Rinzy Reviews ‘Shazam!’ (2019)

Release Date: April 5

Starring: Zachary Levi, Asher Angel, Jack Dylan Grazer, Djimon Hounsou, et al.

***

As more comic book characters find their way into live-action, Shazam! is the latest to make it to the big screen.

The greatest thing going for this movie is Zachary Levi as the titular character, and I don’t even mean all the tons of muscles he added to achieve his great physique. Levi’s a perfect fit for the role, and as many online reviews have already pointed out, he was born to play Shazam!

Where this impressiveness falters is in almost every scene we get to see Shazam revert back to his original self as 14-year-old Billy Batson. Actor/musician Asher Angel does his best in the role, but I can’t help but feel he got overwhelmed by the role, a dilemma the director should’ve taken note of during casting. As a standalone character, Angel does a great job bringing Billy to live but when you put him side-by-side Levi’s, the character starts to fall apart.

For most part of his scenes, you see him acting tougher and much older than his alter ego, making it seem like its two different characters when it really should be one character in two different bodies. To me, that’s a great miss.

Mark Strong is an incredible actor, but his work here as Dr. Sivani falls short of expectation especially when you compare it with his more recent roles, like in the Kingsman franchise. This is by no means the actors fault, he’s incredibly talented, but as a result of a script laddened with cranky dialogues, fewer action scenes, and an elongated runtime. I believe a shorter, more concise story would’ve worked more in its favor. Because of this major setback, we get a villain who’s more powerful than the protagonist, but we never get to feel the gravity of the movie’s stakes. This in turn translates to an easily forgettable villain. Good news is, if the mid-credit scene is anything to go by, Dr. Silvana might be returning in the sequel; this provides the opportunity to right the wrongs done with the character.

Shazam! is a family movie, and would’ve been perfect for a Christmas release. And as a family movie it takes it’s time to preach the gospel of why family doesn’t always have to do with blood. It speaks on acceptance, especially on self-acceptance, and is a good message for children still having difficulty being the best version of themselves. Billy’s relationship with Freddy and the rest of his foster siblings is the kind of thing you want you two children always at lodgerhead to see; that despite our seeming differences we can always be there for each other.

Jack Dylan Grazer does excellent work as Freddy/Shazam’ sidekick/ Shazam’s manager. He really holds his own throughout the movie beside Levi and Angel, and so do the rest of the supporting cast.

Lest I forget, I really liked the twist in the last act. Oh my gosh! I felt electricity course through my veins when the foster kids (yeah, I’m sticking with calling them that) put their hands on the staff and yelled Shazam. Being that I’ve never read a Shazam comic book before, I didn’t know what to expect, and liked that the movie didn’t toe the line of Dr. Silvana collecting Shazam’s powers only to have it returned later in the movie for the final battle.

Shazam! is a magical, really fun movie with good comedy. Since magic in movies is almost always fun, and, also, because we’re expecting a sequel, I hope the director gets a larger budget to work with, so that it’ll have a much grander feel, and the CGI of subsequent magical creatures can look better than the seven deadly sins did in this one.

Directed by: Adam F. Sandberg

Rinzy’s Rating: 3.5/5

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