‘Shazam’ entertains despite being riddled with cliches
Tamonda Griffiths—News Writer
Brooding, to humor reminiscent of the Marvel Cinematic Universe mixed with its usual brand of cynicism, DC Comics’ “Shazam” is not a flop nor i an Oscar-snub-worthy film.
“Shazam”, based on the DC Comics character of the same name (or Captain Marvel), was the origin story of 14-year-old Billy Batson, a frequent runaway and foster child chosen as a“champion” by an aging wizard from whom the name of the titular character originates, to save the world from the recently escaped seven deadly sins.
The wizard had spent several millennia searching for a worthy soul to continue guarding the imprisoned sins, and had chosen Batson as humanity’s last resort after one of the previously scorned champions released the sins in his quest for revenge on all who demeaned and belittled him.
According to the online magazine Deadline, the film grossed approximately $53 million at the box offices opening weekend, April 5.
The film premiered almost a month after Marvel’s “Captain Marvel”, which grossed $153 million during its opening weekend, according to another Deadline article, and three weeks before the epic finale of MCU’s “Avengers: Endgame”, which, according to IndieWire, broke Fandango’s record of highest pre-sale tickets sold “in just its first six hours of availability.”
Since the end of Christian Bale’s Dark Knight trilogy, DC Comics has struggled to captivate audiences as Marvel has in film for the past decade.
Shazam was DC’s attempt to keep up with the MCU and maintain the momentum it had gained as a result of such critically-acclaimed films as Wonder Woman and Aquaman.
However, DC still as quite a ways to go if it’s ever going to be taken seriously on the big screen.
The CGI of the film looked realistic when it worked, such in scenes when Shazam was holding up a bus or when one of the seven deadly sins were on screen and not in motion.
The times when it took you out of the fantasy were during the final fight scene of the film and anytime Shazam took flight.
The storyline was riddled with almost every superhero cliché known in cinema: from the classic “chosen one” storyline, in which someone seemingly ordinary is granted eminence power, to the non-existent blood-related parental figure.
Batson had been searching for his long-lost mother all throughout the film. When he finally meets her, he learns family doesn’t have to be related by blood and “it’s not a home until you call it a home.”
The villain, a former “champion” candidate looked like a rejected Harry Potter impersonator with aseemingly identical abusive upbringing to boot.
While Batman’s Joker is a villain in a category all his own, it would not hurt DC to take notes from their own creation and translate it in a way an audience would respond positively to.
After all, DC has constantly tried to impress upon all of their films the gothic, tormented aesthetic synonymous with Batman lore, much to critical and audience condemnation.
Yet, through all its faults, Shazam still managed to be a fairly entertaining film with plenty of heart, humor and cursing to satisfy movie-goers and comic fans alike.
Shazam is a coming of age story for the teenage Batson, following along the lines of “with great power, comes great responsibility.”
Viewers got to watch a young boy transform into a man, literally, right before their eyes.