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Top 10 Things Critics Are Saying About Shazam

VO: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Michael Wynands

Marvel isn’t the only one bringing a heavy hitting superhero to theaters in 2019! For this list, we’ll be taking a look at some of the early reactions to DC’s 2019 comic book movie “Shazam!”, and the glowing things that reviewers and industry insiders are saying about it. Join WatchMojo as we count down our picks for the Top 10 Things Critics Are Saying About Shazam.

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Script written by Michael Wynands

Top 10 Things Critics Are Saying About Shazam


Marvel isn’t the only one bringing a heavy hitting superhero to theaters in 2019! Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Things Critics Are Saying About “Shazam!”

For this list, we’ll be taking a look at some of early reactions to DC’s 2019 comic book movie “Shazam!”, and the glowing things that reviewers and industry insiders are saying about it.

#10: It’s Got Some Scares

Many an eyebrow was raised when it was announced that David F. Sandberg had been tapped to direct “Shazam!” Before this, his filmography was strictly horror-related, having made his feature length debut in 2016 with “Lights Out”, followed by “Annabelle: Creation” in 2017. As such, he seemed like a strange choice for DC’s more family-friendly superhero offering. Well, according to comicbook.com’s Brandon Davis, Sandberg knows how to have fun, while still using his background in horror to deliver some solid scares, when appropriate. Sounds like a winning combo to us!

#9: Great Fight Scenes

The “Shazam!” trailers gave us a lot of eye candy, gags, and fun moments, but one of the things that people were quick to call attention to was the lack of action and fight sequences typically used to sell a superhero flick. This understandably had some fans worried. Thankfully, it would seem that we can put those concerns to rest. According to Dorian Parks of Collider and founder of Geeks of Color, the film is indeed a whole lot of fun while also delivering in the fight scene department.

#8: Perfect Family Movie

With 2013’s “Man of Steel”, the new direction taken by DC and WB films proved a divisive one. Whether you enjoy the earlier cinematic offerings of the DCEU or not, there’s no denying that they weren’t exactly kid-friendly. Heck, even the MCU can get a bit too heavy for younger viewers. From the very first teaser trailer however, it became clear that WB was looking to do something really different with “Shazam!”. Critics seem to agree that it’s a perfect family film with a whole lot of heart. And really, there aren’t enough of those these days.

#7: Emotional Moments

The key to a good family movie is balancing humor with genuine sentimentality. You want to entertain and you want to make your audience laugh, sure, but to become a true family classic, a film also needs to make its audience feel something - young and old alike. Thankfully, it seems that for all its silliness, “Shazam!” also does good work with its more grounded premise - that of a troubled foster child finally finding a place to belong. Film critic Courtney Howard praised the film for its central relationships, highlighting the fact that it genuinely earns the emotional moments it delivers.

#6: It Nailed the Tone

Let’s be honest, the DC character formerly known as Captain Marvel, now going by Shazam!, is not the most grounded or serious of superheroes. He’s a young boy who turns into a grown man using a magic word, at which point he’s imbued with the godlike powers of an ancient wizard. Add to that the whole family film angle, and some fans were understandably concerned that the film would lose itself in its own absurdity or child-friendliness. Thankfully, it seems to have struck a perfect balance. Critics say it’s silly, but not dumb. It’s fun while still managing to have serious stakes. In short, “Shazam!” is its own film.

#5: Throwback to Movies of 80s/90s

Spinning out of the whole family friendly angle, it would seem that “Shazam!” is something of a blast from the recent past. It has an element of youthful joy to it reminiscent of ‘90s family comedies - a genre of cinema that has largely disappeared from theaters. Peter Sciretta of slashfilm.com compares it to both “Home Alone” and “Big”, while Sean Gerber of superheronews.com calls it a film that “would have been right at home in the Amblin era”. For those of you not familiar with the name, Amblin brought you such films as“The Goonies”, “Back to the Future” and “E.T”. You know… all those cherished family movies that people are still rewatching decades later. High praise indeed!

#4: Acting

Zachary Levi is best known for his television work as the titular hero of NBC’s “Chuck”. He became a part of the MCU when he took over the role Fandral, but never really got much screen time. It’s safe to say that after “Shazam!”, Levi is going to be operating on a whole new level of popularity, because based on early reviews, he seems to have absolutely killed it as the caped superhero. Eric Eisenberg of cinemablend goes so far as to say that it’s “the role that Zachary Levi was born to play”. It’s worth noting that Jack Dylan Grazer has also earned plenty of praise for his performance as Freddie.

#3: Easter Eggs/References

DC might be moving away from an MCU-style roadmap in favor of more standalone stories, but this film apparently still contains more than a few nods to the existing continuity of the DCEU. We already knew that Batman and Superman would be getting some lip-service; Batman even makes an appearance in the trailer when he helps Shazam in his fight against Dr. Sivana. Okay, he’s just a doll, but it still counts! According to early reviews, even more easter eggs and references await eagle-eyed viewers and “hardcore fans”.

#2: Humor

We’ve already touched on this a few times, but it really warrants its own entry. Shazam’s biggest victory seems to be its humor, which, as the trailers promised, is fundamental to the movie’s style and tone. Of course, an incessant stream of jokes… a funny movie does not make. The jokes themselves actually need to be funny. Thankfully, nearly every reaction to early screenings makes a point of drawing attention to the film’s humor, in one way or another, as a highlight. Shazam, as a boy in a superpowered man’s body, is in an inherently funny situation, and we’re glad to hear they capitalized on that.

#1: It’s Among DC’s Best Offerings to Date

After the strong showings of “Wonder Woman” and “Aquaman,” it seems that DC has finally found its footing. With “Shazam!” however, they might just have a hat trick on their hands. To be fair, based on name recognition and star power, it might not do the same numbers at the box office as the aforementioned films, but all signs point to it being a big success with critics and cinemagoers alike. Geeks of Color called it “one of DC’s best”, while ET Now host Ash Crossan called it her favorite DC film “by far”. Given everything we’ve seen and heard, consider us sold!


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