Meet DC’S Shazam, a teenager-turned-su­per­hero de­ter­mined to have fun

Empire (Australasia) - - CONTENTS - BEN TRAVIS

The film about a young boy who turns into Cap­tain Marvel. Not that Cap­tain Marvel. This isn’t even a Marvel film. Con­fused? You will be!

DARK. BROOD­ING. GRITTY. All words you’d nor­mally as­so­ciate with DC Ex­tended Uni­verse films (Man Of Steel, Bat­man v Su­per­man, Sui­cide Squad), all set to bounce off Shazam! like bul­lets ping­ing off its hero. The first trailer for David F. Sand­berg’s movie, un­veiled at San Diego Comic-con in July, showed off a much breezier side to the su­per­hero sta­ble, with its magic-chan­nelling hero charg­ing peo­ple’s phones us­ing his pow­ers, strid­ing out of a gro­cery shop with arm­fuls of snacks, and do­ing the floss dance. Try to pic­ture Bat­fleck do­ing any of that.

While he ex­ists in the same world as Bat­man, Won­der Woman and co, Shazam is un­like any other DC char­ac­ter. Be­hind the hero moniker he’s re­ally Philadel­phi­abased fos­ter kid Billy Bat­son (Asher An­gel), who by ut­ter­ing that magic word, “Shazam!”, trans­forms into the body of an adult su­per­hero — in this case, Zachary Levi. “It’s wish ful­fil­ment on the high­est level,” Levi tells Em­pire, sound­ing not un­like an overex­cited teen him­self. “It’s pretty frig­gin’ awe­some, man.”

Where Su­per­man and Won­der Woman have had years to hone their skills, Billy must ex­per­i­ment to dis­cover his six abil­i­ties (the name is an acro­nym for the wis­dom of Solomon, the strength of Her­cules, the stamina of At­las, the power of Zeus, the courage of Achilles and the speed of Mer­cury). “He doesn’t get a man­ual, so he has to find out how pow­er­ful he is,” di­rec­tor Sand­berg says — and then he drops the F-bomb, the word you’d strug­gle to ap­ply to most DCEU movies so far. “There’s a lot of fun to be had with that.” Fun — it’s the su­per­power that could prove more valu­able than the rest of Shazam’s abil­i­ties com­bined.


Above: Zachary Levi’s Shazam with Jack Dy­lan Grazer as Fred­die. Here: The vil­lain­ous Dr Thad­deus Si­vana (Mark Strong). Em­pire spoke to Zachary Levi and di­rec­tor David F. Sand­berg on 3 April.

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