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Mikey Clarke reviews Shazam!


By Spalding Today Columnist


EXCLUSIVE FILM REVIEW:

SHAZAM! (12A)

SHOWCASE CINEMA DE LUX PETERBOROUGH, FROM TOMORROW

CAST: ZACHARY LEVI, JACK DYLAN GRAZER, MARK STRONG, DJIMON HOUNSOU, MICHELLE BORTH & ASHER ANGEL

RUNNING TIME: 2 HRS 12 MINS

DIRECTOR: DAVID F SANDBERG

DC seems to have finally found their groove!

To be fair, the DC film universe has been steadily rising in quality – but Shazam! is way ahead of the recent crop.

This is a Superhero movie, so a fair amount of action within it goes without saying. The amount of humour thrown in was the surprise. We have seen jokes slipped into DC movies before, but never on this scale – this is a full-on comedy.

It tells the story of Billy Batson (played by newbie Asher Angel) – who is a 14-year-old boy who gains the ability to turn into an adult superhero (played by Zachary Levi) by simply saying ‘Shazam’.

He can fly and fire lightning out from his fingers. I won’t go into his other powers as Billy learning what he’s cable of is a big part of the movie and I’d hate to ruin things for you.

Like most Superheroes, Billy gets round to saving those in need of help, but not before taking selfies with fans, making easy money and buying beer. He is a school kid after all.

Billy’s only friend is his foster brother, Freddy Freeman (played by IT’s Jack Dylan Grazer) – who is a disabled superhero fanatic. Freddy’s obsession allows him to almost narrate the movie – helping it flow nicely and fill in the gaps.

The boys’ onscreen chemistry is fantastic - even when Billy is in the form of an adult.

And speaking of the title character, Zachary Levi (Thor Trilogy) plays the part perfectly. He’s even more convincing as a kid in an adult’s body than Tom Hanks was in Big.

I’d like to give a mention to the foster family. They are the heart and soul of this movie. Every character within that household was so well written and everyone has their place within the movie. Cooper Andrews – who plays foster dad Victor Vasquez – is particularly engaging. He is the glue that keeps the family stuck together and is such a likable character.

My biggest criticism with Shazam was that there wasn’t much to the villain. Dr Thaddeus Sivana was played by British star Mark Strong (Sherlock Holmes) – who is a fantastic actor – he just wasn’t given much to do. His reason for being ‘bitter’ is not really justifiable – with the wafer-thin premise of his family simply not believing ‘he’d seen something as a kid.’ Which leaves him being the weakest part of the film.

But bar a few niggles this is ultimately a lot of fun and doesn’t take itself too seriously – and it’s refreshing to get that blend which is so hard to do.

There is something here for everyone and it is far and away my favourite DC movie since The Dark Knight – which really says something. Rating: 4/5

Mikey Clarke



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