Runner Review: Shazam is by far the best DCEU movie yet



By Jorge Avila, Opinions Writer

Jorge's rating

Shazam! is the best DC Extended Universe (DCEU) movie yet, purely because it’s really not a DCEU movie at all.  It’s just fun from beginning to end, full of explosive action and a wholesome family-oriented story beating at its center.

What makes Shazam! stand out amongst the myriad of superhero films being released today is its lighthearted and comedic approach to the superhero formula.

Shazam! never takes itself too seriously, choosing instead to focus on the childlike wonder that comes with being a superhero.

Zachary Levi stars as the red-suited superhero, playing the part with an infectious excitement that’s both amusing to watch and believable considering his character’s circumstances. Levi plays the adult version of 15-year old Billy Batson, played by Asher Angel, a foster child who suddenly finds himself in possession of Superman-like powers.  His foster brother, played by Jack Dylan Grazer, serves as a hilarious foil to Billy while also serving to keep the narrative grounded as it escalates into the familiar end-of-the-world territory.

Shazam! is at its weakest when it chooses to follow the well-worn path followed by most of its blockbuster peers.  Any time the plot shifts to villain Thad Sivana (Mark Strong), the movie becomes significantly less engaging, as his scenes are bogged down by common supervillain tropes and campy dialogue that eventually builds to a climactic battle that goes on for way too long.

The best moments come from the interactions between Billy and his brother as they test the limits of Billy’s newfound abilities.  It’s unfortunate when the film forgoes that in favor of effects-filled action sequences.

Overall, the action is still fun to watch and the movie as a whole provides a (mostly) fresh take on the superhero genre.  The film sits at a 90% on review site Rotten Tomatoes with most critics agreeing it’s a crowd-pleasing superhero origin that can be enjoyed by just about everyone.

Matthew Rozsa, a top critic for, describes Shazam! as “the funniest, sweetest and most innocent movie in the DC Extended Universe,” while Joe Morgenstern of the Wall Street Journal claims the movie is “terrific fun” thanks to its lack of “bleakness, darkness and relentless self-seriousness.”

After a slew of underwhelming offerings from the DCEU studio, Shazam! is a welcome addition to the franchise.

The film benefits greatly from its small self-contained story boasting likable characters, a hilarious sense of humor and is easy to get into which makes it an enjoyable to watch regardless of whether you’ve seen any superhero movies or not.