The DC Extended Universe (DCEU) has been a little shaky since its launch, but with Wonder Woman, Warner Brothers and DC Comics proved they could do it right, and tell an empowering story.
Then there was the fumble that was Justice League.
Aquaman showed that they could do a big budget, CGI-filled action set piece that didn’t have to be a dark, gritty reimagining.
And with Shazam!, the DCEU proves, easily, that it can get it right, and have a fun time doing it. And you can check it out on blu-ray and DVD today. Eschewing almost all the films that have gone before it, while recognizing that it exists in the same universe, Shazam! brings some much needed fun, to the DCEU on this family-friendly take on the classic hero… whose superhero name is still up for grabs.
In a story wrapped up in the concept of family, and doing what’s right, we follow young foster child, Billy Batson (Asher Angel) as he becomes the chosen one by an ancient wizard (Djimon Hounsou) to stop Dr. Sivana (Mark Strong) who has taken the power of the Seven Deadly Sins. By uttering the word of Shazam! Billy changes to an adult (Zachary Levi) who has the wisdom of Solomon, the strength of Hercules, the power of Zeus, the courage of Achilles, and the speed of Mercury.
But that doesn’t make him a superhero right from the off, he needs to learn about his powers, to understand what they mean for him, and his friends, and what that means in terms of responsibility. He’s aided by a fellow foster child, Freddy Freeman (Jack Dylan Grazer) who knows his superheros.
As Silvana quests for more power, Billy (both versions) learn what family really is. It’s fun, not quite on the edge of being self-aware, but knows that its audience knows how superhero films play out.
Consequently this entry in the DCEU ends up being something unique, something incredibly fun and funny (think Big meets Superman), and a true gem in the DC universe, joining Wonder Woman and Aquaman as definite wins. So where foes the DCEU go from here?
For once, I’m actually eager to find out!
Extras include a look at the making of the film, including how director David F. Sandberg made the jump from directing horror to a superhero film and filming in chilly Canada, as well as the effects, stunts, and wire work.
There’s also a profile on Zac Levi (Who I’ve enjoyed since his series Chuck), that shows how much fun he had on the set, and how much joy he takes from life.
There are deleted and alternate scenes, introduced by the director, a gag reel, as well as looks at the history of the character, and the concept of family that plays out through the film (and how it affects the characters involved).
Shazam! shows that Warner and dc finally get it – a superhero movies don’t always have to be dark and gritty, they can be bright fun, and just a joy to watch.
Shazam! starring Zac Levi is available today on blu and DVD from Warner Brothers today!