REVIEW: ‘Shazam!’ is a step in the right direction for DC

Jack Dylan Grazer, left, and Zachary Levi in "Shazam!" (Courtesy photo by Rolling Stone)

Going into yet another superhero movie, you probably feel a bit of skepticism about just how exceptional this movie will be.

“Shazam!” immediately set a different tone from other movies in the DC Comics franchise by beginning with comedy, a light tone and a general feeling of excitement. Although “Shazam!” will not be competing for best superhero film in my eyes, it does give me excitement about a new direction that the DC universe could explore.

The hero of the story, 14-year-old Billy Batson (Asher Angel), begins his journey as a foster child trying to find his place with his new family. When he unexpectedly ends up in a magical cave and is transformed into Shazam (Zachary Levi), he finds himself with the opportunity to learn more about his identity through his newfound powers.

“Shazam!” captivates its audience with a unique perspective, I can’t say I have ever seen anyone portray the personality of a 14-year-old in the body of a full-grown man so well before.

Zachary Levi’s performance captures the essence of being young perfectly, and after seeing his performance I can’t imagine anyone else playing that role.

“Shazam!” was easy to get into the story line and empathize with the characters. The rest of the cast held up well with young actors such as Jack Grazer, Grace Fulton and Jovan Armand, who all captured unique personalities of Billy’s new family. The acting felt believable overall, with just a few exceptions. I can say I honestly felt myself excited to see the accomplishments of the characters and felt the pain that they experienced.

However there was one major aspect of the movie that was lacking. The villain, Doctor Sivana played by Mark Strong, was very bland and didn’t capture anything that hasn’t been done before. Sivana was a completely uncomplicated bad guy. It felt like everything he did was without remorse or good reason. I simply didn’t understand why he did what he did; for this reason, he didn’t seem as believable as many of the other characters shown in the film.

Another aspect of the film that didn’t hit the mark for me was the plot. It honestly felt like many other superhero films we have all seen before. The pacing of the film felt predictable, I was never really concerned about what might happen next or holding my breath.

Overall, “Shazam!” is a great movie both for children to enjoy and for adults to recall their former teenage years. It brings exciting possibilities to attract a younger audience, but the humor and excitement will also attract older viewers.

I would recommend any excited DC fans to have fun and share the excitement of Billy Batson as he goes on his adventure as “Shazam!”

Abigail Compton is a junior in fine arts. The views and opinions expressed in this review are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Collegian. Please send comments to