I had the worst nightmare recently, where I got an advance copy of Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon A Time in Hollywood and it was this PG-13 unwatchable garbage. Also, it might have been a musical.
It honestly irked me so much, that I woke up slightly sweaty. That also might have to do with the fact it’s been hot out lately. Even though it just snowed a few days ago.
I think what brought this nightmare on was that I’ve been watching the new season of The Tick on Amazon every night before bed. For some bizarre reason they decided to water down the second season, remove all the violence and swearing. So now it’s as kid friendly as the original Fox series.
And yeah, it fucking sucks. The show is no longer funny, just boring. I’m several episodes in and not a damn thing has happened. Our two leads The Tick and Arthur spend most of their time eating croissants while Arthur’s sister pals around in a gay sentient boat.
It’s just so damn boring.
And that’s not half as bad as season 2 of American Gods. Wow, talk about a decline in quality. Like The Tick, a lot of the new season takes place in a single location, in this case it’s a funeral parlor where the plot and pacing went to die.
Even the characters are all over the place, mainly because I’m not sure the writers know who these characters are either.
In one scene a god is upset with another god that he’s possibly using the funeral parlor to kill black people, the other god’s worshippers. Then the next scene they’re laughing, telling jokes while drinking beer together.
Nobody knows what they’re doing on this show. Not to mention it looks like all style has left the directing, which might be the cause of the budget of the series looking like it took a giant hit. Hell, even all the rival gods are now camped out in this dingy bunker. It sucks.
Aside from nightmares and bitching about the steady decline in shitty tv shows, I also went to go see Shazam!, the new DC cinematic universe film, making this the… 7th maybe? The 7th in a line of super shitty movies up until now.
That’s right! Shazam! is actually really damn good. Hands down the best DC cinematic universe movie I’ve seen from them. It’s as I thought, once you remove Zack Snyder from the equation, the outlook looks a lot brighter.
Before I get into that, I want to talk about this guy I’ve started calling Butterbean. Lately I’ve been noticing this guy showing up at the same movies I go to. He stands out, as he looks like a nerdy Butterbean, you know the boxer from the 90’s?
I first noticed him during my screening of Hotel Artemis. The funny thing is, that was at a different theater than the one I usually go to. So when he popped up again during my screening of Alita, at a completely different theater, I thought this is it… I finally got that stalker I’ve always wanted. I had hoped it would be a thicc large breasted egirl…
…but beggars can’t be choosers.
Now that I think about it, since I’m the one constantly noticing him, maybe I’m the stalker? But like I said, the guy is hard to miss. He’s this 6 foot tall bald guy who wears these button riddled yellow suspenders with shorts and army boots.
I mean, he’d look more at home in a neo-nazi march than at a superhero movie screening.
I’ve seen him a few more times since then, but I missed him during my screening of Shazam! and that might have to do with the fact I was a bit late, as I was busy playing Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice. I’ve been stuck on this boss Genichiro Ashina for a week now, he’s the first three stage boss you go up against and boy is he hard as hell to kill.
I kind of lost track of time. But I only missed a few shitty trailers, so no big deal.
I did however manage to beat him once I got back home, in case you all were wondering. No? No one cares? Get on with the review, you moron? Fine, you don’t have to be dicks about it.
I know absolutely nothing about Shazam, other than he used to be named Captain Marvel. And I think you know the reason why they couldn’t name their movie Captain Marvel. Even though the moniker would fit him a lot better than Brie Larson’s character. Why’d they even call her Captain Marvel in the first place? Did they ever call her Captain Marvel in the movie, I don’t remember?
There was a comic I read as a kid called Prime that I really enjoyed. It seems to be very similar, in Prime a little kid got the ability to transform into this hulking Superman type character. But afterwards he’d leave behind this sack of green booger pus.
No booger pus involve with the transformation in Shazam sadly.
Before I start, did this film get held back? I ask because it’s a Christmas movie. The trailers don’t exactly show that, but yeah, I’m thinking this was meant to come out around December but was held back for some reason. A Christmas themed movie coming out in April seems slightly odd to me. So clearly something happened.
I know there was some drama about wanting Superman to cameo, and this essentially made Cavill want to exit the role.
Or so I heard.
But maybe they thought Aquaman would do better, so they held this back a few months.
The joke is on them, as Shazam! is a much better film than Aquaman by leaps and bounds.
Enough stalling, let’s get into the plot.
As the film does feature a good amount of humor, more than any other DCCU film, this does feature some very scary imagery and dark moments. I’d even dare say scary moments.
The film starts out in the 70’s, giving our villain of the story a bit of backstory. We meet a young Thaddeus as he is driving home with his dickhead dad and asshole brother when Thaddeus is suddenly transported to a mysterious cave where he meets an old wizard named Shazam.
The wizard Shazam is losing his powers, which he uses to hold back the 7 Deadly Sins, grotesque coterie of monsters encased in stone statues. Young Thaddeus fails the wizard’s test when he is seduced by the 7 Deadly Sins.
Refusing to give young Thaddeus his powers, he is kicked back to the car with his shitty dad and brother, causing a car accident that leaves his dad paralyzed.
It’s now the present and our focus shifts to a foster kid named Billy, who is kind of a dickhead himself. If I had any complaint about the Shazam character is he doesn’t act like Billy.
Billy is kind of a little shit that takes everything too seriously. But when he transforms into Zachary Levi, he’s instantly more likable and kid-like. There’s no way Billy would ever be caught doing that ridiculous floss dance.
With that little nitpick out of the way, like I mentioned before, Billy is a foster kid. He’s looking desperately for his mom who he got separated from when he was 5.
So here’s something that confused me, when Billy was 5 or at least I’m guessing he’s as old as the kid playing him was, his mom later mentions that she WAS 17 at the time taking care of a kid alone. So if she is 17 then and he’s 5… how old was she when she had him? 12?
Now maybe I did mishear her and she said she was 17 when she had him, which would make much more sense, but I swear she said she was 17 trying to take care of a kid, meaning she was 17 in the flashback.
But ever since they got separated at a carnival, oh no, another film with a carnival. Instead of under dwelling clones like in Us, Billy just found the police who took him into protective services where he has bounced around the system until finally ending up with a new foster family that seems not so bad.
There he meets his fellow foster brothers and sisters Mary, Pedro, Eugene and Darla. Mary is the eldest kid in the house, currently looking at colleges, Pedro is the fat silent one who is possibly gay, Darla is the youngest, while Eugene is the videogame obsessed one who is slightly older than Darla, but not by much.
Then there is Freddy, Billy’s new roommate, who reminded me a lot of a young Shia LaBeouf back in his Even Stevens days. I kind of wished he’d get the powers over Billy, as Billy is a dick through most of the film, especially to Freddy.
The only time he’s nice to him, is when he’s in his Shazam form.
Instead of some made up city like Metropolis or Gotham or even Atlantis, Shazam! takes place in Philadelphia, the home of Rocky.
I think taking it out of a fictional city also helped ground the movie in some reality. That’s one thing the Marvel… okay, one of several things Marvel has over DC, and that’s being able to set their movies in actual places.
And what kid growing up wouldn’t dream of becoming a superhero? Placing it in a real location help sells that, leaving the kid to imagine himself as Shazam. Taking place in Gotham leaves me with some kind of disconnect, I otherwise wouldn’t have if the city was real.
Billy and Freddy even have the debate of which superpower would you prefer to have, flight or invisibility? Even pointing out that invisibility is kind of a villain power. FYI, I’d pick being invisible.
Ever since his short time with the wizard Shazam and the 7 Deadly Sins, Thaddeus has been obsessed with trying to find a way back to them.
The wizard Shazam is all but spent of his magic when Thaddeus figures out the correct combination of symbols to open the door to what is called the Rock of Eternity, the temple that is stuck in another dimension.
Later on we briefly get to see doorways that connect to other dimensions and what horrors await as it looks like each dimension was like a Cthulhu paradise.
Once Thaddeus finds his way in, he sets the 7 Deadly Sins free, using his body as a vessel, while also granting Thaddeus superpowers.
No longer having the luxury of picking only the purest of pure, he transports Billy to the temple after he shows some bravery for helping Freddy with some school bullies. The wizard gives Billy the spiel about the Council of Seven Wizards and how Black Adam I guess they were referring to, released the sins long ago, and only the council can defeat them and put them back in stone.
That’s about as much Black Adam info we get. I only know about the character because Dwayne Johnson is so ecstatic about playing the role.
Billy gets his powers, activating once he yells out SHAZAM! Transforming with a bolt of lightning into the adult version of himself.
If you thought this film might have some nods to the movie Big, you’d be right. This film is essentially Big meets Superman.
The first thing Thaddeus does with his powers is to confront his father and asshole brother, tossing his bro out a window. Thaddeus then releases the sins to devour everyone in the meeting room, a scene very reminiscent of the Doc Ock scene from Spider-Man 2.
The designs on the sins are pretty scary I have to say, particularly Gluttony, as its fat porpoise body is just one sharp teeth filled mouth.
Thaddeus’ father’s sin is Greed, so Greed gets the honor of eating him.
Billy on the other hand had a different experience once getting his powers. First of all, he doesn’t yet know how to go back to normal, so he’s stuck walking around in that goofy superhero outfit.
He gets Freddy to help him figure out what powers he possesses by trying a few things out. So far the only thing Billy can do is shoot electricity from his fingers, earning him the superhero name Captain Sparkle Fingers, which arguably might be worse than Shazam.
Once Billy figures out yelling SHAZAM reverts him back to normal, him and Freddy set out to test what he can do and of course since he looks like an adult, buy beer. Which they immediately regret and buy junk food and sodas instead.
The gas station scene was probably my favorite scene in the film as it got the biggest laugh out of me.
Billy as Shazam, along with Freddy, go to a gas station or a convenience store to buy beer when two robbers hold up the place. Freddy sees this as a chance to test Shazam’s powers, seeing if he’s bulletproof. As the two crooks empty their bullets into his chest, bouncing off, Freddy mentions that maybe try shooting him in the face in case it was the suit that’s bulletproof and not him.
So the robbers shoot Shazam directly in the face. It was pretty hilarious.
Most of Billy and Freddy’s time is spent either trying to find a way to make money or get into strip clubs. He does stop a mugging, but aside from that, the only heroic thing Shazam does is go around charging cellphones with his sparkle fingers.
Sensing that the wizard found a champion before he died, the sins send Thaddeus out to find Billy and force him to give him the power of Shazam.
Billy has taken his act to the streets, performing for people to make money. When Freddy confronts him about his dickish behavior, Billy accidently hits a nearby bus with his lightning, causing the bus to crash.
After saving the people he helped put in danger, Thaddeus arrives and the two of them have a beatdown party.
Billy might look like an adult now but he’s still just a 12 year old kid that doesn’t have a full understanding of his powers yet, so Thaddeus beats the living shit out of him.
Billy has to transform into his normal self to get away but Thaddeus notices Freddy who was scolding Shazam after he rescued the people from the bus.
Freddy leads Thaddeus back to the foster house where the sins threaten to kill the kids if Billy doesn’t hand over the Shazam power.
To relinquish the power, he needs the wizard’s staff back at the temple.
They discover Thaddeus is venerable once the sins leave his body, so the trick is to coax them out of him. But to do that, you’ll need 7 fighters with superpowers.
Instead of giving Thaddeus the gift of power, he gives it to the foster kids.
In some perfect casting, adult Freddy is played by Adam Brody who is another actor the kid who played Freddy reminded me of.
The suped up foster kids take on the sins while Billy does his best to get Envy out of Thaddeus. But this is envy, so it wasn’t that hard to manipulate him into leaving.
Now without the sin’s powers to super charge him, Shazam takes Thaddeus out, capturing the rest of the sins in stone.
Now Billy and the rest of the foster kids are the new Council of Seven Wizards.
I won’t talk about the after credits scene only because I have no idea what it even was. Okay, fine! You twisted my arm. A taking evil caterpillar shows up to help free Thaddeus. Don’t know what it meant and I honestly don’t think I care.
It should have been Black Adam related, right?
So that was Shazam!
I really enjoyed this movie. It felt less like a DC film and more like a top tier Marvel movie, unlike even Wonder Woman that felt lesser than the weakest of Marvel’s cinematic universe movies.
Shazam had more of that old school charm to it, like a throwback to the Sam Raimi Spider-Man movies.
It even ended perfectly with Billy showing up as Shazam in the school cafeteria to have lunch with Freddy, even bringing along Superman. Though all we see is the suit.
I give Shazam! a SEE IT rating. It’s really worth checking out.
Next week I’ll be reviewing either Hellboy or something else, wait and see!
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