Shazam! is a 2019 superhero film directed by David F. Sandberg (Lights Out & Annabelle: Creation). It’s based off the DC character created by C.C. Beck & Bill Parker which was originally known as Captain Marvel. It was written by Henry Gayden (Zombie Roadkill, Earth to Echo, Last Human, & There’s Someone Inside Your House). It was produced by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson (Snitch, Baywatch, Rampage, & Ballers), Richard Brener (Tag, The Nun, The Curse of La Llorona, & Shaft), Christopher Godsick (Broken Arrow, Face/Off, The Replacement Killers, & Once a Thief), Geoff Johns (Aquaman, Wonder Women, Justice League, Suicide Squad, & Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice), & Dave Neustadter (IT, A Nightmare on Elm Street, Final Destination 5, & The Conjuring 1/2). It was first developed in the early 2000s with director Peter Segal with a variety of different writers attached to the production. It had an estimated budget of $100 million & it grossed $364.5 million worldwide at the box office. A sequel is being planned plus Shazam’s rival Black Adam (starring producer Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson) is being developed right now!!!!
In 1974 Upstate New York, young Thaddeus Sivana (played by: Ethan Pugiotto from Little People) is arguing with his father (played by: John Glover from Batman & Robin, Batman: The Animated Series, Smallville, & In the Mouth of Madness) & older brother (played by: Landon Doak from Adulting: Year One) during a car trip when he is transported to the Rock of Eternity. He meets the ancient wizard Shazam (played by: Djimon Hounsou from Aquaman, Push, Furious 7, & Constantine), last of the Council of Wizards. He has spent centuries searching for a new champion who is “pure of heart” after the previous champion driven by revenge released the Seven Deadly Sins upon the world. Thaddeus is tempted by the Sins & he is deemed unworthy then returned to Earth. In present-day Philadelphia, foster child Billy Batson (played by: Asher Angel from Andi Mack) runs afoul of the law while searching for his birth mother (played by: Caroline Palmer from The Drownsman). He is placed in a group home run by Victor (played by: Cooper Andrews from The Walking Dead & Den of Thieves) & Rosa Vasquez (played by: Marta Milans from Valientes). They have five other foster children: Mary Bromfield (played by: Grace Fulton from Annabelle: Creation, Revenge, Badland, & Ghost Whisperer), Pedro Peña (played by: Jovan Armand from The Middle), Eugene Choi (played by: Ian Chen from A Dog’s Journey & Fresh Off the Boat), Darla Dudley (played by: Faithe Herman from Watchmen TV Series) & superhero enthusiast Freddy Freeman (played by: Jack Dylan Grazer from IT, Tales of Halloween, Don’t Tell a Soul, & Scales: A Mermaids Tale).
The adult Sivana (played by: Mark Strong from Green Lantern, Kingsman 1/2, Kick-Ass, & Sunshine) discovers a way to return to the Rock of Eternity. There, he steals the Eye of Sin, becoming the Sins’ vessel & besting the Wizard before returning to Earth. He uses the Sins to take over his family business. Billy saves Freddy from bullies & he is chased into a subway where Shazam summons Billy as the new champion. Billy is transformed into an adult superhero (played by: Zachary Levi from Chuck, Heroes Reborn, Spiral, & Stuntmen) endowed with the wizard’s name. Freddy helps Billy explore his newfound powers: electricity manipulation, near-invulnerability, super-strength, speed, & flight. Freddy’s videos of Shazam testing his powers become a viral sensation. Billy begins skipping school to use his powers as Shazam for money & fame. Sivana challenges & easily defeats the new hero, demanding he surrender his powers but Shazam transforms back into Billy after escaping into a crowd. Sivana takes Billy’s new foster family hostage & forces him to come after them. Billy uses the staff to share his powers, transforming his siblings into adult superheroes (played by: Adam Brody from Scream 4, Meagan Good from Saw V, Michelle Borth from Rampage: The Hillside Strangler Murders, Ross Butler from 13 Reasons Why, & D.J. Cotrona from From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series) like him. Shazam breaks the staff & battles Sivana while his siblings distract the Sins. Can they save this city from all this evil????
Shazam is very funny & it’s a blast, it’s one of the most entertaining superhero films in awhile! I will say it’s more aimed at a younger audience compared to some of the other recent comic book adaptations. I am not saying it’s a kid’s film or anything because it still has some darker moments in it but it’s definitely made for the teenager market when it comes to the overall production. Superhero movies can be very serious at times but Shazam takes more of a comedic approach for most of it’s experience which is actually a breath of fresh air when it comes to the sub-genre. It loaded with hilarious scenes that will literally having you laugh out loud. Chuck is one of my all time favorite shows so I was beyond excited when Zachary Levi was announced as the lead. He is perfect in this, this role was made for him. It’s great to see him get a big opportunity like this. Mark Strong is always a great villain & character actor, he was a fantastic foe for Levi here. Djimon Hounsou shined as the tired hero looking for a replacement. The cast has great chemistry here & the supporting cats elevates the overall quality of everything. Yes, there’s lots of comedy in this but don’t worry it has a equal balance of action to go along with it. Wait until the end for a very cool cameo. What I really like & respect about the Shazam character is the fact that he wants to be a hero & he actually enjoys doing it. So many are forced & tired of their responsibility but Shazam owns it in every possible way. This franchise has so much potential & I can’t wait to see what happens in the future especially with The Rock playing Black Adam!!!!
Let’s talk about the high definition presentation from Warner Bros! This 2160p (2.40:1) transfer with Dolby Vision & HDR10 looks stunning in 4K! The Rock of Eternity location & the Seven Deadly Sins creatures really shine here. It has a variety of 7 different audio options including English: Dolby Atmos, English: Dolby TrueHD 7.1, French: Dolby Digital 5.1, Italian: Dolby Digital 5.1, Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1, Polish: Dolby Digital 5.1, & Turkish: Dolby Digital 5.1 on this UHD. It sounds amazing & it delivers on all the action with a nice boost to the entertainment. The dialogue is crystal clear & all the music is elevated on the tracks. It’s a similar experience to when I seen this in theaters. It’s loaded with so many different subtitle options which includes English SDH, French, Italian, Spanish, Arabic, Danish, Finnish, Korean, Mandarin (Simplified), Mandarin (Traditional), Norwegian, Polish, Swedish, & Turkish. Both picture & sound are top notch on this release!!!!
Let’s discuss the special features on this release from Warner Bros! None of the extras are available on the 4K but they are all located on the blu ray disc. “The Magical World of Shazam” is almost 27 minutes. It has interviews with director David F. Sandberg, actors Zachary Levi, Asher Angel, Mark Strong, Djimon Hounsou, & various members of the production. David F. Sandberg brings up going from horror to this. They chat about the pre-production & filming Shazam. They talk about Zachary Levi originally only auditioning for the smaller adult Freddy role but they liked it so much that they asked him to do for the lead. After doing an audition on Skype, he got the part. It shows both of his auditions for the movie. They mention his transformation from start to finish for this. He worked out so much to get ready for the role. Theyt chat about the bad weather & having issues with the Shazam suit at first. It takes you behind the scenes for some of the shoots. It shows the action, stunts, & training that went into everything. It showcases all kinds of the visual effects from the production, it gives you a inside look into how they created them. It shows them at the premier & just goes over their overall experience. “Super Fun Zac ” is a little over 3 minutes. It has interviews with actors Jack Dylan Grazer, Mark Strong, Michelle Borth, D.J. Cotrona, Grace Fulton, Jovan Armand, Ian Chen, Faithe Herman, Cooper Andrews, Marta Milans, Zachary Levi, & various members of the production. They chat & joke about the lead actor being so childlike on the set. They talk about him always entertaining them & dancing during breaks. They bring up that he was perfect for this role. “Deleted & Alternate Scenes” is a little over 37 minutes. It has intros with director David F. Sandberg for them. “Gag Reel” is a little over 3 minutes. It shows the cast having a blast on set with some hilarious moments from filming. “Who is Shazam?” is almost 6 minutes. It has interviews with director David F. Sandberg, actors Mark Strong, Zachary Levi, & various members of the production. They chat about the origin of the character, the comics, & the other adaptations. They talk about the changes in their character from the original source material. They say it stayed true to the family aspect, the comedy, & wanting to be a superhero rather than feeling forced like all the others. “Carnival Scene Study” is a little over 10 minutes. It has interviews with director David F. Sandberg, writer Henry Gayden, actors Zachary Levi, Asher Angel, & various members of the production. It takes you behind the scenes for the huge finale. They chat about being encouraged to go bigger with it compared to the original script. They talk about building the carnival set & how it was like another character in the film. It goes through the training of the stunts & fights for the feature. It has some before & after special fx shots, it shows how they created the battles. “Shazamily Values” is a little over 6 minutes. It has interviews with actors Jack Dylan Grazer, Michelle Borth, D.J. Cotrona, Grace Fulton, Jovan Armand, Ian Chen, Ross Butler, Adam Brody, Faithe Herman, Meagan Good, Cooper Andrews, Marta Milans, Zachary Levi, & Asher Angel. It has both the kid & adult versions talking about their characters. They all have great chemistry & you can see it was easy for them for them to play off each other for the film. They bring up how similar they were. They actually hanged out after filming & did stuff together as a group. “Exclusive Motion Comic: “Superhero Hooky” is little over 4 minutes. It’s a hilarious short that features the heroes from this film. It mentions Batman & Superman in it, I am looking forward to more material with this in the future. It also includes a slipcover, a digital code, & a blu ray copy of the release. It was released in 4K, 3D, blu ray, & DVD formats including a few store exclusives. It’s available everywhere right now, CHECK IT OUT!!!!