“Shazam!” is a Refreshing Take on Superhero Movies

Jared Schmitt, Staff Writer

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During the time of double features playing in movie theatres, superhero movies were usually the B-movie and were extremely campy. “Shazam!” captures a very similar energy to the earlier movies in the genre. Unlike most superhero movies from the past couple years, “Shazam!” does not take itself very seriously and instead embraces the campy nature of the movies. The movie works well with the humor, though it does have a few flaws in areas. The most jarring flaw is the character shift when Billy becomes Captain Marcel. Despite these flaws, the humor and action still make this a must see for any superhero fan.

The main issue with the transformation to Captain Marvel (who does not have a name for a large portion of the movie) is how different he is from Billy. While Billy is confident and mature, Captain Marvel  is extremely immature. While it can be understood that a child might be more immature as an adult being able to perform adult activities, Billy is a teenager shown to act rationally. The tonal shift ends up being jarring and it feels like the viewer is watching two different characters instead of a grown version of Billy. This ends up being quite distracting at the beginning of the movie though this subsides later on as by the end Captain Marvel does not feel as childish.

It is a cliche to watch a superhero discover their powers, but it has never been as fun as it is in “Shazam!”. While his childish nature does harm other aspects of the film, it works well when he works on figuring out his powers as Captain Marvel has a lot of fun with it. It is very funny and can also bring viewers back to when they were little and trying to figure out if they had superpowers. The fight scenes are also a lot of fun as they are not treated as seriously as other films in the genre. Comedy is incorporated into the fights which allows them to feel like a breath of fresh air in the current climate of serious superhero movies.

DC movies have had an image of being like a slightly lower tier Marvel, and with “Shazam!” they may just have their solution to this problem. Despite its flaws with the handling of Billy being Captain Marvel in the beginning, the movie is still full of comedy and charm which other offerings have lacked. This is a movie that everyone, not just superhero movie fans, should see just so they can get a new take on the superhero formula and if DC continues to experiment with their use of comedy in movies they may shed the label of being inferior to Marvel.