MOVIE REVIEW | “Shazam!”

By STACY BAUER & DAX HUGHES
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This week, movie reviewer Dax Hughes (newly twelve years old), takes the lead for “Shazam!” It is a whole new movie/superhero (played by Zachary Levi) in the DC Extended Universe, following a boy named Billy Batson (Asher Angel).

He lost his mother as a younger child, and had a lot of foster parents that tried to take care of him, but he ended up running away from each one. On top of this, he is on the search for his true mother.

After a chase from two school bullies, Billy ends up on a subway train, and gets away. As he rides, the train speeds up, and the windows get icy. When it stops, he steps off the train and is in a new dimension, an ancient cave. He is met by a wizard with a staff (both a stick and also a rival band of evil, Seven-Deadly-Sin-demons), who needs to pass his power down to a “true” soul.

He chose Billy, and tested if he was pure of heart, so is given the power to become a superhero when he simply says the word “Shazam!” Before Billy, another kid by the name of Thaddeus Sivana (Mark Strong II), had the same experience in 1974.

Untitled3He was treated poorly by his brother and father, and was mad. When he is met by the man with the staff, an orb housing the Seven Deadly Sins attracts him, to help him get revenge on his brother and father for being jerks.

The wizard stops him, sending him back to the real world. Thadd goes nuts about this and is obsessed! Later on in present-day, he finds a way to reenter the realm, taking the evil powers he wanted for himself. Dr. Sivana is now Shazam’s present-day nemesis.

Mom Stacy, here. I’m not usually a huge fan of traditional superhero movies. But what’s striking is how accessible and relatable the characters in Shazam are. They seem like friends you could know in real life.

The band of foster kids becomes something amazing toward the end; it’s an endearing, triumphant story. Of course the bad guy loses (that’s not a spoiler, in this popular formula), who is basically “Envy” at his essence.

It’s a wonderful, counter-message of honoring individuality, in this high-tech age of constant comparison. And be sure to sit tight until the very last credits roll, for a 2-count of teasers.

“Shazam!” is rated PG-13 and runs 130 minutes.

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