Djimon HounsouMichelle Borth...
Action & Adventure
David F. Sandberg
In 18 Cinemas
There is a thin line between imagination and absurdity, and that line is contextual proof; a movie does not have to prove that superheroes can fly or that blue creatures exist on another planet, but they have to convince audiences of why and how this could be true. Shazam abandons that completely and just heads straight into absolute and absurd silly land.
Shazam follows 14-year-old foster kid Billy (Asher Angel), who stumbles into his superpowers that he can conjure when he calls the name of magical wizard, “Shazam”. With his newly acquired powers and looks of a man in his late twenties (Zachary Levi), Billy gets to have fun with his powers until a villain (Mark Strong) possessed by the evil spirits of the seven deadly sins catches up to him. Can the 14-year-old boy actually become a hero?
Just a heads up, to keep watching Shazam, you need to completely suspend any belief, logic, or sense when it comes to superpowers, relationships between people, and other aspects. Even for young audiences, what the filmmakers frame as cool stunts, or ways to quickly and effortlessly progress the plot, just seems extremely silly and absurd unless you are three years old.
You will also need to have some patience as the film is over 120 minutes with several stretched-out sections, such as Billy trying out his powers and a fight scene at the end.
A feature not taking itself seriously is not necessarily a bad thing. But for it not to become a complete mush of silliness, audiences need to think that this is somewhat real in order to care for the characters, instead of being constantly reminded that these people are not real and wondering why they should care about this silly movie.
With this supposedly “out of the box” approach, the film’s core plot is very safe and predictable from start to finish — one more reason to cause audiences just to stop caring about the entire movie.
As for the acting, Asher Angel actually did a decent job portraying the messed-up kid without making him too stereotypical or boring. Zachary Levi’s performance, on the other hand, was extremely over the top especially when it came to his facial expression which made the silly film even sillier. Mark Strong held on to his well-known skills with a decent performance that proved his talent.
If you like flying men in red latex suits, regardless of how silly the context is, then maybe this movie is for you.