One of the most family friendly and outright entertaining superhero features of the year, “Shazam!” is a movie that will appeal to children of all walks of life. It’s a movie that promotes the power of family, promotes the appeal of adopted families, and explores the effects of bullying and toxic masculinity. “Shazam!” is one of the bigger surprises of 2019 as the DCEU keeps delivering on entertaining and bright action features that spotlight the lesser explored and rarely discovered characters from the DC Comics stable.
Troubled orphan Billy Batson just became the heir to the powerful “Shazam!” Given the powers of Gods and Titans by the mystical Wizard Shazam!, Billy, whenever shouting the magical word “Shazam!” is struck by lightning and turned in to a super powered superhero with extraordinary powers and abilities. Destined to battle with the physical manifestations of the seven deadly sins, Billy, with the help of his new foster family, must stop the wicked Dr. Silvana who plans to take the powers of Shazam! and rule the world.
“Shazam!” is primarily a premise that touches on the idea of inner strength and building courage from fear, and director David Sandberg is thankfully able to keep much of what made the original comics so appealing. While a touch of the grit from the first DCEU movies are still present, Sandberg is able to direct a movie that feels so different from previous releases from this stable, and commits to delivering a film that moves the whole DCEU forward without requiring us to have seen “Aquaman” or “Wonder Woman.” The film is always on the edge of providing fans with solid nods and winks to Superman and Batman without relying on their presence to get us warmed up to the narrative.
Zachary Levi is fantastic as the original Captain Marvel, leading a great cast featuring Asher Angel, Djimon Hounsou, Jack Dylan Grazer, and Mark Strong, respectively. “Shazam!” is a fun, funny, great superhero film, but a fantastic coming of age tale that promotes positive messages about family, responsibility, and growing up. I highly recommend it.
Featured are a DVD Copy and a Digital Copy for consumers. “The Magical World of Shazam!” is a twenty seven minute segment that explores comments by the cast and crew, including David F. Sandberg, producer Peter Safran, writer Henry Gayden, director of photography Maxime Alexandre, actors Zachary Levi and Djimon Hounsou, costume designer Leah Butler, and visual effects producer Cari Thomas. There’s also a look at how they transferred the material to the screen, casting, stunt work, shooting in Toronto, and so much more. “Super Fun Zac” is a three minute in depth look at Zachary Levi’s casting, his on set antic, and some gags on the set.
There’s a thirty seven minute reel of Deleted and Alternate Scenes. The collection includes “Wizard Prologue”, “Alternate Beginning”, “Billy on the Subway”, “Alternate Intro to Group House”, “Alternate Dr. Crosby and Dr. Sivana Interviews”, “Billy Sneaks Out”, “New School with Darla”, “Sivana Christmas Party”, “Shazam and Darla Tea Party”, “Alternate Lightning with My Hands”, “Additional Montage Beats”, “Freddy Hung from Locker”, “Alternate Carnival Fight”, “Freddy Flies by Airplane”, “Family on Thrones”, and “Alternate Ending Family Beats.” There’s an introduction by director Sandberg for the whole kit and caboodle. There’s a three minute Gag Reel, and the five minute “Who is Shazam?” with talks from “The Magical World of Shazam!” who discuss his history, his time as Captain Marvel, Dr. Silvana, their appearances in comic book, Shazam’s popularity in the 40’s, his TV show, and much more.
“Carnival Scene Study” is a ten minute thorough look at the big climax set during the carnival, exploring special effects, the practical stunt work, working with big background props and some scenes being filmed on a sound stage. “Shazamily Values” is a six minute look at the younger actors of the film and their time on the set, with lighter moments and their work as actors. Finally, there’s the Exclusive Motion Comic: “Superhero Hooky” featuring voice work from much of the original cast members.