Little homeless boy runs into a wizard in an underground cave who grants him magical powers? This may not exactly pull you in at first glance but trust me, this isn’t one of those Harry Potter meets Wizards of Waverly Place type story.
After Aquaman’s pretty successful run in the box office and potentially redeeming the DC movie universe, Shazam! looks to continue this run and further this success. The difference? It doesn’t have the amazing cinematography of underwater kingdoms, no muscular hero with long majestic wavy hair holding a mighty weapon or a strong and powerful female character either. Instead, we get a city along with a nerdy boy who turns into a semi-muscular man who still, is and acts like a nerdy boy. But stay with me. It gets better, I promise. Will this movie turn out to be a blockbuster hit? Or a movie to just play in the background while you’ve got guests around? It’s been awhile since I added to this series but let’s get right into it.
Who is he?
That nerdy boy I was talking about? He goes by the name William Joseph “Billy” Batson, just Billy Batson in the movie, and in the comics, his parents get killed leaving him and his sister, Mary (We’ll talk more about her later) as orphans. The siblings get separated and Billy is sent to his uncle who essentially throws him out of the house and takes all his trust fund money for himself. Now that’s a pretty rough storyline so instead in the movie Billy just jumps from foster home to foster home.
After this, the comics and movie seem to link as the story continues to play out. Billy ends up in a subway tunnel where he meets the ancient wizard Shazam who sees the purity of his heart and willingness to fight for the weak and grants him magical abilities by saying the wizard’s name. Wait, saying? I meant screaming. Even the title of the movie has an exclamation mark, SHAZAM! Anyways, what happens when he exclaims the name is that Billy turns into someone else, just physically. So he looks like a full grown adult but still has the mental capacity of a young boy.
This all links back to DC’s approach to this movie. Shazam! may not have many factors that made Aquaman an entertaining movie, but it has others. This movie is meant to be more joyous and humourous but still look cool. You’ll see the funny aspects of the movie with the young characters and Zachary Levi trying to portray a young boy in an adult body, what’s the cool aspect? Well let’s get into his powers.
ADDITIONAL FACT: When Shazam was first introduced, he took on the name Captain Marvel, ring a bell? Shazam was simply the word he exclaimed. It wasn’t until later, and some copyright and lawsuit, that he was renamed officially to Shazam after a major reboot event of the DC Comics universe.
ADDITIONAL ADDITIONAL FACT: Speaking of Captain Marvel, the wizard that grants Billy his powers in the movie is actually played by someone who also acted IN the Captain Marvel movie, and the first Guardians of the Galaxy. Can you figure out who he is?
Source: Guardians of the Galaxy
What if I told you that Shazam could go toe-to-toe with Superman and run almost as fast as the Flash? Well, it’s true. Shazam is actually an acronym that links back to ancient mythology.
S – for Solomon’s wisdom. Based on the stories in the bible, King Solomon was granted wisdom. With this Shazam becomes, in lame man’s terms, very smart. For example, he has knowledge of every language dating as far back as time and also knowledge on items and fighting styles.
H – for Hercules’ strength. Pretty self explanatory here, this explains how he can hold his ground against the likes of Superman.
A – for Atlas’ stamina. Atlas was a Titan who had to endure the weight of the world as punishment. This gave Shazam the will to withstand unbelievable amounts of hits and attacks. It kinda works like a defence system for him.
Z – for Zeus’ power. This helps make Shazam look cool especially on screen with the lightning crackling from his eyes and also whenever he makes his entrance. Zeus’ power grants him abilities that are lightning based and also some others like healing.
A – for Achilles’ courage. This grants Shazam the will to never give up, also to say optimistic in the most unlikely situations. This helps a lot since Billy is still a young boy and would get easily scared when coming up against villains.
M – for Mercury’s speed. This is how he could attempt to catch up with the Flash. Unfortunately his speed is not up to the Flash’s due to where the Flash gets his speed from. He is still pretty fast though and is able to fly.
See what I mean? Pretty cool right. Unlike a man who can talk to fish. You must be thinking, what would his weaknesses be? Well, the main weakness is the fact that he is still a boy, so he still does not know how to master these abilities.
Source: Dr. Sivana
Now the big bad of the movie is Dr. Sivana, he was chosen before Billy to receive the powers but after finding out he wanted to use it for the wrong reasons, was not given it. As an archeologist, he searched across the world until coming into contact with an artifact of similar power granting him similar abilities.
Going back to the trailer in the scene where you see Billy meet the wizard for the first time, you catch a glimpse of 7 statues in the corner. Those play a big part in Shazam’s storylines too. They’re called the Seven Deadly Enemies of Man, which are demons names after the 7 deadly sins – Pride, Greed, Envy, Anger, Gluttony, Sloth and Lust. Some say the movies changed Dr Sivana’s backstory and instead he was granted his powers by them.
Source: 7 Deadly Enemies
Superman has Lex Luthor, Batman and the Joker, Shazam? An egyptian king called Black Adam. Sadly he won’t play any part in this movie, but possibly an after credit scene? Only thing that I will mention is that he is played by the frikin’ Rock.
Another aspect of Shazam’s storyline will be reference in this movie but probably not played out to the fullest just yet. I present to you, the Shazam family.
We see in the trailer that Billy ends up getting adopted by this family with a number of children. We see two notable ones: Freddy Freeman, the one who helps him with his powers and glimpses of Mary Bromfield, real name Mary Batson, his biological sister. Other members of the family is Eugene, Darla and Pedro.
Source: Shazam family
In the comics, Shazam is able to share his abilities with his foster siblings. Mary becomes Mary Marvel, later the wizard grants her a different set of abilities from 6 female mythological characters and Freddy becomes Captain Marvel Jr. Although I doubt this will play out just yet, but one can hope for this in the future.
What Do You Think?
Now that I have shed some light into all the characters, as that’s the only distinct factor we can see from the trailer, has your thoughts changed about our young boy in a grown man’s body wearing a unitard? Personally, I believe this movie will be quite enjoyable as DC takes a break from it’s dark looking settings and grim characters. Whether or not it will be a hit, only if they play their cards right and also stay true to the key things that make Shazam a unique hero. Otherwise the movie will be played off as just another mediocre superhero film.
Source: Zachary Levi
Be sure to catch Shazam! in cinemas 4th April 2019 and see for yourself!