Review: 'Shazam & # 39; – Thunder And Lightness, Just A Little Of Truth: NPR


Let the light be … naked: Freddy Freeman (Jack Dylan Grazer) and … well, he's got a lot of names, long story (Zachary Levi) forget about their troubles, go ahead and be zapped Shazam!

Pictures of Warner Bros.

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Let the light be … naked: Freddy Freeman (Jack Dylan Grazer) and … well, he's got a lot of names, long story (Zachary Levi) forget about their troubles, go ahead and be zapped Shazam!

Pictures of Warner Bros.

The cultural narrative built around movies featuring DC Comics superheroes over the last ten years is as follows: DC movies are too dark and raw, and the company should be inspired by Marvel, whose films always leave room for entertainment and whimsical elements so crucial to the superhero genre.

This is an oversimplification, but one can not deny that the nugget of truth is there: Years ago, the leaders of Warners / DC were examining the resounding success of Christopher Nolan's dark and dark film. The black Knight trilogy, and concluded that they had cracked how to approach the kind of superheroes, once and for all.

But they had confused the "one time" with the "for all". Of course, they had rather cracked how to approach a particular superhero – a dark and dark hero. It was a failure of insight like confusing a huge forest, teeming with lush and varied biodiversity for a single, particularly scary willow and Gothic appearance.

Different heroes are not simply factory set up with different sets of powers and colors, but with different perspectives, motivations, goals and fears. For movies to work, these characters must be approached according to the narrative mode and the tonal valence that best suits them. Spider-Man is not Thor, Thor is not Iron Man. Knowing this, really Knowing this, allows for efficient characterization, and effective characterization means that these characters can be conflicted with each other – delineating the contours of their most difficult contours by plating them into each other again and again, such as in movies like Captain America: The soldier of the winter, Captain America: Civil War and particularly, Thor: Ragnarok, a film that worked optimally when he lightened repeatedly and delighted the sumptuous Asgardian pomposite for which his audience grew to know and love his hero.

But for DC / Warners, the capes of superheroes adapt to all: they follow the Black Knight films with the same dark, color Steel man and Batman v Superman: The Dawn of Justice, a film that tried to draw its two main characters into a conflict that does not make sense, because we could so little find the light of day between their respective characterizations. Wonder Woman represented a welcome and helpful step forward, Justice League a long jump at the Olympic level backwards, and Suicide team … was also a film that was made and published.

It would be easy to say that DC's latest superhero release, Shazam!, represents DC / Warners finally learning to rotate, coming to a given hero in the mode that suits them best. It is certainly true that the film is full of crazy gags and brilliant winks, and that the good guy of the film (his name is "Shazam!" In the credits, but in the reality of the film, he Is rather a type of open question.) Is a puffed galoot, with square jaws, in a red tomato set played by Zachary Levi. But he also stops frequently in his business to devote himself conscientiously to a more familiar and direct kind of enterprise.

The fun elements – the way he turns the generally brief sequence of "superhero training montage" into an extended and rewarding running gag, for example – are: so fun, fresh and invigorating, they can not help but highlight the saddest passages dictated by the genre of history. Shazam! starts with an extended flashback that turns out to be the story of our villain (Mark Strong) who, yes, Is equip it with an essential feature that will pay well for the third act (the film improves in a more joyous, rather unusual way). But there is so much a lot of this story that you will feel at the last minute of the duration of the film, which lasts two hours and twelve minutes.

(Compare to last year Aquaman, a DC superhero movie even longer than also came with lots of happy elements like a percussionist octopus and a kraken with the melodious voice of Mary Freaking Poppins – but this The film was able to assert its genre (hero motivation, love story) so quickly, lightly and superficially, that they proved to be absolutely water soluble.)

As a young Billy Batson, who is imbued with the ability to turn into a crimson super champion, Asher Angel is sober and naturalistic. As Billy's talkative best friend, Freddy Freeman, Jack Dylan Grazer presents a remarkable, eccentric and nicely calibrated performance – a performance that points to the boring limit and constantly threatens to rock into the so-called double-play school of Live-Action-Disney. -Channel-Weird-Kid, without ever doing it.

Levi is a charming actor. He launches himself in the leading role and in the combination of strength that goes with it. He plays the adult-super-swole Billy-with a broad enthusiasm that does not really match Angel's performance in any way that you can indicate – but it's not a big deal. 39, importance, because it is so ridiculous, game presence.

Shazam! is not enough to break the narrative "DC dark movies, Marvel fun movies" by itself, especially with another Suicide team film looming, not to mention Joaquin Phoenix, capital-D-Dark Joker directed to theaters this fall. (And keep in mind that at Marvel, the remaining Avengers are currently going through the stages of Kubler – Ross' s mourning on a cosmic scale, which requires a thorough examination of our current collective criteria of "pleasure". )

But what is this movie Is Constantly build a happy and colorful ending – a convincing, easy-to-follow, often funny and, crucially, satisfying super-hero vs. supervillain battle-royale.

This is an end that has the heart on the sleeve and that makes the subtext of the story – the fulfillment of the wish, which is the subtext of all the stories of superheroes – emphatically and explicitly. A lonely child finds a magic word it turns him into a champion, and also, not for nothing, he finds a family. The imagination pure and simple Power of that.

It's the superhero refined to its thematic essence: so clean, so clear and – thankfully! mostly! shameless! so clumsy.

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