For many, DC is seen as the dark antithesis to the most relaxed and fun Marvel. “Shazam!”, available today as a subscription to Amazon Prime Video, turns this cliché on its head and is one of the most playful superhero blockbusters of recent years.
The superhero genre is booming: In no other year was this felt as much as in 2019 when the Marvel films “Avengers: Endgame”, “Captain Marvel” and “Spider-Man: Far From Home” together sold around 9 million cinema tickets over the counter in Germany and DC’s villain film “Joker“ alone even recorded almost 4.3 million visitors.
But with all the competition, a really good superhero film was criminally neglected by cinema audiences: “Shazam!“ sold just under 400,000 tickets in Germany and thus only ranked 69th in the annual charts. Much too little for such a likable and fun blockbuster!
If you missed it back then, you can catch up with the film now: “Shazam!” is now available as a subscription to Amazon Prime Video:
That’s what “Shazam”
When 14-year-old orphan Billy Batson (Asher Angel) boards an ordinary subway, he doesn’t expect what will happen shortly afterward: Suddenly he finds himself in a cave and is given magical powers by a powerful sorcerer. Whenever Billy now “Shazam!” shouts, the teenager suddenly transforms into a flying, lightning-throwing, and super-strong adult hero (Zachary Levi).
In the beginning, it’s obviously a lot of fun for the youngsters. So he whiles away the time with his buddy Freddy (Jack Dylan Grazer) testing his powers and doing things that otherwise only adults are allowed to do. But when the nasty villain Dr. Sivana (Mark Strong), who has the Manifestations of the Seven Deadly Sins by his side, appears, Billy must learn what it means to be a hero.
That’s why “Shazam” is so great
According to Christoph Petersen’s 4-star review, “Shazam!” is a “pleasantly grounded, emotional and playful superhero blockbuster which in many respects is more reminiscent of 80s classics such as “The Goonies” or “Back to the Future” than of current competing productions from the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) and the DCEU (DC Extended Universe).”
The film is particularly notable for its sympathetic humor, which it draws primarily from its fresh premise. Then Shazam is basically Superman, just with the personality of a pubescent teenager. This makes for all sorts of funny situations because the fun that Billy has while getting to know his powers is also transferred to the audience.
What’s more, the DC film isn’t just about defeating a villain. Billy also has to learn to cope with his foster family of seven, which makes for some heartwarming moments – which are particularly strong because the young actors around Asher Angel and Jack Dylan Grazer have great chemistry. So it’s worth “Shazam!” now to catch up on Amazon Prime Video.