Wonder Woman was wonderful, but it was followed by the less than wonderful Justice League. That, however, was followed by the fun and pretty good Aquaman. Thus, it was with not a little bit of trepidation that I followed the production of Shazam!. The character is one of the fun four colour characters, light-hearted and full of the joy of “old-school” super heroics. Given that the character is actually a fourteen-year-old boy in a (super)man’s body, the joy and fun inherent in the comics makes sense, I was just hoping that Zach Snyder’s nihilism had not extended to the former Captain Marvel.
The casting of Zachary Levi was the first hint that the producers, writers and director were on the right track. Levi is a charming actor seemingly incapable of cynicism and darkness. All you have to do is look back to his performance as the reluctant superspy, Chuck. Just like this role, Chuck finds himself in an absurd situation beyond his control with “superpowers” beyond his understanding, and with no manual on how to tap into and effectively use them. He easily imbues Shazam with the qualities of a child finding themselves in this silly situation and just like any kid, and honestly any adult, he uses his new powers mainly for his own benefit, albeit for far more innocent benefit than an adult would.
Levi is a charming actor seemingly incapable of cynicism and darkness.
The effects throughout the film are decent enough, but that final battle is the usual mess of too many quick-cuts in too dark a setting to follow effectively.
Grumpy Old Man who still collects toys (THEY. ARE. NOT. DOLLS), PC Gamer lured to the Dark Side of console gaming, comic book reader and fan of all things pop culture.
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5 April 2019
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