Shazam!

The seventh installment in the DC Extended Universe comic book superhero movie series, Shazam! is a wildly entertaining and sometimes quite funny superhero film that refreshingly takes a less serious step back from the massive Marvel Cinematic Universe and the rather disappointing movies in the DC franchise. We first meet an awkward young teenager named Thaddeus Sivana in the 1970s who is magically teleported to the so-called Rock of Eternity where he is greeted by a mysterious wizard named Shazam, played by Djimon Hounsou, who tells him that he could have his powers if he is a truly good person. The movie flashes forward to present day with the now power-hungry Thaddeus, played by the conniving Mark Strong, searching for a way to return to Shazam and steal the evil powers also contained at the Rock of Eternity. Eventually, he is able to get the powers and thereby becomes a supervillain intent on using his superpowers to enrich himself and get revenge for being bullied by his family. Meanwhile, we meet the young teenage orphan Billy Batson, played by Asher Angel, moving into a new group home with the very kind Vasquez foster parents who also are fostering five other kids. He is a troublemaker who has been searching for years for his real mother and does not want to be with this new family in Philadelphia. However, Billy’s life changes dramatically after he is transported to the Rock of Eternity where he accepts the powers imbued by the aging Shazam. When he returns to the real world, he discovers that he is a superhero in the body of an adult, played by Zachary Levi. He tries to figure out in several entertaining scenes what exactly are his superpowers with the help of his disabled foster brother Freddy, played by the funny Jack Dylan Grazer, who is a comic book nerd. Throughout the beginning of the movie until the middle, the movie shows Billy and the often bullied Freddy having fun and enjoying the fame associated with Billy’s new superhero adult alter ego who can be summoned by just saying the word Shazam. But, towards the end, the story follows a more typical superhero movie route by having Billy’s superhero body being forced to fight against the supervillain Thaddeus who has equally dangerous superpowers. Overall, I have not had as much fun in a while at a superhero movie as I did watching this very entertaining film that is made special by the charismatic performances and the hilarious childlike antics of what a kid with superpowers would really do as a superhero.

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