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Shazam (2019)

Rating:
7
Year:
2019
Country:
US
Director:
Duration:
132

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Shazam (2019) Review

About the movie Shazam (2019)

Shazam! is a 2019 American superhero film based on the DC Comics character of the same name. Produced by New Line Cinema and distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, it is the seventh installment in the DC Extended Universe (DCEU). It was directed by David F. Sandberg from a screenplay by Henry Gayden and a story by Gayden and Darren Lemke. The film stars Zachary Levi, Mark Strong, Asher Angel, Jack Dylan Grazer, and Djimon Hounsou. The plot follows teenager Billy Batson (Angel) as he is chosen by the ancient wizard Shazam (Hounsou) to be his new champion by saying the name "Shazam", allowing him to transform into an adult superhero (Levi) with various superpowers. Billy and his foster brother Freddy Freeman (Grazer) must discover Billy's new powers to stop the evil Dr. Thaddeus Sivana (Strong) and the Seven Deadly Sins.

Development of a live-action Shazam! the film began at New Line in the early 2000s but was delayed for many years. The film went into pre-production in 2009 with Peter Segal as director, John August as a writer, and Dwayne Johnson being considered to star as the villain Black Adam, but the project fell through; Johnson acts as an executive producer on Shazam!. William Goldman, Alec Sokolow, Joel Cohen, Bill Birch, and Geoff Johns, among others, were all attached to the project as writers at various points. The film was officially announced in 2014, with Johnson attached to star as either Shazam or Black Adam. In January 2017, he was cast to lead a solo Black Adam development project. Sandberg signed on to direct Shazam! in February 2017 and Levi was cast that October, with Angel joining the following month. Principal photography began in Toronto on January 29, 2018, with most of the film shot at Pinewood Toronto Studios, and wrapped on May 11, 2018.

Shazam! was released in the United States by Warner Bros. Pictures in RealD 3D, Dolby Cinema, IMAX, 4DX, and ScreenX on April 5, 2019. The film was a box office success, having grossed $366 million worldwide. It received positive reviews from critics, with praise for Sandberg's direction and the performances of Levi and Grazer, as well as its generally light tone and sense of fun. The sequel, Shazam! Fury of the Gods is scheduled to be released on June 2, 2023.

MOVIE REVIEW

In 1974, young Thaddeus Sivana is riding in a car with his father and brother when he is suddenly transported to the Rock of Eternity, a magical temple in another dimension. There, the ancient wizard Shazam has spent centuries searching for someone pure of heart on whom to bestow his power and name as champion after the previous champion released the Seven Deadly Sins, which killed the rest of the Council of Wizards. Thaddeus is tempted by the Eye of Sin, through which he hears the voices of the Sins, trapped in stone statues, promising him power if he will free them. The wizard deems Thaddeus unworthy and magically returns him to the car, where he makes a scene that leads to a car accident, crippling his father. The Sins send Thaddeus a message telling him to find them.

In present-day Philadelphia, 14-year-old foster child Billy Batson continually runs away from foster homes to search for his birth mother, from whom he became separated while at a carnival ten years prior. He is placed in a group home run by Victor and Rosa Vasquez, with five other foster children: Mary Bromfield, Pedro Peña, Eugene Choi, Darla Dudley, and superhero enthusiast Freddy Freeman. Meanwhile, the embittered Sivana succeeds in his lifelong quest to find a way back to the Rock of Eternity. He steals the Eye of Sin, becoming the Sins' vessel, bests the wizard, and uses his newfound power to kill his father, brother, and Sivana Industries' board of directors.

At school, Billy defends Freddy from bullies and is chased into a subway, where he is transported to the Rock of Eternity. The wizard chooses Billy to be his new champion: by saying the name "Shazam", Billy is transformed into an adult superhero. The wizard turns to dust, leaving his magical staff behind. At home, Freddy is taken into Billy's confidence and helps him explore his newfound powers, which include super strength, speed, near-invulnerability, and electricity manipulation. By saying "Shazam" again, he can transform back into his normal body. Freddy posts viral videos of the new superhero, and Billy starts skipping school to use his powers to busk for money and fame, straining his friendship with Freddy. When Billy accidentally endangers and then saves a bus full of people, Sivana confronts him, demanding that he surrender his powers. Billy discovers that he can fly, and manages to escape. His foster siblings deduce that he is the superhero, and complete his search for his mother, who lives nearby. Billy rushes to see her but is disheartened to learn that she abandoned him, having felt inadequate to raise him as a single, young mother.

Sivana deduces Billy's identity and takes his foster siblings hostage. Billy agrees to transfer his powers to Sivana in exchange for their safety. They go to the Rock of Eternity to use the wizard's staff to effect the transfer, but the children follow and attack Sivana. Billy observes that Sivana becomes vulnerable when all seven Sins leave his body. Sivana pursues them to a winter carnival and unleashes the Sins upon the crowd. Remembering the wizard's words, Billy uses the staff to share his powers with his siblings, transforming them into adult superheroes like him. He then breaks the staff, and his siblings battle the Sins while Billy faces down Sivana. By luring out the final Sin, Envy, Billy makes Sivana vulnerable and yanks the Eye of Sin out of his head, recapturing all the Sins.

Billy and his siblings are hailed as heroes, return the Eye and the Sins to their prison, and realize they can use the Rock of Eternity as their superhero lair. Billy finally accepts his foster parents and siblings as his "real" family. In his superhero form, he has lunch with his siblings at school, revealing to Freddy's surprise that he has also invited Superman. In a mid-credits scene, the imprisoned Sivana is approached by a talking caterpillar, who proposes an alliance.

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