Vic's Flick Picks
(2 popcorn boxes)
I thought I had turned a DC Comics corner after the amazing Wonder Woman and the great fun of Aquaman. Nope.
Billy Batson (Asher Angel) is a 14-year-old boy floating through the Foster Care system. He runs away often in search of his real mother. In this story, he has landed in a Philadelphia foster home with five other foster children, with foster parents who are former foster children themselves. Wow. I just typed 𠇏oster” five times. My fantastical daughter will be so proud.
As in all comic-based stories, Billy receives super powers, this time from an ancient wizard (Djimon Hounsou – unrecognizable except for his voice) who is seeking a champion to fight the seven deadly sins.
Okay, they lost me right there. Seven deadly sins? Rather Biblical and not at all champion-worthy.
Now Billy turns into an indestructible super guy (Zachary Levi) by saying “Shazam!” The only problem is, in his head Billy is still only 14 years old and as you may have already guessed, he is not interested in saving the world – just skipping school and eating a lot of Cheetos.
Enter the villain. Dr. Sivana (Mark Strong – always an excellent villain) was passed over by the wizard as a child and has a large chip on his shoulder. Now he wants to destroy Shazam and take his powers. Standard procedure for comics, but I could not get past the notion that this bad guy was trying to kill a 14-year-old boy. Not cool.
I am willing to admit that I may be judging this film too harshly. Throughout the entire film I couldn’t escape the feeling that this is just Big (starring a truly super Tom Hanks) and we need to find the Zoltar machine. Shazam even manages to dance on a giant keyboard a la Big… are the writers laughing at themselves or at us? I fully understand if all DC comics fans now plan to let me know that Big is actually a rip-off of the DC comic Shazam!
Only two boxes out of five for Shazam! The husband thought it was hilarious, and I did laugh sometimes, but not enough to say I liked the film. All of the actors did a fine job of portraying themselves as annoying teenagers... even “grown-up” Levi. The film just never captured my heart.
Ironically, we usually see many children movie-goers at comic-based films that are not suitable for children. Shazam! was made for a child’s intellect and there were no children in the theater. Shazam! is rated PG-13 for intense action scenes, but it would be acceptable for 10-years-old and up. I assume there will be a sequel – I did not stay for the after-credits scene, mostly because only Marvel can do that well! Now I did it, I said the M word.
Check this week’s issue of the Frankenmuth News for a complete listing of shows and times.
Mark Strong was also the villain in several other films… like Kick Ass and Green Lantern. He was a good guy in this 2014 action and comedy version of British spies.
LAST WEEK’S MOVIE TRIVIA
Ben Mendelsohn is rather well known for playing villains in films, including Rogue One and this 2018 film featuring Jamie Foxx, easily the worst movie of 2018. Robin Hood.