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Movie Review: Shazam!

Shazam!

If you watched the advertisements for the latest DC Cinematic Universe film Shazam! (and don’t let anyone tell you it’s not, it absolutely is), you’d think the film was Big but with superheroes. That description might get at some of the basics but in reality it misses out on so much of what makes this film not just work but also stand out as one of the best live action superhero releases of the modern era.

Shazam! follows Billy Batson, a foster kid who’s searching for his birth mother. He’s eventually recruited by the Wizard and given power to turn himself into the adult superhero Shazam but shouting SHAZAM!

What follows over 2 hours of having fun with, fun of, and love of superhero tropes and films.

Played by Asher Angel, Batson is a troublemaker with a heart. He’s on a mission to find his mother and by doing so running away from various foster families and facilities. Enter the Vasquez family headed up by Rosa (Marta Milans) and Victor (the always amazing and loveable Cooper Andrews). They run a foster home and are the parents you both love and roll your eyes due to their corny jokes. Each kid exudes personality and cuteness. Jack Dylan Grazer as Freddy Freeman and Faithe Herman as Darla Dudley standing out. Those two get the most screen time out of all of the children with Darla delivering moments where you just want to hug her and others where you want to adopt her yourself. Grazer’s Freddy though is fandom personified guiding Billy through his learning his powers.

From there, the film is jokes about superpowers and some of the sillier aspects of being a superhero. And it does it all with a smile and infectious enthusiasm. Much of that is due to Zachary Levi as Shazam. Levi along with Grazer combine to form a team where it’s hard to not enjoy their journey of discovery. It’s just over the top silly at times and that’s exactly what it should be. Action sequences are broken up with segments using social media to explore Shazam’s powers. Freddy acts as Yoda to Billy’s Luke. This all works due to the amazing comedic chops of Levi and Grazer who nail the delivery of every scene and when things get serious, play it all off as believable kids.

The film is about excitement and the discovery of the hero in us all and it wears that on its sleeve with a giant smile.

That enthusiasm and discovery is juxtaposed with Mark Strong‘s Dr. Thaddeus Sivana who years earlier was rejected from the power of Shazam and has been searching for it ever since. The villain is the weakest part of the film, though Strong’s performance is strong. The film falls into a fight we’ve seen so many times before and is a bit reminiscent of the original Superman films down to the special fx. It wouldn’t surprise me if this was done on purpose as an example of the film’s clear love of superhero films.

What stands out to me for Shazam! is not just how much fun I had watching the film, but how much the audience enjoyed it. I haven’t seen a crowd cheering and applauding since Black Panther and Wonder Woman. There was also sniffling during the more serious and touching moments. The film nails the emotional moments delivering an experience that’s hard to not have fun watching. If you found yourself smiling or laughing at the various television spots, the film takes that humor to the next level. It’s unafraid to take the silliness that extra step and nail the joke.

Shazam! is a film that exceeded my expectations delivering an entertaining film that I immediately wanted to see again. It’s the first live action superhero “family film” since the original Superman. Judging by the audience reactions, from kids to their parents, it was enjoyed by people of all ages and genders and catapulted itself to being one of the best superhero films of the modern era to be released.

Overall Rating: 9.0

Movie Review: Shazam!

Shazam!

If you watched the advertisements for the latest DC Cinematic Universe film Shazam! (and don’t let anyone tell you it’s not, it absolutely is), you’d think the film was Big but with superheroes. That description might get at some of the basics but in reality it misses out on so much of what makes this film not just work but also stand out as one of the best live action superhero releases of the modern era.

Shazam! follows Billy Batson, a foster kid who’s searching for his birth mother. He’s eventually recruited by the Wizard and given power to turn himself into the adult superhero Shazam but shouting SHAZAM!

What follows over 2 hours of having fun with, fun of, and love to superhero tropes and films.

Played by Asher Angel, Batson is a troublemaker with a heart. He’s on a mission to find his mother and by doing so running away from various foster families and facilities. Enter the Vasquez family headed up by Rosa (Marta Milans) and Victor (the always amazing and loveable Cooper Andrews). They run a foster home and are the parents you both love and roll your eyes due to their corny jokes. Each kid exudes personality and cuteness. Jack Dylan Grazer as Freddy Freeman and Faithe Herman as Darla Dudley standing out. Those two get the most screen time out of all of the children with Darla delivering moments where you just want to hug her and others where you want to adopt her yourself. Grazer’s Freddy though is fandom personified guiding Billy through his learning his powers.

From there, the film is jokes about superpowers and some of the sillier aspects of being a superhero. And it does it all with a smile and infectious enthusiasm. Much of that is due to Zachary Levi as Shazam. Levi along with Grazer combine to form a team where it’s hard to not enjoy their journey of discovery. It’s just over the top silly at times and that’s exactly what it should be. Action sequences are broken up with segments using social media to explore Shazam’s powers. Freddy acts as Yoda to Billy’s Luke. This all works due to the amazing comedic chops of Levi and Grazer who nail the delivery of every scene and when things get serious, play it all off as believable kids.

The film is about excitement and the discovery of the hero in us all and it wears that on its sleeve with a giant smile.

That enthusiasm and discovery is juxtaposed with Mark Strong‘s Dr. Thaddeus Sivana who years earlier was rejected from the power of Shazam and has been searching for it ever since. The villain is the weakest part of the film, though Strong’s performance is strong. The film falls into a fight we’ve seen so many times before and is a bit reminiscent of the original Superman films down to the special fx. It wouldn’t surprise me if this was done on purpose as an example of the film’s clear love of superhero films.

What stands out to me for Shazam! is not just how much fun I had watching the film, but how much the audience enjoyed it. I haven’t seen a crowd cheering and applauding since Black Panther and Wonder Woman. There was also sniffling during the more serious and touching moments. The film nails the emotional moments delivering an experience that’s hard to not have fun watching. If you found yourself smiling or laughing at the various television spots, the film takes that humor to the next level. It’s unafraid to take the silliness that extra step and nail the joke.

Shazam! is a film that exceeded my expectations delivering an entertaining film that I immediately wanted to see again. It’s the first live action superhero “family film” since the original Superman. Judging by the audience reactions, from kids to their parents, it was enjoyed by people of all ages and genders and catapulted itself to being one of the best superhero films of the modern era to be released.

Overall Rating: 9.0

SDCC 2018: Shazam! Gets Its First Official Trailer


As expected, Shazam! gets its first trailer revealed at San Diego Comic-Con. David F. Sandberg directs New Line Cinema’s Shazam!, the origin story that stars Zachary Levi as the titular DC Super Hero, along with Asher Angel as Billy Batson, and Mark Strong in the role of Super-Villain Dr. Thaddeus Sivana.

We all have a superhero inside us, it just takes a bit of magic to bring it out. In Billy Batson’s case, by shouting out one word—SHAZAM!—this streetwise 14-year-old foster kid can turn into the adult Super Hero Shazam, courtesy of an ancient wizard. Still a kid at heart—inside a ripped, godlike body—Shazam revels in this adult version of himself by doing what any teen would do with superpowers: have fun with them! Can he fly? Does he have X-ray vision? Can he shoot lightning out of his hands? Can he skip his social studies test? Shazam sets out to test the limits of his abilities with the joyful recklessness of a child. But he’ll need to master these powers quickly in order to fight the deadly forces of evil controlled by Dr. Thaddeus Sivana.

Shazam!” also stars Jack Dylan Grazer as Billy’s best friend and ultimate superhero enthusiast, Freddy, part of the foster family that includes Mary, played by Grace Fulton; Darla, played by Faithe Herman; Eugene, played by Ian Chen; and Pedro, played by Jovan Armand. Cooper Andrews and Marta Milans play foster parents Victor and Rosa Vasquez, with Oscar nominee Djimon Hounsou as the Wizard.

The film is firmly set in the DC universe but has its own distinct voice, fun, family-centric tone.

Shazam! is set for release on April 5, 2019.

Around the Tubes

The weekend is almost here! Who’s going to see Thor: Ragnarok? Who’s already seen it? Sound off in the comments below (hint, it’s awesome).

The Outhouse – Mark Strong In Talks For Doctor Sivana In Shazam! – Could be solid casting.

 

Review

Talking Comics – Batman: The Drowned

Talking Comics – Captain America #695

ICv2 – Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? On the Side: Sword Oratoria Vol. 1 TP

Kingsman: The Golden Circle Gets a Poster

Kingsman: The Secret Service introduced the world to Kingsman – an independent, international intelligence agency operating at the highest level of discretion, whose ultimate goal is to keep the world safe. In Kingsman: The Golden Circle, our heroes face a new challenge. When their headquarters are destroyed and the world is held hostage, their journey leads them to the discovery of an allied spy organization in the US called Statesman, dating back to the day they were both founded. In a new adventure that tests their agents’ strength and wits to the limit, these two elite secret organizations band together to defeat a ruthless common enemy, in order to save the world, something that’s becoming a bit of a habit for Eggsy…

Kingsman: The Golden Circle is based on the comic series from Mark Millar, stars Colin Firth, Julianne Moore, Taron Egerton, Mark Strong, Halle Berry with Sir Elton John, Channing Tatum, and Jeff Bridges, and is directed by Matthew Vaughn. The movie comes to theaters 9/29/2017.

Around the Tubes

The weekend is here and I’m spending it at Otakon and also prepping for Gen Con. What are your favorite conventions to go to?

Around the Tubes

HeroComplex – Mark Millar’s rape comments, ‘Superheroes’ TCA panel: The comics world responds – I’ve been trying to come up with a response but just baffled.

The Beat – How Hall H inspired the Marvel Movie Universe – Huh,k interesting bit of history.

CBR – D23: Disney Dishes New “Big Hero 6” Details – Some nice details on what to expect.

CBR – Mark Strong, Bryan Cranston Rumored For Lex Luthor in ‘Man of Steel’ Sequel – Either would be solid.

Bleeding Cool – DC Comics Villains Month Allocations Hit Hard – I’m trying to figure out the point of the covers then.

 

Around the Tubes Reviews

Talking Comics – Dial H #15

Talking Comics – The Manhattan Projects #13

The Mary Sue – Molly Danger Book One

CBR – Trillium #1

Review – Green Lantern


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Green Lantern Movie PosterYesterday’s dark stormy night was a perfect excuse to head out to see DC‘s attempt to kick start a third movie franchise with Green Lantern (but lets be honest I would have gone no matter the weather).  Having just seen headlines of reviews, my expectations went from “nervously optimistic” to “low expectations.”  Having heard of brutal reviews I was fully expecting this to be the “E.T. video game” of comic book movies, signaling the end of what’s become a summer movie tradition, the big comic book movie.  I walked out of the theater with mixed thoughts, and pleasantly surprised.

Green Lantern is one of the top second tier DC comic book characters who’s basically a space cop who’s able to take his willpower and create objects and fly due to a ring left to him by a dying alien.  When he’s not dressed in green, Green Lantern is fighter pilot Hal Jordan.  In the comics he’s a cocky, straight laced character, who’s more arrogant and headstrong than anything.  Knowing this I was a bit hesitant when hearing the news of Ryan Reynolds being cast as the character.  He definitely has the look down, but his previous roles fall under the cocky/humor area.  The movie rests on Reynolds’ shoulders just below the special fx.

The plot of the movie is probably the weakest part.  Green Lantern must take on Hector Hammond and an evil entity called Parallax.  The issue isn’t necessarily the plot itself, it’s pretty basic, it’s just the bad guys are too comical.  Peter Sarsgaard does what he can with the character, and is actually pretty decent, but really, the character is a psychic with a giant tumor on his head.  He’s kind of hard to not laugh at.  Parallax is much better portrayed in the comic book, and in this movie gets a makeover akin to Galactus in Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer.  It’s not an improvement.  Why these two are the first baddies is only revealed in the highlight of the movie, an awesome post credit scene that left me giddy.

The movies is science fiction, more so than Batman or Superman and does it’s best to balance that with scenes on Earth and for some reason the humor that was added.  This is a kids comic book movie, more so than DC’s other tent pole/pride, Batman.  It’s a difficult thing to do and the movie almost pulls it off.

There’s a lot of things I’d have done different, the first being the tone and first bad guys, but for a summer popcorn flick, it’s not that bad.  It’s a movie to see and the 3D added a little though not a whole lot.  DC definitely aimed for a younger audience for this one, and it shows, but as an adult, there was still a lot I liked.  Worth the cost of a ticket, but there’s definitely a lot of other movies I’d see first.

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