Billy Batson (Asher Angel) just wants to have a family. He has bounced in and out of foster homes for years after wandering away from his mom at a county fair as a toddler. Since then he has relied on his own abilities, looking out for himself while getting into a mild level of trouble. His main goal is to try to find his mother who he knows is out there somewhere. Our central figure is down to his last chance when he is taken in by foster parents Rosa (Marta Milans) and Victor (Cooper Andrews) who both were foster kids themselves. The other kids in the home include gamer Eugene (Ian Chen), non stop talker pre-teen Darla (Faithe Herman) and Billy's roommate comic book fan Freddy (Jack Dylan Glazer).
When Billy gets on the wrong side of a couple of bullies at school he escapes into the subway ending up at The Rock of Eternity the resting place of the Wizard Shazam! We have been here before in the prelude when a young Thaddeus Silvana was transported to the same room but found not to be worthy and cast out. Running out of time the Wizard (Djimon Hounsou) transfers his powers to Billy making his alter ego Shazam! an adult male (Zachary Levi) when he says the word. Terrified the transformed Billy returns to the group home employing Freddy to complete filed test to learn more about his new found powers. Meanwhile Silvana (Mark Strong) now a grown up never forgot that missed opportunity in 1974, obsessed he finds an alternate way into The Rock of Eternity lair releasing the evil trapped within then setting out to track down Shazam!
Some of the best moments in the film are between Freddy and Billy/Shazam! They are truly brothers despite not having the same parents. They argue, disappoint each other but when it really matters are there to support. Freddy is the one Billy seeks out upon becoming Shazam and the field tests of the new found powers are a highlight.
Director David F. Sanberg alongside writer Henry Gayden plant a strong message a level below all the humor and fun. The picture is bright in comparison of the unusual dreary tone in the D.C. Extended Universe. However, at the heart of the picture is family. A very poignant refrain repeats in the piece around the dinner table that once you find it you know that you're home. The film is a lighthearted romp that will entertain kids and adults alike. The story moves quickly making the 132 minutes run time zip by. Its a popcorn movie in all the sense of the word and one that I can recommend.
*** Out of 4.
Shazam! | David F. Sanberg | U.S.A. | 2019 | 132 Minutes.
Tags: Wizard, Electricity, Secret Identity, Field Test, Super Powers, Foster Child, Foster Home, Bullies, 7 Deadly Sins, Cumpas