Tag Archives: Shazam

Potted Film Review: Shazam! (2019)

Starring: Zachary Levi, Asher Angel, Jack Dylan Grazer, Mark Strong

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What’s it all about?
At first blush Shazam! seems to be about a boy who meets an old homeless dude in a subway tunnel, says his name aloud, and then is able to use that name as a conduit to become a bumbling superhero… but underneath all that it’s really a story about family and friendships.

It starts off quite slowly with a very deliberate first half hour, to the point where I was concerned it was dragging on too long. However, once the origin/backstory is set aside, it develops into a fun romp with its tongue squarely in its cheek.

As it proceeds I started to feel a bit of a Big vibe, in the way that the central relationship plays out, right down to a funny blink-and-you’ll-miss-it homage that I’m sure was a nod to those who had recognised the similarities.

I’m a fan of Zachary Levi from his television work on Chuck, and – as this role is not a million miles away from that one – he slips easily into the superhero spandex here, giving a confident performance that is an easy paycheck for him. The rest of the cast I can take or leave, to be honest. Mark Strong feels like nothing more or less than your standard comic book villain, and the supporting children are fairly forgettable on the whole. They aren’t all that good, but then again, they’re not too bad either. This is Levi’s movie, and – combined with the sharp script – he is the primary reason that this works.

Watching it with the kids…
This is a family friendly movie through and through, with only the very young and sensitive who may be a little frightened by the monsters and demons on display here, but there’s no gore and no blood. There’s some mild language to be aware of, but it’s extremely tame, and nothing more than what you will hear in any playground.

Verdict…
I’m not an avid fan of superhero movies, so it takes something a little different within that genre to make me sit up and take notice. Shazam! manages to do that, and it is because it doesn’t take itself too seriously. How can it? It’s a movie with an exclamation mark right there in the title. It’s not dark, gritty, or edgy, like a lot of these comic adaptations try to be, and that’s absolutely fine.

Recommended

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(Im)mature Students…

I went to the cinema last night with The Girlfriend© to see Shazam! (review inbound), but for a hot minute it looked like we were more likely to be spending the next couple of hours explaining ourselves to the cops than watching the latest hero in the DC Universe.

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Ticket prices here in Aberdeen are very expensive – to the point where we sometimes get a little creative with the purchasing of said tickets. I’m not proud of it, but we have been known to buy cinema tickets online and do so as students, because we save about £3 each that way. It’s not much, I know, but it is a system that is so easy to exploit (and nobody ever checks the tickets) that it almost seems like the purchasing option has been set up specifically for people to do just that. And although I’m sure we are not the only ones who have done it, I do appreciate that is no excuse either.

So we have got away with it maybe half a dozen times in the past, except last night the young female ticket collector – who admittedly, was only doing her job – did check our credentials.

She asked The Girlfriend© for her identification, and when she wasn’t able to produce any, she asked what course she was studying at university. The Girlfriend© – to her credit, was quick on her feet, and blurted out her son’s chosen vocation of midwifery – but was (of course) not able to show the ticket collector any emails or correspondence to prove her case.

I was asked the same questions, and I chose to go with the actual course I studied at university of Law & Management. Afterwards I figured if I was going to be lying anyway, perhaps I should have been a little more ambitious with my response, but in the moment it’s not always simple to be clever or cute. I guess I could also have thrown The Girlfriend© under the bus and explained that I was perfectly happy to pay the extra, and that I had nothing to do with the fraudulent purchase… but that would not have made for a pleasant remainder of the evening.

I am absolutely convinced that the ticket girl did not believe a word of what we told her, but she let us in anyway – probably just to avoid any escalation of the situation.

Suffice to say, the movie was good, but I spent a good portion of it expecting the manager to flip up the lights, and bring in a couple of heavy-set security guards to toss us out.