Shazam! No, we’re not talking the music discovery app, but the DC comic hero with a giant lightning bolt on his chest that we’d honestly had never heard of before. But don’t let that get in the way of enjoying one of the most fun superhero films to grace our screens in ages. Shazam doesn’t take itself too seriously and that is an essential part of its charm.
Zachary Levi is the standout star as Billy’s superhero alter-ego with bucket-loads of the geeky charisma he nailed perfectly in Chuck, while Billy’s wise-cracking best buddy is played brilliantly by Jack Dylan Grazer, channelling a young Seth Cohen. They work brilliantly together, particularly in the scenes where Billy stumbles through discovering his superpowers. The whole ensemble foster family start off rather simple and don’t have too many lines, but the family scenes have a simple warmth to them that pays off towards the finale act.
Shazam! might be filled with superhero cliches, but the film embraces them rather than tries to do anything edgy. There are some pitfalls, the CGI baddie monsters are rather dull and copypasted from other DC/Marvel films, and the villain doesn’t really inspire you to really want to see get beaten at the end. Overall, a fun, light-hearted take on the superhero story, that is well aware that it’s not high-art and has some real laugh-out-loud moments.