NOTE: This post originally ran on Robopicto.com — check that site out there is a lot of great stuff.
Welcome to Movie Reviews for Movies I Didn't Want to See! (MIDWTS)
SHAZAM 2019 Action Adventure Comedy
Zachary Levi, Mark Strong
Running Time: WAY too long at 2 HOURS 12 Min!!!
When Billy Batson was 3 or 4 years old he got separated from his young mom at a carnival one day and he never saw her again. Passed off from Foster home to Foster home he's a kid who is heading for trouble. One of the earliest scenes has him locking some cops in a Pawn Shop that he has falsely called in a robbery for so that he can access the cruiser's computer on his quest to reconnect with his mom.
This is the final straw for Billy's orphan overlords so they stick him in a home so diverse it could pass for a Gap ad with loving parents and a bunch of sickly sweet kids who are banding together in their own orphanistic existence. One of them is a crippled kid named Freddy who is easily the best actor in the movie but that's not saying much.
Meanwhile, Dr. Sivana is running an evil organization because as a kid he almost was chosen by the great Wizard Shazam to become Captain Marvel, although apparently because of legal reasons we can't actually call him Captain Marvel in this movie. Anyway Sivana isn't worthy and like any sane person who is rejected he becomes obsessed with finding the secret location of Shazam's underground Batcave so that he can convince the Wizard he was wrong by beating him senseless and stealing his powers.
Now somehow Billy, who we recently saw has broken into a police car and committed a string of other felonies not the least of which is stealing from one of his orphanite pals IS found worthy by Shazam and hilarity ensues, or at least it's supposed to ensue.
If you've ever seen an episode of THE GREATEST AMERICAN HERO which was a lousy TV show in the 1970s which starred Robert Culp and someone who I think is John Ritter only it's not which told the story of a dopey guy who finds a superhero suit complete with powers and then over the course of 14 or so episodes he has to figure out how to use those powers-- and supposed hilarity ensues.
In the 70s we were so desperate for superheroes on even the small screen we were a lot more forgiving. Now we have superheroes all over the place and I wish they'd go away.
Anyway, take Greatest American Hero and combine it with Tom Hanks sickly sweet kid turned into an adult Dramedy BIG and you've got SHAZAM.
Now if we were to compare it to, say, BATMAN VS SUPERMAN which was one of the worst movies of all time, this one is not that bad. But we could also say the food poisoning we got at Super Chinese Buffet was nowhere near as bad as the food poisoning we got at the Vietnamese place next door-- neither one is a ringing endorsement.
SHAZAM is predictable, overly long by about 30 mins and features a villain who has no personality or clear motivation other than he hates his dad. If you're the kind of person who loves watching comic book characters in live action then you'll dig this.
Me? The popcorn was supplied for free in return for my coming along and I mixed in Snowcaps which made the trip almost worth it.
If you'd like to see a good version of Captain Marvel (aka Shazam) check out 1941's Adventure of Captain Marvel-- it's on YouTube and it's actually good.