Shazam is a fun film. In the good old days, Batman and Superman would usually stick to being street smart and honest while pursuing crime fighting. In the 1960s-80s , no audience would want to be invested in their back stories beyond a point. I mean it was a popcorn, Pepsi and candy experience to watch a superhero. Unfortunately, from the Christopher Nolan era, the dark and emotionally challenged Batman created a template of “nuanced and a rather grim” superhero who would move you spiritually and emotionally but will totally kill the family movie outing segment of viewers. This strategy followed in DC/ Warner in “Dawn Of Justice” , “Man Of Steel”, “Justice League” something which couldn’t compete with Marvel’s family going audience and didn’t make much impact on the box office.
The film has already grossed $250 Million on a budget of $70 Million in less than a week and is being positioned as the revival vehicle of DC content and its entry into the FAMILY
A DIFFERENT KIND OF SUPERHERO
Where Shazam scores is the fact that the main protagonist himself is a teenager in an adult man’s body. This narrative is far from the dark, brooding, sulking world of “Suicide Squad”, “Dawn Of Justice”, etc… It’s my belief that DC was thinking that there is a “halo” of
sorts for portraying a dark superhero with a complex backstory. From a critic’s and a mature audience perspective that sounded kosher but it created a wedge between the content and its long standing family audience. The movie is actually set in an “American Pie” type of world.
Shazam! Has a goofy teenager at the center who too has a haunting past to bury but he essentially as a 15 year old offers more fun and discovery to the younger audience. When Billy lands up in a convenience stores looking for “beers” and gets ignored royally, the audience relate to his issues immediately. Shazam! Looks , feels and acts like a superhero but he is just like Peter Parker and has daily teenage issues of growing up , self discovery etc.
WHAT’S UNIQUE ABOUT SHAZAM! And why you should watch it with your family!
There are a number of firsts associated with Shazam in terms of storytelling and superheroes.
1. It’s the first superhero film in the DC pantheon where the main protagonist is a teen hidden in an adult’s body.
2. Its superpower is not very complex. He just says Shazam! And things work for him.
3. The film takes in perspective the lives of foster children and group living in the US.
4. Each of the team members of Shazam! are kids who have some deficiency of sorts. They also are from a diverse set of ethnicities. They are Africans, Chinese, Americans and more!
5. The film uses the 7 sins as monsters who largely reflect various human flaws.
6. He also is the only Doritos eating Superhero who actually eats while he is in his suit.
7. Shazam also likes to gatecrash a strip bar frequently.
8. The final climax of the film happens in a local city carnival, something not very common in superhero films.
9. Shazam also is the first film from DC which is targeting a family audience by using 1980’s music for the parents and at the same time have children leading the charge who turn into adults after they assume super powers.
10. The Film hardly uses any F- words or any bad language.
11. There is a concerted effort to make Shazam palatable for sibling bonhomie and friendship amongst kids.
Hope you all watch this amazing film with the family !