Review of the movie "Shazam!"
Shazam was born in 1939, when, in the wake of the success of Batman (1938) and Superman (1939) from National Allied Publications (in 1977 the company will be called DC Comics), Fawcett Publications created its own comics division Fawcett Comics and introduced its superhero - Captain Thunder, uniting the powers of six mythical heroes. By and large, Captain Thunder was a copy of Superman, ranging from appearance to abilities, only the source of his power was different. Shortly before publication, Fawcett Comics learned that the phrase Captain Thunder was already a registered trademark and changed the hero's name to Captain Marvelous, and then to Captain Marvel. Actually,
Captain Marvel is the alter ego of the twelve-year-old orphan Billy Batson, who, pronouncing the name of the wizard Shazam, turns into an adult superhero with the powers of six mythical heroes and gods. In fact, the word Shazam is an acronym consisting of the first letters of the name of these same six heroes. S - Solomon (King Solomon, wisdom), H - Hercules (Hercules, strength), A - Atlas (Atlas, endurance), Z - Zeus (Zeus, lightning control), A - Achilles (Achilles, courage and invulnerability) and M - Mercury (Mercury, speed). Unlike most other superheroes, the powers of Captain Marvel are of an exclusively magical nature, they were awarded to a twelve-year-old boy by an ancient wizard.
During the Golden Age of Comics (late 1930s - early 1950s), Captain Marvel was the most popular character in drawn stories. Comics with his participation sold better than comics with Batman and Superman. Not only that, Captain Marvel became the first comic book character to appear on the big screen: Adventures of Captain Marvel was filmed in the format of a 12-episode black-and-white film series. The series aired one episode a day before the main show (instead of modern trailers) in March 1941, just two years after the character was created. Adventures of Captain Marvel was re-released in 1953 and again in 1966 as a single, nearly four-hour film.
Back in 1941, National Allied Publications (future DC Comics) filed a lawsuit against Fawcett Publications over the apparent similarities between Captain Marvel and Superman. The proceedings lasted 7 years and only in 1948 got into court. Due to the negligence of National Allied Publications in the design of patents, Fawcett Publications won in 1951, but the plaintiff appealed this decision in 1952.By the time the Golden Age of comics had already ended, circulation of drawn stories had fallen several times and the popularity of Captain Marvel had faded. to no. As a result, Fawcett Publications abandoned further attempts to defend itself, agreed to stop publishing Captain Marvel comics and pay the National $ 400,000 in compensation. Fawcett closed the comics division in 1953, and the last, 150th issue of Captain Marvel Adventures came out in November 1953.
In the late 1960s and early 1970s, in the so-called Silver Age of Comics, National Allied Publications, which had already changed its name twice - first to National Comics Publications in 1946, and then to National Periodical Publications in 1961, looked for new characters for her publications and decided to license the character from Fawcett, which at one time became a source of dispute between the companies. Since by that time Marvel Comics already had its own character with the same name, created in 1966 by Stan Lee (then Captain Marvel from Marvel was still a man), National Periodical decided to rename Captain Marvel from Fawcett to Shazam! Interestingly, the first issues of comics about Shazam came out with the subtitle The Original Captain Marvel, which, after Marvel's claims, had to be changed to The World's Mightiest Mortal.
Hopefully now it's clear that DC / Warner Bros. they chose for the new film not a random character at all, but one of the oldest heroes, who, moreover, was the first superhero to receive an official film adaptation. Now let's get down to the 2019 movie after all.
Shazam! Is a teenage comedy disguised as a superhero movie. On the same principle, all the first films about Spider-Man in the next restart were filmed. The same Spider-Man: Homecoming , with all its desire to break the old scheme, remains a film about a lonely teenager who does not know what to do with the superpower that has fallen on his head and therefore commits one stupidity after another. Young Billy Batson got into a similar situation.
Like many superheroes, he is an orphan. The mother abandoned very little Billy at the fair, this is understandable to everyone except Billy himself, who continues to believe that his mother is waiting somewhere and is still looking for him (why the police did not find this woman by her name is a big mystery). Billy runs away from orphanages and temporary parents and tries not to make friends until he gets into the Vasquez family, which already has five adopted children. Quite by accident, Billy Batson gains a power he was not looking for and intervenes in the eternal confrontation between good and evil.
What would a modern teenager do if he got superpower? That's right, I would have made a video for YouTube or broadcast on Instagram and started to monetize the audience. Actually, Billy and his new friend / brother Freddie do not have enough brains for more. Teenagers fool around, take revenge on presumptuous fellow-majors, try to buy beer, since Shazam looks like a grown man, thwart a store robbery, charge passers-by with pocket zippers, etc. Take any teen movie, add super powers to it and get Shazam!
The problem is that Shazam! doesn't look like a modern blockbuster. The level of the script, jokes, filming, special effects here corresponds to a category B film shot in the mid-80s. The actions and even the replicas of the heroes are predictable to yawn, the script does not contain a single original plot move, humor at times sinks to the mark of YouTube's letsplay. From the very first shot, we know that the offended boy in the car will grow into an evil villain, and the rebellious Billy will eventually find a real family.
Shazam's powers also contribute to the strange impressions of the film. This is pure magic that looks strange and alien in modern superhero cinema. Wizards and magic staves, mantles and spells, seven deadly sins in the flesh, thrones of ancient kings ... Yes, in the same Doctor Strange from Marvel magic also works, but there it is at least veiled under the manipulation of space and reality.
What's in Shazam! frankly good, it's that DC / Warner Bros. is no longer too serious and dark. They began to joke about themselves and their own universe (which is only the animated credits in the finale), breaking the fourth wall, trying to make films in different genres.
And also in Shazam! good young actors who played the named brothers and sisters of Billy Batson. The leading actor Asher Angel himself seemed too tight for us, but Jack Dylan Grazer, who plays Freddie, and little Faith Herman, as Darla, are just great.
After the phenomenal commercial success of the frankly weak Aquaman and Captain Marvel , which grossed more than $ 1 billion at the box office, I find it difficult to predict how this film will meet the audience. Shazam! - a weak and very predictable film, but recently viewers have chosen very strange shows, voting for them in hryvnias.
But you can go to this film with the whole family, including younger students. There is no blood, death, grievous bodily, sex and swearing here. And although formally the Shazam! As much as PG-13 (Viewing is not desirable for children under 13), it does not pull more than G (The film is shown without restrictions).