We have recently had a spate of horror flicks of various stripes in our theaters. This week we have a comic look at the superhero business with “Shazam!” However we cannot quite get away from the horror theme. Director David F. Sandberg we know best for his stupendously successful horror film “Annabelle: Creation.”
Zachery Levi plays the adult version of the 14-year-old superhero. Levi has a long career in TV including a very long run with a series called “Chuck” which ran for six years and 91 episodes.
The very distinctive looking, popular and prolific actor Djimon Hounsou plays the wizard Shazam. He comes from the small West African nation of Benin. You might not recognize him at once as he has a full fledged crop of wizard beard and hair.
I won’t get into the plot except to say that we get double extra big helpings of plot which may or may not add to the enjoyment of the film.
We want to remember that the 14-year-old kid that uses magic to turn into an adult superhero remains a 14-year-old kid, just bigger. It takes him a while to adapt to his super abilities. He spends some time, for instance, earning money as a street performer making electric bolts shoot from his fingers for tips.
So long as we keep in mind that a 14-year-old has the lead role, as a 14-year-old and as an adult body with a 14-year-old inside of it, we will enjoy the ride.
The moviemakers do pay homage to the wonderful Tom Hanks film “Big.” In “Big” a boy also gets magically turned into a man-size person with a boy brain.
Young TV actor Asher Angel plays Billy Batson, the 14-year-old foster kid who belts out the magic word Shazam! A side plot running through the movie has Billy trying again and again to re-connect with his mom, which just seemed sad to me.
Billy’s sidekick has a handicap, a not working correctly leg and uses a crutch.
Watch for Cooper Andrews, currently in a recurring role in “The Walking Dead” as the chock-full of love dad of a foster family.
The mild mannered “Shazam!” PG-13 rated film runs a more bang for the buck 2 hours and 12 minutes. This very enjoyable family friendly film rates an above average three and a half saw blades.
Many episodes of a 1941 matinee serial called “The Adventures of Captain Marvel” predate “Shazam!” The current version of Captain Marvel and Shazam have little in common with the original.