Based on the characters created by Bill Parker and C.C. Beck, co-written and adapted by Henry Gayden, directed by David F. Sandberg and starring Zachary Levi, Asher Angel, Mark Strong, and Jack Dylan Grazer, Shazam is the story of a 14 year-old turned sudden superhero.
At first sight of the poster for this movie, I had less than zero desire to watch. There he was, splashed across both elevators of the AMC 25, looking like a tool.
Regardless of your Marvel or DC loyalties, if you don’t enjoy this movie (at least to some degree – even if you rated it a 6 out of 10), it is my duty to inform you that your inner 14 year-old is deceased. Time of death – TBD. Manner of death – most likely, murder by adulting. This is not like having a broken funny bone people. This is serious. You need to go back to the future or the past, or whatever you need to do and figure out exactly when this tragedy occurred, find that 14 year-old inside yourself, revive him or her, and watch Shazam again. You can thank me later.
I enjoyed this movie because it is well cast, fun, sort of goofy but not too goofy, light but not too light (thanks to those lovely demons), didn’t take itself so seriously and didn’t try too hard. It has that “for children of all ages” feel to it. It’s like a whimsical spoof and I really did feel my 14 year-old-self enjoying every (Hold up. Did I just type “every?” I meant, “most.” Let’s not get carried away here. Although, thinking back, I don’t remember one, single eye roll during this entire movie, which is extraordinary for me during a superhero flick. Also, I do remember smiling through much of it and even when I wasn’t smiling I was paying full attention. Not one yawn or watch check through the whole affair. Perhaps I enjoyed it more than I even realized…Whoa!) minute of it!
Imagine if you had somehow acquired superpowers when you were 14 years old and the subsequent jerk you would have become – but for a good friend and/or family member keeping you grounded and saving you from yourself (that is, if he didn’t turn into your “yes man” and contribute to your eventual demise).
Hmmm… Mystical growth spurt; best friend enjoying the fruits of that growth at first; things/protagonist change and the friendship deteriorates as the good friend tells some hard truths the protagonist doesn’t really want to hear about him turning into an a-hole; something happens to let the protagonist know he needs his best friend or that his behavior is/was wrong. A big part of the humor relies on the protagonist making these awkward, comical adjustments to his new body/status. A movie with a message about friends and family. Sound familiar? It should. It’s the plot to Big! And that’s another part of why I enjoyed this movie so much. (This dawned on me long after watching.)
Shazam earned 8.5 out of 10 bloops for the refreshing awakening of my 14 year-old self, if only for a couple of hours. Shazam is a good movie worth seeing in a theater, particularly if you have youngsters to take. The demons are frightening for younger ones, I’d give it 7 years old and up to avoid any nightmares depending on your kid, of course. And please don’t think it is a movie “just for boys”. It isn’t. Take the girls too. They’ll have a good time as well.
Here’s what you should really do, if you can: Tell your kids they should call their grandparent(s) and invite them to the movies so the grandparents can have their 14 year-old selves come out and play too! Grandparents are not going to say no. They’ll be thrilled the kid(s) called and invited them. Then you get a couple of hours to yourself! Pretty clever plan, eh?
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1 = worst ever, avoid at all cost
2 = very bad, forget about it!
3 = poor movie, not recommended
4 = not good, even for free – NO!
5 = so-so, worth it if you don’t have to pay
6 = not bad, could have been better
7 = good movie, worth seeing
8 = great movie, don’t miss it!
9 = excellent movie, a must see!
10 = a masterpiece, go see it now!
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