Review

  • Technically a 6.5, but definitely not anything to be thrilled about, as there isn't much novelty. I'm not familiar with the comics so I had no special expectations. I can honestly say it was a fun movie, but I just don't see where the glowing praise is coming from.

    Story-wise, it does its job without much surprise or imagination. The little drama with Billy searching for his long-lost mom, while being unable to accept companionship from others, is alright. The special FX are good, but there aren't any mindblowing scenes (no real fighting or magic other than smoke and lightning). I didn't mind the villain being one-note, but I wish they did something better than the old "7 deadly sins," or at the very least been more creative with the designs (which look like clay concept models of generic gargoyles and you couldn't even tell which sin was which).

    Maybe I'm just cynical, but I didn't find it very funny. Sure I had a few smirks and chuckles now and then, but there wasn't anything roaringly hilarious. If the trailers didn't exactly make you LOL, then you'd probably won't within the full movie. The comparisons to a kid-friendly Deadpool are apt, but without the wackiness that "seals the deal" as most of the jokes are simple/cheesy/cheap (At the very beginning, Billy steals a cop's lunch bag while he pleads against it. Later on he uses his adult form to buy beer and visit a strip club like every teenage boy's wishes. That's pretty much the bar of humor throughout, besides the numerous "Look what I can do!" moments of discovery for the powers.)

    There's a large disconnect between the ever-brooding Billy and the upbeat Shazam, almost like a reverse Jekyll/Hyde. I'd be pretty stoked too if I suddenly gained superpowers, but neither character is a natural extension. And except for Freddy, everyone is entirely one-dimensional and stereotypical: overly enthusiastic foster parents, the tech-wizard gamer Asian, the sweet 16-type daughter going off to college, bullies, etc. Billy has probably less than 10 minutes shown interacting with the fosters that him eventually accepting them as family is a giant, unsatisfying leap.

    Overall, it's highly forgettable, but kids will enjoy it, assuming they won't be affected by the CG monsters.