TV Party Tonight! #75

TV Party Tonight! #75

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Tuesday, 20 August 2019
COLUMN

Shazam!
[4K/Blu-ray]

How is Shazam! not the biggest movie of the year? It certainly was a big success and made a whopping $364 million vs its $100 cost, so it is was indeed a giant hit. So much so that a sequel is being developed. But Shazam! didn’t become a cultural phenomenon like the Marvel movies have. And that’s quite a shame, because DC movies will never get the same recognition as Marvel movies no matter how original they try to be. Trust me, in this day and age, superhero movies could definitely benefit from a little originality. You can only bundle so many celebrities together until the audience starts feeling fatigue. And a here’s a hot take: Marvel movies are popular because we’re made to feel like outsiders if we don’t watch them. But that’s another story altogether…

Regardless, Shazam! is a huge movie, and it manages to be that by focusing less on star power (to an extent) and more on what makes the movie itself: script and visuals. When you watch this movie you can see where the money went. And really, the areas in which it succeeds are many. For one, Shazam! is the only superhero movie I know of that has a disabled person as one of the leads. Really, the bar is that low. Second, the casting of this movie is perfect: Zachary Levi (who has jumped universes from the Thor movies), Jack Dylan Grazer, and Asher Angel (for real, that’s his name) make a great “trio” and their chemistry is a joy to behold. Especially against Mark Strong who plays a tragic-yet-flat villain who is seems to be evil for no reason. The heroes need to be extra colorful to make this story interesting, and that’s certainly the case. Also, the script is razor-sharp on more than one occasion. And, instead of taking place in a make-believe place or LA or New York, the movie has Philadelphia as its home, and features it quite proudly. Finally, there are some serious laugh out loud moments especially when the movie shines the light on itself at just how absurd it can be. Shazam! is able to laugh at itself and that just makes it more lovable. Seriously, all the elements for a great movie are right here.

But to truly be appreciated, you have to keep in mind that this is, at its heart, a kid’s movie. So, be ready for some pretty bad child acting and kid humor as we’re supposed to be moved by the cliché of childlike wonder and awe. There are a few too many of these moments along with a somewhat weak ending which unfortunately left me feeling a bit cheated, but I can easily see how this would be millions of people’s cup of tea. What’s important is that the foundations have been laid here for a great franchise that, with the right person at the helm, and assuming its audience will want to grow up a little, has the chance of blossoming into a richer and more satisfying experience. I, for one, will be looking forward to the next installment.

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