Billy Batson makes his big screen debut in “Shazam!”
By Kevin Rueda
“Shazam!” introduces audience members to a comic book superhero who has yet to hit the big screen: Billy Batson. Director David Sandberg, despite his reputation for horror films, successfully conveys the funny, wacky, and light-hearted nature of Shazam that comic book readers have adored for decades.
Fourteen-year-old foster kid Billy Batson is an independent and streetwise teenager who runs away from foster homes in search for his mother, whom he was separated from at a young age. He is not perfect: he often steals and lies, but he is pure of heart and has the right intentions. Billy’s pureness is what makes him the perfect candidate to become Shazam’s new “champion.” Shazam, an old wizard, selects Billy to become his successor and gives him the wisdom of Solomon, the strength of Hercules, the stamina of Atlas, power of Zeus, the courage of Achilles, and the speed of Mercury. By shouting “SHAZAM,” Billy Batson (Asher Angel) transforms into the adult superhero Shazam (Zachary Levi). Billy’s powers include super strength, electricity manipulation, flight, bullet immunity, and super speed.
As a child, Doctor Sivana (Mark Strong) was in consideration to become the new “champion” and acquire the powers of Shazam. Sivana, however, failed the wizard’s trials and was declared unworthy. Dedicating his entire life to studying the wizard and his mystical powers, Sivana becomes the host for the Seven Deadly Sins, which give him the ability to conjure up demons at will, among many other abilities.
Billy Batson is the only individual capable of stopping Dr. Sivana before he unleashes the Seven Deadly Sins upon the earth. “Shazam!” follows Billy’s growth as he discovers his powers and responsibilities. He’s a child tasked with protecting the earth and all life on it. Billy must quickly adapt to his new lifestyle as he begins to trust new friends and family.
“Shazam!” debuted with a strong $53 million domestic opening weekend and was able to topple the box office for several consecutive weekends for a worldwide total of over $322 million as of April 21. The film received an impressive 90% score on Rotten Tomatoes’ expert Tomatometer and a 88% positive audience score.
“Shazam!” is a fun and comedic movie that is perfect for audience members of all ages. The film does a fantastic job at capturing the “inner hero within us” as it tackles important lessons about responsibility, trust, friendship, family, and greed. Unlike most modern superhero films, “Shazam!” does not take itself too seriously and has the audience in laughter from start to end.
Director: David Sandberg
Screenplay By: Henry Gayden
Release Date: April 5th, 2019
Starring: Zachary Levi, Mark Strong, Jack Dylan Grazer, Asher Angel
Duration: 2 hours 13 minutes