAN being a surprise hit at the box office late last year, it seemed there was a light at the end of the tunnel.
Continuing the successful tidal wave is the new entry into the DCEU - confirmation of whether that shared universe still exists or not is still being debated - is SHAZAM, a superhero film about wish fulfillment.
The story follows young Billy Batson, a young cynical foster kid struggling to find his place in the world, who knows nothing about heroes, let alone how to be one. After protecting his handicapped foster brother, Batson gets chosen to be the champion and is granted super-powers.
What’s interesting here is that it is quite clear that all parties involved embraced the film’s quirky, childlike spirit and this is what makes the film genuinely a joy to witness.
SHAZAM, though set in the same world as Batman, Superman, and Aquaman, has a tone of its own - it’s not overly artsy with its cinematography, it doesn’t pull out some extravagant visuals - and for once that is beyond ok.
The film isn’t about that - it’s not about spectacle! At its core the film is about two things: the first is wish fulfillment, the idea that anybody can be a superhero, regardless of who your parents are, or if you come from another planet; and the second, and more importantly, the film is about the importance of family.
The screenplay, penned by Henry Gayden, is uniquely action-packed and lighthearted. Gayden intermixes the hardships that a young foster boy, who is now a hero, has to face, with the humor of seeing it all from his perspective, and Batson’s pure heart and unbreakable spirit.
The performances here are filled with wonder and delightful to watch. Zachary Levi’s enthusiastic, hopeful, energy-filled embodiment of the adult-version of Billy Batson is so on point and the screenplay aids in that. Instead of writing the character in an almost dumbed down way, the narrative is more about the unfiltered optimism and lack of experience that a young 14-year-old has.
Asher Angel plays Billy Batson and Jack Dylan Grazer plays Freddy Freeman, and their chemistry and energy on screen offer some great moments. Levi and Angel who are essentially playing the same character are so in-sync with their characterization that you never doubt that Shazam and Batson are the same person.
The film’s score, composed by Benjamin Wallfisch, and due to its orchestral tone, it is reminiscent of classic superhero scores and honors the history of Golden Age Super Heroes. All parties involved in the making of SHAZAM threaded a beautiful, heartwarming story through action and comedy.
It's a comic book movie, a comedy, and a monster movie with the Seven Sins, but it's also got these more emotional scenes, and that is what makes it the perfect for family and friends to enjoy together. It caters to all forms of audiences without losing its genuine nature.
This is Billy Batson's story - a story that states that family is not always about blood, but bond; that you can find a home even if it's not where you were looking for it. The film is also about the experience of what it would be like if every kid's wish to be a superhero came true in the biggest, most comical, exciting, action-filled and magical way possible.
It zaps awake your inner-child, sets it free and unleashes the hero hidden deep within. The DC comic adaptation that audiences have long been waiting for finally here, and all they have to do to watch it, is say the magic word: SHAZAM!
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