Thursday, April 18, 2019     Volume: 20, Issue: 7
Signup

Santa Maria Sun / Film

This weeks review
BINGEABLE: RUSSIAN DOLL
BLAST FROM THE PAST: GODSPELL
BREAKTHROUGH
DUMBO
HEARST CASTLE: BUILDING THE DREAM
HELLBOY
SHAZAM!
THE CURSE OF LA LLORONA
THE MUSTANG
UNDERRATED: THE BATTERED BASTARDS OF BASEBALL
UNPLANNED

SHAZAM!

PHOTO BY WARNER BROS. AND DC ENTERTAINMENT

SHAZAM!


Where is it playing?: Hi-Way Drive-In, Movies Lompoc, Parks Plaza

What's it rated?: PG-13

What's it worth?: $ Full price

User Rating: 0.00 (0 Votes)

Pick

Horror director David F. Sandberg (Lights Out, Annabelle: Creation) successfully steps out of his comfort zone to helm this superhero fantasy about 14-year-old foster kid Billy Batson (Asher Angel), who is chosen to inherit magical powers from a dying wizard (Djimon Hounsou). All Batson needs to do is say the magic word—the wizard’s name, Shazam!—to transform into an adult superhero (Zachary Levi) with super strength, flight, and other abilities.

Still a kid at heart, the hero—or “champion,” as the wizard refers to him—revels in his new powers, testing them out with his foster brother, Freddy (Jack Dylan Grazer), the first person Batson trusts with his secret. Meanwhile, the insidious Dr. Thaddeus Sivana (Mark Strong), a mad scientist who dedicated his life to finding the original Shazam, seeks to hunt down Batson in order to extract his powers and adopt them himself.

From the trailers, the film looks like Deadpool for kids, but after seeing the final product, I think a more appropriate description would be a cross between Harry Potter and Big for superhero fans. The film opens with an origin for Sivana, cleverly devised to mirror Batson’s origin later; he’s chosen by the same dying wizard as a child decades before. Unfortunately, Sivana fails the wizard’s test when he is tempted by “the Seven Deadly Sins.” The sins are literally represented as physical demonic monsters who play an intricate—and quite terrifying—role in Sivana’s destiny.

Sivana is devastated by the wizard’s rejection, who tells him he’ll never be worthy enough to inherit his powers. I won’t spoil all the details, but the following scene is quite brutal for a kids’ movie and includes the darkest use of Bing Crosby’s “Do You Hear What I Hear?” I’ve ever seen put on film. I’m not always a fan of cheerful music juxtaposed with dark material for the sake of irony, but this one works so perfectly. The lyrics proclaiming the birth of the messiah really set the stage for Sivana’s future role as an antichrist figure.

It’s a lot to take in, but wow. Believe the hype! The film’s universal acclaim since its release is well-deserved. Like Wonder Woman and Aquaman, Shazam! builds its own world and mythology while still retaining the features of a shared universe (there are plenty of references to other DC heroes throughout the film to make that point clear). Overall, Shazam! works on so many levels: an intriguing fantasy, a moving family drama, and a brilliant comedy. Drop whatever you’re doing and go see it—Shazam! (132 min.)

—Caleb




Weekly Poll
What do you think of the county's new permitting process for hoop houses?

Farmers already have too many regulations to adhere to.
It was necessary to clarify the permitting process.
The process will help protect wildlife.
Cannabis growers are the problem, not other farmers!

| Poll Results