Image via WB

Shazam! – Review (WITH SPOILERS)

Shazam!

We’re diving into some major Shazam Spoilers today, so be weary if you haven’t seen the film. You can check out our spoiler-free review here, and 10 Spoiler-Free reasons why we love the film here. But below is our full SPOILER FILLED review.

Warner Brothers and DC’s Latest film, Shazam is currently has finally hit theaters. The film stars Asher Angel as Billy Batson, a kid who has been in and out of foster homes since he was a toddler. Billy’s life changes when he is given the powers of the wizard Shazam (Djimon Hounsou). By saying the name Shazam, he turns into an adult superpowered version of himself. He works with his new foster brother Freddy Freeman (Jack Dylan Grazer) — who is obsessed with superheroes — to learn what powers he has and how to use them. Things take a turn for Billy when the evil Dr. Thaddeus Sivana shows up in an attempt to steal the powers of Shazam. We’re going to get into some MAJOR SPOILERS here so if you haven’t seen the film or want to stay away from spoilers, check out our spoiler free review here.

I cannot stress enough how amazing Shazam is. This film is layered in so many ways and has everything that you could possibly want from a superhero movie. And yet the film is almost more of a straight up comedy or family drama than anything else. The heart and soul of the film are Billy and Sivana’s struggles with their childhood trauma. For Billy, it’s the fact that he lost his mother in a crowded carnival when he was just a toddler. For Sivana, it was getting the offer to become Shazam but having it stripped away when he succumbed to the temptations of the Seven Deadly Sins.

Image via Warner Brothers

The film opens by showing us the two major incidents for the hero and villain. Sivana takes the lead in a car ride with his father and brother, and he is ridiculed for not being man enough despite still being a child. He’s then magically transported to the Rock of Eternity, a location which is said to be the home to all magic in the universe. He’s offered the chance to become the wizard Shazam’s champion and to defend the world from the Seven Deadly Sins, but he must first object to their temptations. When he fails, the wizard sends him back to Earth, and his excitement over the event distracts his father, resulting in a car accident that paralyzes his father.

Sivana is driven to find the Rock of Eternity for the rest of his life. In present day, he is a well-respected doctor who runs studies at his father’s company, Sivana Industries. These studies are masqueraded as examinations on mass hysteria. In reality, they are Sivana’s attempts to use the accounts of others who were tested by the Wizard to help him find the Rock of Eternity. He finally figures out the key to open a door to the Rock of Eternity and instead of taking Shazam’s powers, he frees the Seven Deadly Sins and gains power from their magic.

On the flip side, we see Billy lose his mother at a carnival while walking through a crowd. We see that in current day he is in the foster care system and continues to try to find his mother by looking for any woman with the last name Batson. When he steals a cop car to help him find the newest name, he’s sent to the home of Victor and Rosa Vasquez (Cooper Andrews and Marta Milans). Having been foster children themselves, Victor and Rosa know the system and have decided to foster a handful of children themselves: Mary (Grace Fulton), Eugene (Ian Chen), Pedro (Jovan Armand), Darla (Faithe Herman), and Freddy. The family is immediately loving and caring towards Billy, and they welcome him with open arms.

Image via WB

Billy still isn’t sure how he feels about the family or his quest to find his mother but reluctantly decides to stick with it at first. When he starts going to school with the rest of his foster siblings, he defends Freddy from being bullied and runs away from his two attackers. While trying to escape, he is transported to the Rock of Eternity by the Wizard, Shazam. Having aged significantly and knowing that death is upon him and the threat of destruction by the Seven Deadly Sins is imminent, the Wizard demands that Billy take his powers by saying “Shazam.”. When he does so, he’s transformed into the adult version of himself and given superhuman abilities. Just before dying, the Wizard tells him to use his power to bring back the power of the brothers and sisters he lost over time and to save the world from the Sins.

Billy returns to Earth and seeks Freddy’s help in figuring out how to work his powers, knowing that Freddy is obsessed with superheroes like Batman, Superman, and Aquaman. Together they begin testing out different types of superhero abilities that comes to mind. As they learn what Billy can and can’t do, the movie begins to grow into an all out comedy while also staying grounded in reality. Billy and Freddy go to buy beer, and when Billy realizes that he’s bulletproof, they test out exactly how bulletproof. They then buy beer, and immediately realize that it tastes disgusting so they go back and buy candy and soda. Billy tries to fly and ends up falling on his face repeatedly. When a bus is going to fall from a bridge because Billy accidentally hit it with lightning, he first sets down a mattress, hoping that it may be enough to soften the landing. It’s all exactly what a kid would do in real life if put in this situation, and it’s played out legitimately which causes it to be hilarious because it’s not what we expect from a superhero.

Billy and Sivana come head to head when Sivana is told by the Seven Deadly Sins that he must take the powers of Shazam from Billy. He seeks out the hero and they begin fighting in the city. They land in a mall where Billy tries to escape, frightfully realizing that Sivana could hurt him. The chase sequence/fight between them plays out hilariously as Billy/Shazam throws Batman toys at Sivana, steps on a large piano on the floor (a la Big), and crashes through a Santa photo session in the center of the mall. Billy escapes by turning back into himself, but Sivana sees Freddy looking for him and realizes that Freddy was talking to Shazam before they started fighting. He takes Freddy and uses him to find out where Billy will be.

Image via WB

Billy runs back home and the other foster siblings give Billy the information on his real mom, with Eugene having hacked (“again?”) government databases to find out where she lived. Billy finds her, but she barely remembers Billy and essentially shrugs him off, saying she was too young and thought he’d be better off without her. He’s torn apart and doesn’t know what to do when Sivana calls him from Freddy’s phone asking to meet.

At this point we get into the third act of the film, where everything fully comes together. Sivana tells Billy that he doesn’t understand the turmoil Sivana’s been through, and Billy refutes that saying he’s had a tough life too. Billy begins to find his inner strength because of the love he gets from his family, whereas Sivana is driven deeper into the hands of the Sins due to the hatred he received from his family. Six of the Sins leave Sivana, and as he threatens Billy’s foster siblings, they realize they can remove the Sins from Sivana and make him mortal again. Billy also realizes that he may be able to give his siblings powers, so he has them hold the Wizard’s staff and say “Shazam.”

The foster siblings are all given powers and turned into adult versions of themselves: Pedro is now D. J. Cotrona, Darla is now Megan Good, Mary is now Grace Fulton, Eugene is now Ross Butler, and Freddy is now Adam Brody. The scene is amazing, as these kids who have been through hell are finally able to be superheroes themselves. It’s hilarious, heartwarming, and the casting is insanely spot on. From here on out it becomes a funny and action packed battle between the Shazam family, the Sins, and Sivana, with Billy taking on Sivana one-on-one.

Image via WB

At this point the honesty and realism comes into play once again, first with the way the other kids react and use their powers and then with the final confrontation between Sivana and Billy. They meet in the sky, roughly a few blocks apart, and as Sivana goes into a long monologue about ending Billy, Billy points out that they’re too far apart and he can’t hear a word Sivana is saying. They fight, and Sivana is defeated when Billy is able to remove the one last Sin from inside him, Envy, and then return them all to a magical orb that imprisons them.

There are so many fantastic elements of this film: the story of finding your family and how the love within the place you call home can guide you and help you become stronger is more powerful than most superhero stories. At its core, that’s the story of Shazam. Yes, it’s a superhero origin story, a comedy, and part of the DC Universe in a way where the members of the Justice League always feel as though they’re just beyond the frame of what we see. But this is a family drama at its heart — a story about a boy and his foster family and how he learns to find a family for himself. It’s heartwarming, heartbreaking at times, and one of the best experiences you can have in a movie theater. I can’t wait to see this movie again. I can’t wait to see the eventual sequels and spin offs. I want more time with these characters, and I want to share these characters with the people I call family. Shazam is the type of film that DC used to make. The superhero film that inspired and made you believe a man could fly.

Rating: A+

Shazam is currently playing in theaters. Check out the links below for all of our previous Shazam coverage.

Shazam 101
Shazam Spoiler Free Review
Shazam – 10 Reasons We Love The Film

Image via WB/DC/New Line

Image via DC/WB/New Line

Written by Alex Lancaster
(Alex is a life long film fan, and has dedicated his life to watching, making and obsessing over films. His favorite film is Big Fish, and he despises Avatar. He has a 4 year old son. And a bad habit of saying more than he needs to. Follow @alex5348 on Twitter)
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