Say the Word: A Fox Movie Review of Shazam!

By: Nick Perkins

We’ve all wanted to be a superhero at some point in our lives. Maybe it was when we were kids, wearing a towel and our mom’s rubber gloves, jumping off couches and pretending to fly. Maybe it was the first time we did something that we knew, deep in our hearts, was the right thing to do.

Maybe it was any time we had to do something really hard. Maybe tragedy struck and we had to choose whether to let it destroy and define us, or to inspire and empower us.

Regardless of the when, we’ve all dreamed up being something more, of doing something better, of finding something within ourselves that we didn’t know was there.

That is the position that Billy Batson (played with shocking vulnerability by both Asher Angel and Zachary Levi) finds himself in Shazam, a 2019 superhero movie from New Line Cinema and DC Films.

Shazam tells the story of a young orphan named Billy, who was separated from his mother at a carnival and spent the next several years trying to track her down. Unfortunately for Billy, it’s hard to find somebody that doesn’t want to be found.

After running afoul of local police, Billy finds himself in a foster home, where he meets Freddy Freeman, a fellow foster child who knows everything there is to know about Batman, Superman and the rest of the DC crew. Billy initially dismisses Freddy and his fandom, but it would eventually come in handy.

After saving Freddy from a group of bullies, Billy finds himself on a subway train that is certainly not headed for 2nd and Main. Billy is transported into another realm, where he comes face to face with Shazam- an ancient magician with all the powers in the world. He deems Billy worthy or, at least, ‘worthy enough,’ to pass on his powers, as well as his name. All Billy needed to do was say the word: ‘Shazam.’

He does, and is instantly transformed from a meek-yet-feisty kid into a full-grown adult superhero. Not knowing what just happened, Billy-turned-Shazam seeks out Freddy, hoping his new friend will help guide him on this new path.

Shazam is a comic book/superhero movie, no doubt. But it’s more than just a guy in a cape beating up bad guys. It’s about finding your own self-worth, not being afraid to rely on others and finding the hero within one’s self. More than anything, Shazam is about family.

The word family means a lot of different things for a lot of different people. For Billy, he thought family was about who gave birth to him. And he spent years trying to rebuild that family and each time he failed, he felt less and less worthy of love. But then he met Freddy, along with foster parents Victor and Rosa Vasquez (Cooper Andrews and Marta Milans). He met other foster children, like Mary Bromfield (played by Grace Fulton), Darla Dudley (played by Faithe Herman), Eugene Choi (played by Ian  Chen) and Pedro Pena (played by Jovan Armand). Eventually, Billy realized that family isn’t about birthright- it’s about being there when nobody else is. Family is about love, unconditional. It’s about being a hero to the people you love.

Billy Batson was chosen to be a superhero, not because of what he could be but because of what he was. Billy was always a hero; he just needed to find that out for himself. Once he did, he was ready to take on the world. He was ready to battle bad guys and leap tall buildings in a single bound. Billy learned a lot of lessons when he took up the mantle of Shazam. But perhaps the biggest lesson was ‘family is what you make it.’ Billy found his family, and he pledged to be there for them, whenever they needed him.

All they have to do, is say the word.


Shazam is now playing at the Fox Movie Theater in Downtown Casper. For show time listings, ticket prices and more, visit the WyoMovies Facebook Page

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