'Shazam's a decent, standard (meaning professionally orchestrated) Hollywood movie that's a bit in a rush to entertain you but succeeds in doing so. What I mean by this is that the jokes -and there are plenty of them -and the pacing of the lines and cutting are rapid fire. That's not a bad thing UNTIL it becomes noticeable which it does in this film. That being said, let's take a look at it in a categorical fashion:
THE WRITTEN NARRATIVE
As I hinted at above, the writing is pretty standard and the characters all follow some predictable character arcs with a couple of instances of emotional insencerity thrown in do this cookie-cutter plot. The story goes like this. A WIZARD, the last of 7 ancient WIZARDS who's job is to keep in check the 7 Sins (yep, the one's from the Catholic religion), in check -is dying. He needs to pass on his magic to a 'chosen one'. While seeking out this special person he offends a young man by the name of Thaddeus Sivana and then years later must deal with him after he returns to seek respect. Conveniently (plot wise) the Wizard finally finds someone he can entrust his powers to in the form of Billy Batson and transfers it to him --sans instructions on how to use them! Hahaha. Anyway we all know that this is a set up for the well worn super hero origin trope of the hero trying to figure out what powers he has and how to use them.Thanks to the witty, sarcastic rants of the hero's foster brother, Freddy Freeman, the scenes of power discovery and training or pretty funny and entertaining. The rest of the story is unoriginal that it hardly bears mentioning -SO I WON'T.
THE VISUAL NARRATIVE
The visual direction of 'SHAZAM' is pretty basic. Nothing flashy here folks, just some good old, reliable camera set ups and special effects. CGI stuff looks pretty convincing and the cutting, pacing and flow of the action is good: most of the action is spontaneous and doesn't appear to be 'staged' like in a bad action movie. Also -be aware that there are some very, very violent scenes in this film which go great to counter the films heavy comedic lean. These scenes are downright brutal and chilling for a super hero film and when you see them you will know exactly which ones I'm talking about. In fact, now that I think about it, the director did a fantastic job bringing visions of true evil to life. True evil is rather merciless and you do get this impression when the '7 Sins' are freed from their frozen state as gargoyle-like statues inside the The WIZARD'S headquarters or lair and begin attacking ordinary people.
All of the actors are pretty decent and well chosen. I've always said that casting is the most important thing in visual storytelling. Actors have to not only be able to handle the emotional and intellectual manifestations of their characters but they also need to PROJECT THE CHARACTER'S MAIN QUALITIES OR ESSENCE WITHOUT SAYING A WORD. This helps in maintaining the all-important SUSPENSION OF DISBELIEF in the audience. Shazam's actors mostly fit this bill quite well and in some ways they exceed it (speaking about the resourceful and flippant best friend / sidekick to Shazam -Freddy Freeman (played enthusiastically by Jack Dylan Grazer. He nearly steals the movie with his downright carelessness with testing the newly minted super hero's powers.)
So, all in all this is a movie is definitely a must-see for comic book movie producers and other professionals and for non-professionals as well. It's whole premise of a bunch of young kids gaining super powers is irresistible and provides enough material for a bunch of sequels that definitely would like to see (if they are done well, of course!)
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