I remember seeing a trailer for an upcoming comic book movie. The trailer was played up for laughs, the comedy a bit silly for my taste. Then, I saw the movie and was blown away by it and it became one of my favorite movies of all time. That movie was Guardians of the Galaxy.
The trailer for Shazam played much the same or me. Too much emphasis on silly comedy that fell flat for me. Still, remembering that I have been fooled by trailers before, I went to see Shazam and... well, I was not blown away, but I came out having seen an okay movie.
There may be spoilers ahead. You've been warned.
I have read some Captain Marvel comics over the years, though I haven't read as much since DC Comics stopped being allowed to call him that. I am not as much of a fan of this character as say Captain America or Thor so I went in not really knowing more than the basics of the Shazam family history. Yes, I did geek out upon seeing Mr Mind, so there's that. It was cool seeing Mary Marvel as well, the only other member of the family I knew much about and who I actually like better than Billy's champion (who never actually gets a real code name in the movie).
I should probably point out that, even though I went in with an open mind, I am not the biggest fan of the actor playing "the champion" so that may color my opinion a bit. Nothing personal. I just haven't liked him in anything I've seen him in. He has some moments in this, but for the most part, I got nothing.
The action is good and the effects are on par with the other superhero movies out there, but there were no real surprises there. What really stands out for me int his movie is the family dynamic of the foster home and the relationship between the parents and their foster kids. All hands on deck, indeed. 3 stars for the family dynamic. I loved it. Well cast too.
What didn't really click for me is our hero. After 45 years of searching for someone pure of heart, the best the wizard's power could find was this kid who is rude, a smart ass, a thief, and as gets pointed out to him, a bit of a bully. Throughout the movie, my brain kept interrupting with thoughts of, "really? This guy is pure of heart?" And when he gets the power, he gets worse. Ugh. He also seems to get dumber int he adult body too, which is an odd choice, I thought. Admittedly, Billy does grow a bit in the course of the movie, but only a bit.
Mark Strong is a passable bad guy who doesn't resemble any Dr. Sivana I've see before, but that's okay. He's kind of a one note character at any rate, a pawn of the true villains of the movie.
All in all, I found the movie enjoyable. I'm sure I will watch it again at some point and perhaps multiple viewings will improve my rating. It's a fun, safe, family superhero movie.