Friday, August 30, 2019


Regular readers will know this family is rather into superhero movies. So, Husband and I were keen to check out Shazam! This one fits into the DC universe and is a fun addition to the collection. It has no connection to any others (that I could ascertain), so works well as a stand alone (unlike any offerings in the Marvel universe).

It starts in 1974 where a young boy, Thad Sivana, is magically transported to a cave where a final remaining wizard is charged with containing the captured seven deadly sins. He has to find someone who is pure in heart and strong in spirit, a champion to inherit his job. Thad is deemed unworthy and sent back to earth. Fast forward to present day and Thad is still searching for ways to get back into the wizard’s lair, to gain the power of the sins that he glimpsed while there.

Meanwhile, 14 year old Billy Batson, is a child of the state, in care since he lost his mother at a fair when a young boy. He has been searching for her ever since. After yet another failed placement, he is placed in a foster home with a lovely couple and 5 other foster children, ranging from about 5 to 17 years old. There is another boy there Freddy with a leg disability, who soon becomes a good friend.

The wizard brings Billy to him and tells him that as he is in his final days, he must choose someone. He needed a “a truly good person, strong in spirit, pure in heart”, but concludes that after years of searching, there is no one like that and Billy is all he has.

With the magic word Shazam, Billy is given the powers of the six superheros whose first letters make the name: the wisdom of Solomon, the strength of Hercules, the stamina of Atlas, the power of Zeus, the courage of Achilles and the speed of Mercury. He is now transformed into a powerful adult male (Zachary Levi, amusing for previous fans of Chuck).

Not surprisingly, quite a lot of fun ensues as Billy and Freddy figure out what Shazam can do. You can imagine what 14 year old boys get up to when given superpowers. Lots of testing skills and releasing YouTube videos, showing off and some mild abuse of power. He needs to decide if he is going to use his powers for the good of others or only for own benefit.

In time, it becomes clear that Thad has indeed harnessed the power of the seven deadly sins for himself, and becomes the arch villain that Shazam is going to need to face. The sins themselves were quite graphically scary, so that would be a warning for younger audiences.

The foster family is lovely, and the parents are caring, kind and involved. As they say: “we give them a place of love, if they want to call it a home, it’s up to them”. The siblings all learn to look out for each other, and Billy has to decide whether to invest in this family or keep searching for his mother. In time, Billy decides that “if a superhero can’t save his family, he’s not much of a superhero”. There are some fun twists and turns along the way, all is all it’s another enjoyable superhero movie, with the overlay of teenage life across it. I probably prefer the recent Spider-Man (e.g. Homecoming, Far from Home) movies that combine teenagers and superheros, but it’s still pretty good.

No comments: