First off, I should pre-empt my upcoming diatribe by saying that I am totally sick of superhero films and really feel as though the industry is aiming for the lowest common denominator by making almost every new film some sort of superhero film. I understand why they are doing it since it is almost a guaranteed profit when you consider the international markets but all of these films lack any sort of substance.
It was fun and inventive 10 years ago when they first developed the technology to pull something like this off but now they are truly milking this cow for all it is worth and Shazam is a prime example of this.
Image chosen because I have no idea what language that is.... do you?
If you look at the two biggest movie review sites in the world that are IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes you will find that this film has positive review scores from both critics and viewers alike and I have to say that I am starting to suspect that I have nothing in common with the average film buff.
I'm not trying to get all artsy or anything and films that get to artsty-fartsy are not my thing either. However, this film and nearly every single other superhero film is predictable to the point of vegetation. In any superhero film the ending can be determined right from the onset, it is just a question of how we are going to get there and how much money they invested in their CGI budget. This film invested $100 million in production costs and nearly $150 million in advertising for the film. Despite doing relatively well overall this film was in danger at one point of not making back the budget.
This is the world we live in now. The hype generated by marketing is more important than the film actually being any good. I do NOT think this film is good but I guess if you are one of those people that doesn't mind an incredibly easy-to-determine ending and enjoy the showcasing of special effects than maybe this would appeal to you. Lately, I have found that I require more from a film in order for me to consider it to be good. I like comedy as much as the next guy but normally I prefer that the comical nature of my films be "comic relief" whereas this entire film could be considered a comedy. It actually won an award for "best comedy" so I think that solidifies my point.
Couldn't even splurge for an actual real product
The film follows Billy Batson, an orphan with a troubled past who is searching for his real mother (kinda). By pure chance after he is being chased by bullies he is transported to a magical realm where is determined to be pure of heart and is therefore bestowed with superhero powers. However, he is not a superhero all the time but if he shouts "Shazam!" he gets transformed into an adult superhero along with powers that has to figure out on his own.
I suppose some of this is interesting because just like when Spiderman is figuring out his superpowers, he doesn't exactly know what he is capable of and it requires some trial and error to figure it all out. The major problem is that he seems to be basically invincible so the baddies in the film, which are the 7 deadly sins, never really stand a chance against him. This omnipotence is the big problem I have with other superheroes especially Captain Marvel.
I would say that this is some sort of spoiler but is there such a thing as spoiling a superhero film? I mean, they all end up the same way so the fact that he Billy emerges victorious in the end shouldn't come as too much of a surprise.
I think the only thing that this film really has going for it is that it is extremely kid friendly and perhaps that is what they were going for in the first place. For me, the whimsical nature that these types of films have taken on in recent years actually takes away from the overall standpoint, but I suppose they need to achieve a PG or PG13 rating by whatever means necessary. Kids will love this movie, that is for sure, as for adults, unless you have kids (I don't) I can't really see it appealing a great deal unless you are one of those people that is just going to applaud anything and everything that DC and Marvel manage to crank out.
Should I watch it?
I don't know how to answer this question but if you are a Netflix subscriber I think you will probably end up doing so anyway because well, they don't have a whole lot going on at the moment as far as quality is concerned. The film is entertaining, but only in the same vapid way that almost every superhero film has been in the past decade. For me, I tend to agree with Martin Scorsese when he said that superhero films "are not cinema, they are more like theme parks."