Movies

This DC Hero was Once Called Captain Marvel

Movie Review:

Shazam! (2019)

Rating: 6 out of 10 stars

Overview

Pros

  • Some fun characters
  • Interesting villain backstory
  • The relationships between Billy and the other children at the group home become better developed and sweet
  • Fun antics with a boy turning into an adult and trying out stuff that can only be done as an adult

Cons

  • Plot is okay, but the movie could have been more interesting
  • It made no sense for Billy Batson to be chosen as Shazam, since he definitely is not pure of heart
  • The villain in the present day isn’t very interesting, motivated only by power, kind of one-note
  • The whole bus scene makes no sense
  • The after-credits scene is just bizarre

Warning: Spoilers Below!

Review

This movie was fun at times, but not phenomenal. That is why I rated it 6, which is slightly above the mid-mark. I thought it was pretty cool that Shazam was once called Captain Marvel but that name was dropped once the Marvel Cinematic Universe came into power.

In this movie, Billy Batson is a kid who keeps running from foster homes because he is looking for his mother, who he got separated from at a carnival when he was much younger. He is far from pure of heart, but a wizard chooses him as a champion to obtain the power of near-invulnerability as well as a host of other powers.

This is partially because the Seven Deadly Sins, a bunch of creepy demons, have chosen their own champion. Their champion was a child named Thaddeus the wizard rejected, who grew up in an abusive household. When he is transported to the Rock of Eternity to be tested, he failed the wizard’s test and was sent back to his father’s car. He panicked because of the experience, and his father is verbally abusive. His father gets so distracted with being horrible to his son that the car is hit by another vehicle. From that accident, the father is paralyzed from the waist down. Both Thaddeus’s father and older brother blame Thaddeus for the accident and his father’s paralysis.

As an adult, Thaddeus seeks out the Seven Deadly Sins and becomes their champion. He has a decent backstory, but in the present he just isn’t very interesting. Some villains have good backstories are still very developed and interesting in the present of a movie, such as Loki from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Thaddeus is not one of those villains.

The part of the movie that is the most fun is probably when Billy is testing out all of his new powers with his foster brother and just being a kid with the body of an adult. He charges people’s phones with his powers to kind of act like a hero, but he is actually very self-centered. And besides, charging phones is not necessarily even heroic, it’s kind of just nice. Even so, it is really show-offy, so I feel like it isn’t a testament of good character. He uses his newfound abilities to buy alcohol and steal from an ATM. Yeah, he’s not really hero material.

Billy basically becomes a jerk, even to his foster brother Freddy. Billy doesn’t show up for him even though he knows Freddy will be bullied. He’s not necessarily a likable protagonist, but he is interesting, which is what matters.

Billy accidentally causes a bus to fall off a bridge and crash. The windshield of the bus cracks when one man lands on it, but Shazam catches the bus by the windshield, which apparently then is capable of holding up the entire bus. Also, the bus hitting an invulnerable man would be just as jarring and deadly as hitting the ground.

It takes getting his butt kicked by a villain (Thaddeus) for him to begin to change. He manages to escape from the battle only by becoming his kid self again.

But the real change happens when Billy meets his mom again, and finds out that she didn’t lose him, at least not permanently. She abandoned him, and doesn’t want him in her life right now. He realizes that in the group home with his foster family, he has found his real family.

The final battle is kind of weird. The other foster kids are given the powers of Shazam and the ability to turn into adults. They all fight Thaddeus and the Seven Deadly Sins, which are nasty-looking demons. Of course the good guys win after a rough fight. Billy spares Thaddeus but I feel like he should have just let him fall to his death. I’m usually not that heartless even with villains, but I just felt no attachment to him.

I guess it’s an okay ending, but the after credits scene really seemed dumb. An evil caterpillar came to visit Thaddeus in prison. Yeah….I don’t know where they are going with that. It was hard to take seriously.

Overall, the movie was fine and had its entertaining moments. I wouldn’t particularly recommend it, but you may find it enjoyable if you like super hero movies in general.

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