In the DCEU, where Snyder vision, dark lighting, and Batman killing criminals exists, there lies Shazam!
“Shazam!” is not your typical coming-of-age story where a group of young boys go off to find dead bodies in Appalachian jungles, but one where a young foster family band together to fight the Seven Deadly Sins.
Zachary Levi plays the other side of Asher Angel’s coin, proving that the Wisdom of Solomon does not equal maturity. Angel’s Billy Batson proves to be more mature than his wizarding counterpart due to his nomadic foster upbringing, desperately trying to find his long lost mother in Philadelphia.
It is when Billy meets his new foster brother, Freddy Freeman that the movie begins to really find its rhythm and soul, where Freddy serves as a sort-of mentor to Shazam in the absence of a older/wiser superhero.
With Freddy’s help, Shazam becomes the hero with a sense of humor, and Billy the best a brother could be to his siblings.
Mark Strong’s Dr. Sivana plays out in typical supervillain fashion. A child who could’ve been the hero but instead wanted all of the power for himself to seek vengeance on those who have abused him. But with the Seven Deadly Sins in play, the biblical entities have also decided to make him their evil scapegoat in order to take over the world.
But unlike DC’s other cinematic villains, Sivana is relatively tame in terms of his destructive output in the movie. While General Zod and Lex Luthor single handedly destroyed Metropolis and Gotham, respectively, the most Sivana did was destroy a Ferris wheel at a small fair. His motivations are not world domination, but rather having a monopoly on the power that was not bestowed upon him.
DC clearly suffers more than Marvel in their development of the main villains, aside from the fantastic General Zod. Most of the time they do not receive adequate screen time and suffer from poorly written plot exposition lines rather than personal insights to their own character.
This is where “Shazam!” brings us the most personal villain to date, one who was abused by his family as a child for being socially awkward, yet incredibly intelligent. Sivana wishes to use his potential powers to get rid of his family, while Billy wants to use his to find one, and both succeed in doing so.
The arrival of Shazam brings with it a breath of fresh light air into DC’s brooding Extended Universe, showing to critics and audiences alike that DC can bring whole hearted family fun to the big screen.