SHAZAM! DC Film Adaptations Are on a Roll (4K Blu-ray Review)

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Watch all of the powers and none of the practice when “Shazam!” arrives on 4K UHD Combo Pack, Blu-ray Combo Pack and DVD July 16, 2019. David F. Sandberg (“Annabelle: Creation,” “Lights Out”) directs New Line Cinema’s “Shazam!,” the origin story that stars Zachary Levi (TV’s “Chuck,” “Tangled”) as the titular DC Super Hero, along with Mark Strong (the “Kingsman” movies, “The Imitation Game”) in the role of DC Super-Villain Dr. Thaddeus Sivana and Asher Angel (TV’s “Andi Mack,” “Driven to Dance”) as Billy Batson. Here is my review of the 4K Blu-ray:

SHAZAM_4k-blurayWe all have a superhero inside us, it just takes a bit of magic to bring it out. In Billy Batson’s (Asher Angel) case, by shouting out one word—SHAZAM!—this streetwise 14-year-old foster kid can turn into the adult superhero Shazam (Zachary Levi), courtesy of an ancient wizard. Still a kid at heart—inside a ripped, godlike body—Shazam revels in this adult version of himself by doing what any teen would do with superpowers: have fun with them! Can he fly? Does he have X-ray vision? Can he shoot lightning out of his hands? Can he skip his social studies test? Shazam sets out to test the limits of his abilities with the joyful recklessness of a child. But he’ll need to master these powers quickly in order to fight the deadly forces of evil controlled by Dr. Thaddeus Sivana (Mark Strong).


Review:

DC film adaptations are on a roll with the latest release Shazam! managing to reach levels of fun that current Marvel studios efforts have been trying to attain but unable to capture outside Thor: Ragnarok and the Guardians of The Galaxy franchises. Aquaman was a visual spectacle and thrill-ride unlike anything before it and Shazam! continues that trend of lighter material and a director who knows how to make one helluva kick-ass comic book adaptation. David Sandberg is known for his horror resume-you’ll get some crazy glimpses of that background in Shazam! from time to time, but the effort is mostly a family-friendly affair that flips the superhero origin on its head, creating this exhilarating up-to-date version of Big meets The Monster Squad.

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Billy Batson is an orphan trying to find his mother and in the meantime is taken in by a loving family of foster kids who all have interesting personalities and traits that will make you fall in love with every single one. By the end of the film, you’ll be cheering for this family in ways you can’t even imagine going into the Shazam! experience. I was very unfamiliar with the comic book origins of Captain Marvel, aka SHAZAM! now, because Marvel Studios has another fairly important character with the same name these days. That being said, now that I’ve seen BOTH movies, I do prefer Shazam! – because the origin just has a lot more heart. I had no idea that Billy Batson was a foster child and I had zero clue about his foster brothers and sisters as well – so seeing that all come together felt very real and grounded, which makes the more ridiculous and over-the-top fantasy elements of the film feel less silly. Jack Dylan Grazer is a star and his ‘sidekick’ performance may very well be the highlight of the film for me.

Zachary Levi plays “adult” Billy in his Shazam! form and the dude just nails it in every single scene. I dare you to find another performer who looks like he’s having as much fun as Levi does while wearing that ridiculous comic book faithful costume. What really floored me were the mannerisms that Levi utilised too – because I actually believed that this could be the adult form of a younger Asher Angel. When you can take the concept of a young child turned body-building superhuman and make it believable then you’ve already won half the battle. Shazam! is relentlessly silly but it embraces the magical elements and high concepts of wizardry in a way that is self aware but not so much so that it becomes a parody of the genre. This film is unabashedly geeky and thrilling – with a final act that had me and my children on the edge of our seats cheering. I didn’t want the movie to end – and I hope that the sequel does indeed make good on its insane mid-credits tease of a villain the likes of which NOBODY has ever seen before… Whoever’s idea it was to do that tease — is legit crazy and I love them for going for it anyway. (Full Review HERE)

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Special Features:

  • Shazam Exclusive Motion Comic
  • The Magical World of Shazam
  • Super Fun Zac
  • Carnival Scene Study
  • Shazamily Values
  • Who is Shazam?
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Gag Reel

There are over 90 minutes of pure movie-making joy included on the Shazam! Blu-ray. Not only does the 4K format look absolutely stunning (maybe a couple CGI flying sequences later in the film were exposed a little, but not enough to hate on) but the special features are equally as entertaining. Who knew that director David F. Sandberg was one of the alligator alien people? Now you do – watch the ‘Magical World of Shazam’ feature to see it all.

The gag reel was fun, the deleted scenes are actually worth your time and one of them does in fact tease the notorious future villain Black Adam (sorta) and it was nice seeing those surprise actors who pop up late in the film, elaborate on their time working on the movie too. Aquaman was stacked from top to bottom with the home release and WB kills it again with Shazam! – putting shame to most other Blu-ray packages.

Rating:

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