Directed by David F. Sandberg
Written by Henry Gaden
Starring: Zachary Levi, Mark Stron, Asher Angel and Jack Dylan Grazer
Unless you have been living under a rock you would have heard that Shazam! hit theatres this past weekend managing to open with a more than respectable $56 million opening weekend at the US box office. The current worldwide total sits at $162 million with many territories still to report earnings at the time of this review.
The wait between DC films was one of the shortest in the DCEU’s brief history, and it is clear that the general audience’s confidence in DC films is back at a level that would make the suits at WB a lot more comfortable than what they were before Aquaman opened at the end of last year.
Starting with some high level thoughts, Shazam! is easily the most kid friendly and light-hearted film in the DCEU franchise to date. It will make you laugh out loud in lots of different ways and is a film for people of all ages. There is plenty in this film for all walks of life.
For those that might be wondering if you need to know anything about the history of the character to enjoy the film, the answer is definitely not. There are definitely references and allusions to plenty of comic book material, but that won’t affect your viewing experience but will enhance the experience of those in the know with little subtle nods throughout the film. The characterizations and plot follow closely with those in Geoff John’s New 52 Shazam! that ran as the backups in that same period’s Justice League.
The film’s production quality is of a very high level using its rumored $80-$100 million budget very well. The special effects in this film will definitely not leave you questioning the quality of the renders or the overall detail of the CGI – it looks great.
There is a large ensemble cast in Shazam! and no actor in this film lets you down. They all perform really well irrespective of the size of their role and respective screen time. Zachary Levi handles his responsibility as the lead in the film with great aplomb. His childlike expressions of wonder and excitement really radiate through while Asher Angel is a wonderful foil that tempers Levi’s performance to provide that balance and duality of personas.
Two special mentions as well are for Mark Strong who plays the villain Dr. Sivana. You can always rely on him for a solid performance. He is suitably evil and devoid of emotion – a perfect Sivana who steals each scene he’s in. Secondly, I want to single out Faithe Hernan who is equally hilarious and cute as Darla Dudley. You may recognize Hernan from her current work on critically acclaimed series This is Us where she plays youngest daughter Annie Pearson.
There are so many other things I would like to bring up, but I really don’t want to spoil anything cast or plot wise. Go see it, it’s really worth the money and you will leave the cinema with a big goofy smile on your face, unless you are totally dead inside – and if you are, maybe this will reanimate those atrophied emotions you long gave up on.
8.5 out of 10