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MOVIE REVIEW

Shazam!

also known as “¡Shazam!,” «Шазам!»
MPAA Rating: PG-13-Rating (MPAA) for intense sequences of action, language, and suggestive material.

Reviewed by: Samiatu Dosunmu
CONTRIBUTOR

Very Offensive
Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
• Adults • Young-Adults (NOT appropriate for kids)
Genre:
Superhero Fantasy Action Adventure Comedy
Length:
2 hr. 12 min.
Year of Release:
2019
USA Release:
April 5, 2019 (wide—4,217 theaters)
Copyright, New Line Cinema, division of Warner Bros. Pictures click photos to ENLARGE Copyright, New Line Cinema, division of Warner Bros. Pictures Copyright, New Line Cinema, division of Warner Bros. Pictures Copyright, New Line Cinema, division of Warner Bros. Pictures Copyright, New Line Cinema, division of Warner Bros. Pictures Copyright, New Line Cinema, division of Warner Bros. Pictures
Relevant Issues
Copyright, New Line Cinema, division of Warner Bros. Pictures

What is the Occult? Answer

THE OCCULT—What does the Bible say about it? Answer

About magic and magicians mentioned in the Bible

Enchantments and sorcerers

What are DEMONS? Answer

Who is SATAN, the enemy of God and all people? Answer

Is Satan a real person that influences our world today? Is he affecting you? Answer


Teen Qs™—Christian Answers for teenagers
Teens! Have questions? Find answers in our popular TeenQs section. Get answers to your questions about life, dating and much more.
Copyright, New Line Cinema, division of Warner Bros. Pictures

What does it mean to be a true HERO?

Learn about true goodness and righteousness

Good works


About ORPHANS and the Bible

Copyright, New Line Cinema, division of Warner Bros. Pictures Copyright, New Line Cinema, division of Warner Bros. Pictures Copyright, New Line Cinema, division of Warner Bros. Pictures
Featuring: Zachary LeviShazam / William “Billy” Batson
Michelle BorthMary Shazam
Djimon HounsouThe Wizard Shazam
Mark StrongDr. Thaddeus Sivana
Jack Dylan GrazerFreddy Freeman
Asher AngelBilly Batson
Marta MilansRosa Vasquez
Meagan GoodDarla Dudley (Adult)
Grace FultonMary Bromfield
Adam BrodyFrederick “Freddy” Freeman
Ross ButlerEugene Choi
John Glover
Caroline PalmerBilly’s Mom
Faithe HermanDarla Dudley
See all »
Director: David F. Sandberg—“Annabelle: Creation” (2017), “Lights Out” (2016)
Producer: Warner Bros.
DC Entertainment
DC Comics
See all »
Distributor: Distributor: Warner Brothers Pictures. Trademark logo.
Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company
Editor’s Note: SHAZAM is an acronym using the names of the “gods” that give Billy his powers:
  • Solomon - Wisdom
  • Hercules - Strength
  • Atlas - Stamina
  • Zeus - Power
  • Achilles - Courage
  • Mercury - Speed

In 1974 New York, young Thaddeus Sivana (Ethan Pugiotto) is magically transported to the Rock of Eternity, a magical temple hidden in another dimension, by the ancient wizard Shazam. Shazam explains that he has spent centuries searching for a new champion who is “pure of heart,” after his first one turned evil and unleashed the SEVEN DEADLY SINS upon the ancient world. The Sins, now trapped in statues within the Rock, and their powers, contained in an orb called the EYE OF SIN, tempt Thaddeus with promises of power.

Unable to resist the demon’s beaconing, Thaddeus nearly touches the orb. The ancient wizard, deeming him an unworthy champion, banishes Thaddeus back to Earth.

In the present, a Philadelphian foster kid named Billy Batson (Asher Angel) purposefully breaks the law in an attempt to gain access to a police database to locate the address of his biological mother (Caroline Palmer). Years earlier, he got lost in the crowd at a carnival; his mother never came to find him. Billy is placed in a group home run by Victor and Rosa Vazquez, who have five other foster kids: Mary Bromfield (Grace Fulton), Pedro Peña (Jovan Armand), Eugene Choi (Ian Chen), Darla Dudley (Faithe Herman), and Freddy Freeman (Jack Dylan Grazer).

Billy does not warm up to his new family, as he is still intent on looking for his biological mother.

Elsewhere, a now adult and doctor Thaddeus Sivana (Mark Strong) pieces together the testimonies of other people who were abducted and rejected by the wizard Shazam and returns to the Rock of Eternity. Filled with vengeance, he absorbs the energy of the EYE OF SIN, allowing the seven deadly sins to possess and control his body.

When the now frail wizard Shazam tries to stop him, he overpowers and nearly kills him. Using his new powers, Dr. Sivana exacts revenge on his father (John Glover) and brother Sid (Wayne Ward) by unleashing the SEVEN DEADLY SINS during a board meeting and commands them to murder everyone, including his father and brother.

While running into a subway to escape bullies, Billy is abducted and summoned by the now dying wizard Shazam. Chosen by the dying wizard as the champion, Billy is transformed into an adult with super-strength, speed, stamina, durability and lightning powers. Before turning to dust, the wizard Shazam warns him that the only way to defeat the SEVEN DEADLY SINS is by unlocking his greatest power. By saying “Shazam!” Billy can change back and forth between teenager and adult superhero.

Billy sets out to discover his powers with the help of Freddy; he becomes reckless and nearly kills passengers on a bus. While bringing the bus to safety, he catches the attention of Dr. Sivana, whose appetite for power increases after seeing what Shazam can do. Through a series of violent confrontations, Billy/Shazam (Asher Angel / Zachary Levi) learn that the power and strength that lies in family may be the only way to defeat Dr. Sivana and the seven deadly sins.

Spiritual Issues

The major spiritual issue is the repeated reference to and worship of the occult, involving the seven deadly sins. The origin of this ideology derives from Catholicism. According to Catholic theology, the seven deadly sins are seven vices (or negative character qualities) that, left unchecked, result in a host of other sins and, eventually, the death of a person’s soul. For those unfamiliar, the seven deadly sins are:

  • Pride—An inflated, unrealistic sense of your self-worth.

  • Envy—The feeling that you deserve the possessions, success, virtues, or talents of another person.

  • Gluttony—An excessive desire for the pleasure of eating and drinking.

  • Lust—A selfish focus on sex or a desire to have sexual pleasure with someone other than your spouse.

  • Anger—An excessive, improper desire to exact revenge.

  • Greed—A strong desire for possessions, especially for possessions belonging to another.

  • Sloth—Lack of effort in the face of a necessary task, causing it to go undone (or done badly).

The Sins have consumed Dr. Sivana, so that he has total disregard for human life and exhibits psychopathic behavior in his wrath. This is evident when he allows anger to fuel his contempt for his father and brother during their confrontation in the boardroom. Dr. Sivana throws his brother out the window of a tall building before unleashing the demonic forms of the sins to murder the remaining people in the room. In his confrontations with Shazam (Asher Angel / Zachary Levi) he unleashes the seven deadly sins on innocent bystanders as a form of exercising control. However, after Shazam uncovers his greatest power, he fights Sivana.

The Bible never refers to certain sins that are dishonoring to God as the deadly sins. Rather, it is stated in Proverbs 6:16-19,

“There are six things that the LORD hates, seven that are an abomination to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers.”

This list can be used to categorize the many sins that exist. Romans 6:23 suggests that no sin is more deadly than another:

“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” —NASB

Moviemaking quality

The movie quality is average. But I found the heavy presence and emphasis of the occult to be a major distraction in finding the positive in this film. The demonic form of the SEVEN DEADLY SINS is too disturbing and, as such, I do not recommend this film.

Aside from the heavy references to the occult, the movie lacks sufficient content.

  • Occult: Very Heavy to Extreme
  • Violence: Heavy
  • Profane language: Moderately Heavy— • J*sus Chr*st • “Oh my G*d” (10) • G*d • H*ll (3)
  • Vulgar/Crude language: Moderately Heavy— • f-words (4—bleeped) • sh*t-hole • other s-words (4) • pervy • “s*cks b*lls” • s*cks • d*ck • “Lay your hand on my staff” (In context, this phrase insinuates a sexual reference. The real meaning was that the ailing wizard Shazam asked Billy to lay his hand on his rod or walking stick which housed his power.) • Scr*w • b**bies • a** (4) • cr*p • d*uche-bags • p**
  • Sex: • strip club scenes • suggestive material
  • Nudity: None

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.


Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Comments below:
Positive
Positive—Tired of the Superhero movies with no sense of humor? Tired of seeing grown men flying around in underwear and acting like they are in a hyper drama? “Shazam!” is an old school Superhero movie with humor and charm.

There are some caveats of course. There is some language, pagan Greek influences, magic, and violence, but overall Shazam! (the original Captain Marvel) is a refreshing change from the current crop of Superhero films. It harkens back to the Superheroes of old.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
Dr. David, age Oldish (USA)
Positive—Shazam may be one of the few films in the DCEU that truly delivers. It’s funny, entertaining, and full of 80s references (e.g. The films “Rocky” and “Big”). The film is unique in the sense that it goes meta and subverts common tropes found in superhero movies and comic books while planting “Easter Eggs” of popular DC superheroes throughout the movie like hidden Mickeys (but less subtle).

While not as good as “Wonder Woman” or any of the blockbusters from the rival MCU, “Shazam!” carries itself well without being too predictable. It was also refreshing to see Zachary Levi… in a leading role (in a very long time).

Unfortunately, while the film has strong themes of loyalty, family, and heroism, there are negatively spiritual elements in the sense of dark themes and some inappropriate content.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
Shannon, age 37 (USA)
Positive—Pretty good movie, marking a big change in pace with DC Entertainment from dark and gritty to light. The actors did a good job. I like Zachary Levi; he was good in the TV Show “Chuck.”

Pretty true to comics, though where initially Billy Batson started with a heart of gold in comics, this one didn’t, more like a typical angsty movie teen. He does learn, though, and change to become a better person, as he discovers the importance of family. Family is one of the key themes of the movie, which did it fairly well. Just, predictable and with a “haven’t I seen this before?” aire. See all »
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 3½
David Pyle, age 55 (USA)
Positive—When I watched the film and all the demons appeared, I knew immediately that it would be polarising to a Christian audience, and rightfully so. Let me state how I felt about this aspect of the film.

The demons represent the seven deadly sins. Although not specifically biblical, the concept of the sins are no less Christian. The villain, Sivana, played by Mark Strong has allowed himself to be consumed by bitterness and resentment, due to constantly being mocked and belittled by his father and brother. Rather than rising above his negative feelings, he allows darkness and vengeance to consume him, thus letting himself be possessed by the demons. Isn’t that exactly what happens when we allow unforgiveness into our hearts? We might not be possessed by literal demons, but we do get filled with sin, turning us away from God.

Also I haven’t seen much mention of the foster family, who display a lot of Christian values. Though not explicitly stated, I do believe that they are Christians—don’t they say Grace before meals?

So yeah, overall, I enjoyed the film, and it is definitely one of the DC Cinematic Universe’s stronger films.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½
Strachan Coutinho, age 31 (United Kingdom)
Neutral
Neutral—This film is not for kids! The Villain in this film manifests demons which can be very frightening. My 3 kids—aged 5-13—all wanted to leave. Yes, there is comedy and action, but please be aware that kids may have nightmares from this. Very unexpected as the trailer showed none of this.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4½
Scott Janzen (Canada)
Negative
Negative—Negative!!! While this movie had some very funny moments, it had equally if not more intense and gruesome evil ones. NOT for children under 14, in my opinion. There are not just “bad men” in this movie, but evil, horrid creatures doing awful things that will give nightmares. This movie has gotten so many good reviews, somehow, and is presented as the best and most funny super hero movie, but beware, beware, beware, it is scary.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Extremely Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4
Patty, age 59 (USA)
Negative—Candy coated evil. Inferences of demon possession and overcoming evil spiritual powers with the hero empowered by a wizard powers. The CGI graphics of demons (wicked creatures) are so realistic that they could evoke nightmares. The demons are named: lust, pride, envy, gluttony, sloth and greed. These are the truthful names of evil presence in the world. They inhabit the villain and empower him.

I have to repent for watching this garbage. If you count on the credibility of the testimonies found on this website, trust me and go watch PureFlix for your entertainment. This movie should NOT be watched by any age viewer. I challenge you to disagree. Movie trailers are deceptive tempters.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Extremely Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 3
Tom, age 57 (Canada)
Negative—I took a friend to see, well attempt to see “Shazam!”.

My first mistake was allowing my review of the film to come from secular sources. This was foolishness on my part. I had saw the animated version some years back and do not recall it being anywhere near this Dark!! I was of the world, so I could just be mis-remembering, but I doubt it. This thing was Dark!!!…

One demon bit someone’s head and then tossed them out the window. The demon possessed villain, tossed his brother out a high rise window. Why did he do this? Anger he felt at what his brother did to him when they were kids decades ago while they were in the car with their father.

Way before this scene, the villain got his power by being possessed of all 7 “Deadly Sins.” The normal game of these comic book movies is to use things out of the Greek gods mythology, in this case they used the names of Greek gods, but the demons had a purely Satanic look to them. They did not think it was enough to support worship of multiple gods in the movie; they had to add in Satanic worship, as well. I do not know who wrote or imagined this garbage, but it’s hard to imagine how one comes up with such filth and not be under full possession. To my shame, I did not do enough pre homework. I trusted Hollysatanica to put out a wholesome move every now and then. And this was my fault. I should have done what I usually do and vet the movie fully. I failed myself, my friend, and the Lord.

You should not support the hand of the evil doer, and you should also make sure anyone in your circle is aware of this dark, Satanic garbage that pushes itself off as a PG-13 flick. We walked out in the middle of this cr** greatly troubled by what we were seeing. I even asked for a refund and got two vouchers instead. When will a movie worth using those vouchers on hit theaters again? Who knows.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Extremely Offensive / Moviemaking quality: no opinion
Jamael, age 46 (USA)
Negative—Based on the trailer, my brother (21) and I were super excited for this movie. It looked much funnier than DC’s typical cinematic fare, and we, being big Marvel fans, were hoping for a nice light sitcom vibe.

First, the positives: the characters were great, Zachary Levi is a joy to watch, and all the child actors were wonderful and endearing. The foster family felt real and loving. The comedy was genuinely hilarious. Overall, the good parts were extremely good… which is why I am so disappointed that DC decided to juxtapose their lightest fare with such a dark, evil, slimy-feeling plot.

We ended up walking out of the theater about an hour into the movie, when (spoiler) the villain of the story summons the “7 deadly sins” (basically demons) that have possessed him, bidding them to murder his family and a roomful of presumably innocent corporate executives. This was shown messily and at length, and it honestly wasn’t worth the very funny moments that came earlier in the film, and presumably continued after.

That was the breaking point, but I do have to say that I started feeling uneasy at the very beginning of the movie, when the villain’s childhood origin story is initially shown set to “Do You Hear What I Hear?” in the background. It seemed blasphemous to use that song’s lyrics to foreshadow the plot of this movie, which is, of course, about a child being given great power to save people.

And the villain’s backstory, itself, is horrifying. A young boy, apparently constantly abused by his father and older brother, is briefly plucked out of his world and told by a wizard that he can be a hero and do great things, IF he’s only pure enough of heart to deserve the powers of the seven Greek gods, blah blah blah, insert offensive comic book pseudo-religion with occultic-looking symbols here.

The boy is then tempted by demons—sorry, the seven deadly sins—who tell him that they can give him great power if he ignores the wizard and sets them free… and because this abused, powerless child is tempted, the wizard tells him he isn’t good enough and hurls him back into his own world, where he promptly undergoes a traumatizing car crash and is BLAMED FOR IT by his family.

This whole mess is not framed in a moral way—we’re supposed to be on the side of the wizard, and we’re only supposed to sympathize with the villain insofar as to be somewhat satisfied when he later murders his horrid father and brother. (People were laughing at that in the theater as we walked out.) Obviously verbal abuse doesn’t justify cold-blooded murder; I found this setup deeply disturbing, beyond what the film acknowledges or wants you to feel.

I obviously didn’t see this entire movie, but, based on what I did see, I would strongly advise parents NOT to take their children to see it, at least without screening it first. I’m sure there were a lot more funny scenes and heartwarming family moments after we left, but nothing in the last half of the film could have redeemed what was shown in the first. I have not been this surprised and disappointed by a film in a long time.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Very Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4
Tara, age 24 (USA)

PLEASE share your observations and insights to be posted here.

Secular Movie Critics
…A mixed bag that doesn’t quite work—it’s too jokey, and too tonally erratic—and yet there’s real sweetness, as well as a genuine attempt to not just be another comic-book movie. …
Tim Grierson, Screen Daily
…The two-hour-plus running time breezes by in a well-paced adventure that mines familiar comic-book tropes for laughs. …
Kerry Lengel, The Arizona Republic
…“The only thing that destroys magic,” says Thad Sivana (Mark Strong), the power obsessed super villain, holding our hero high above Philadelphia, “is magic.” Actually, the only thing that destroys magic is “Shazam!” …seriously underwritten characters and hammy acting… [1/4]
Oliver Jones, Observer
…The final result isn’t a knock-out… but it’s definitely entertaining. A lot of that success stems from the comedic rapport between Levi and Grazer… the chosen one is but a fourteen-year-old delinquent enjoying the escapism of what those powers gain him via popularity and young Billy doesn’t need an archenemy because his own greed and vanity is the worst foe he could ever defeat. …
Jared Mobarak, The Film Stage
…If only “Shazam!” were…a sign of something new and exciting to come. It’s not. It is, despite its surprisingly gruesome violence, little more than another superhero movie that will make more money than the GDP of a small island nation. It’s pretty good. …
Dom Sinacola, Paste
…The filmmakers were going for (and mostly achieve) the 1980s Amblin Entertainment feel of a movie out to have an unpretentious good time — a welcome throwback to days before comic books movies became gargantuan and grim.…
Gary Thompson, Philadelphia Daily News
…It’s a film in need of a tighter edit with a script in need of a sharper polish, an imperfect franchise-launcher that nonetheless represents significant progress for DC…
Benjamin Lee, The Guardian [Uk]
…a nuanced, funny script, a richly developed surrogate family, a visual appreciation of Philadelphia and its heroic Rocky iconography, and not one but two expert jokes involving a strip club…
Joshua Rothkopf, Time Out Chicago
…There is no weight to the new Shazam, nor to his eponymous blockbuster movie vehicle, stylized as “Shazam!”. …“Shazam!” amounts to hollow toys smashing against other hollow toys…
John Semley, The Globe and Mail (Toronto)