Cinema review - Shazam! (4 out of 5)
It may have taken a while, but DC appears to be finally on track rather than just lagging well behind the Marvel franchise.
The DC movies only really got going properly with the arrival of Wonder Woman in 2017, a year after the disappointing Batman v Superman.
And it was a bit of a surprise that for their latest superhero they choose Shazam!
He may have been a big favourite in the 1940s but hasn’t really found much favour in recent years.
But, in fact, it was a stroke of genius.
Shazam! has the right mix of humour and thrills with some excellent performances.
The story follows teenager Billy Batson (Asher Angel) who has had a troubled life and ends up in a foster home with a bunch of other youngsters.
However, dark forces are conspiring to wreak havoc on the world and Billy ends up being the ‘chosen one’. The latest person to hold the title of Shazam!
Shouting out the name turns him into an adult with amazing powers to rival Superman.
But it’s still 14-year-old Billy inside.
Cue lots of fun as the superhero tries to discover his powers and keep his identity secret.
Meanwhile, Dr Thaddeus Sivana (Mark Strong) is out to unlock the magical mysteries that involve Shazam!
Billy’s ‘voyage’ as he finds out who his real friends are and realises the strength that a family environment brings is well thought out.
Zachary Levi is excellent as Shazam! and you really can believe this is young Billy in a grown-up body.
We wait to see how the DC universe maps out in future but this is certainly makes me optimistic for the future.
Film details: Shazam! (12A) 132mins
Director: David F. Sandberg
Starring: Zachary Levi, Djimon Hounsou, Mark Strong
Screening courtesy of Crawley Cineworld.