Summary: A teenager can transform into the physical representation of his potential.
“Man, Kelly, that’s kind of a harsh score.” I’m basing this solely on the fact that I had a good time, but I have absolutely no desire to see it again. It was worth the trip, I had a genuine chuckle or five, but it’s not like I was dying to see this in the first place or I found it visually stimulating. It was entertaining, it had a lot of laughs, and I enjoyed myself for the better part of two hours.
There are a lot of high points and a couple of low points- the main issue being that I could feel the run time. It’s about two hours, which is usually fine- I’m wary if it runs under an hour and forty-five minutes- and it just feels wrong. When we got to the climax, I was just wondering when it was going to end. They try to build up the villain and his masculinity issues- which was a nice touch that I could appreciate if the movie had a more serious tone- but there’s a lot of his stuff that could have been cut out and it would have been fine. (Mark Strong does well with his material- I wish they went full throttle with letting him chew up his lines and be more over the top.)
The nice thing about this movie is that it has a lot of heart to it. It’s thematically stronger than some other superhero movies and I find that more interesting to watch (cough, Ant-man and the Wasp, other Marvel things). And for what’s marketed as a kid’s movie- Shazam touches upon a lot of “tougher” topics- Billy is a foster kid who has never had a home, has had few friends, and refuses to put roots anywhere. For the most part, Billy’s acquisition of his powers is used to confront how he interacts others and views his relationships. It was a really nice touch and I think this is a movie that young audiences will love to go back to and rediscover those bigger themes when they’re adults. It’ll also be fun to read those “I found this part terrifying when I was ten” because there are some genuinely scary parts in this movie. I enjoyed them- the kid next to me, not so much.
Another thing to appreciate- Marvel might have their hands on the best franchise, but these DC properties are winning when it comes to standalone things. It’s nice to see something stand on its own- it’s own tone, look, and feel- without being dependent on a sequel or team outing or whatever. More of these please!