Shazam! proves that a DC Universe movie can succeed without the influence of Zack Snyder.

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On the streets of Philadelphia, a young Bill Batson goes from foster home to foster home. Unable to stay at any of them, Billy is looking for his birth mother. Eventually, child services place him in a group home filled with other children. While Billy has no intention of staying long at the group home, he also doesn’t like anyone bullying the other kids. This captures the attention of the wizard Shazam, who sees good in Billy’s heart. Shazam grants Billy power to stop a great evil that has been unleashed on Earth, by a previous candidate of Shazam: Thaddius Sivana. Sivana is determined to take all the wizard’s power. Billy, on the other hand, is trying to find out what happened to him.

Director David F. Sandberg has truly knocked it out of the park with this one.  This is not a dark and foreboding film. It’s lighthearted in parts and very humorous. Sandberg used the reboot of the comic version of Shazam from 2011 as a template for the film. The comic was written by Geoff Johns and drawn by Gary Frank and had a more of a modern take on the Shazam mythos. I’m unsure if the original version would have worked on the big screen with today’s audience. But the “Big” vibe Sandberg had in the film really works.

Asher Angel plays Billy Batson and he is just great for a young actor. But of course, it’s Zachary Levi that really makes the character. Levi is hilarious and still has this innocence around him. Truly an excellent job. It’s kind of cool to see two actors play the same character.

Mark Strong plays Thaddius Sivana. I’m used to a different version of Sivana. In the comics, Sivana was always the stereotypical mad scientist type, but that’s not what Strong is playing here. In the film, Sivana mainly wants revenge and power, but it really goes deeper that than, and Strong, as always, just brings his “A” game. 

The effects were awesome and the plot doesn’t drag at all. Always moving. Really nice pacing. It’s funny, has heart, and very action packed. But the main thing in the script is definitely the humor. It is on point! Seriously hilarious! 

I do want to give a bit of warning to parents that are planning on taking their young children to this film. While the film is rated PG-13, there are some scenes that I felt were a little intense and could scare the younger ones. I’m not trying to tell you not to see it, but just a heads up.

Overall Shazam! really works on all levels. Plus it proves it can move away from the mess that Zach Snyder gave us. If DC continues to make movies like this and Aquaman, the DC Universe films will be in good shape.

Shazam! opens nationwide on Friday, April 5.

By Brian Isaacs - Executive Editor / Publisher

An avid comic collector/reader for over 50 years and self-proclaimed professor of comicology, Brian originally started up the site Pendragon's Post to share his voice. Well, that voice has been shared and evolved into The Fanboy Factor. Brian is an advocate for remembering comic roots, and that we don't forget what was created in the past, and encourage everyone to read it as well. When not swimming in geek culture, he can be seen corrupting..introducing his young son to comics, much to his wife's chagrin.