Length: 132 minutes / 2.20 hours
As far as self-aware movies go, I think Shazam! (2019) is the best example from the genre of comic book heroes. Deadpool (2016) might have been more “meta,” but Shazam! hits all the bits that make comic books popular to kids, especially young boys. As a fan of self-aware films, I would have seen this movie anyway. However, with Zachary Levi in the lead role, I absolutely had to see it. I’ve generally been a fan of his work from Chuck and Tangled (2010), so seeing that he still has his comedic timing in shows like The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and movies like Shazam! is encouraging.
In terms of plot, the premise is somewhat weak, but the pitch is something akin to “Big (1988), but as a superhero film like Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017).” In fact, there’s at least one scene in a mall that winks so hard at this reference, I was afraid it would strain its face. Additionally, I did find the incorporation of a foster family into the narrative was something I have rarely seen in movies, let alone superhero films. I mean, considering how many orphans end up becoming superheroes, it only makes sense that some of them would end up in the foster care system.
Even with being a stunningly warm advocate for foster families, Shazam! is basically unadulterated fun (har har). I did appreciate the references to other parts of the DC Cinematic Universe, and it’s a little funny to think that this comedy is one of its better entries. Sure, it employs plenty of tropes along the way, most of which have to do with a teen finding himself in the body of a man. If you don’t take it too seriously, you’ll probably end up being entertained at the very least.
Big meets Spider-Man: Homecoming, I give Shazam! 4.0 stars out of 5.