Be­ing a su­per­hero is child’s play in the ri­otous Shazam! Words Jamie Gra­ham

Total Film - - Contents -

Kid and su­per team-up…

Big-meets-Su­per­man is the sell for what will emerge as the sev­enth movie in the DCEU, as fos­ter kid Billy Bat­son (Asher An­gel) is granted the pow­ers to morph into a fully grown su­per­hero when­ever he mut­ters the magic word “Shazam” (the acro­nym of six ‘im­mor­tal el­ders’: Solomon, Her­cules, At­las, Zeus, Achilles and Mer­cury). He will, in time, have some world­sav­ing to do, bat­tling a mys­te­ri­ous arch neme­sis, Dr. Thad­deus Si­vana (Mark Strong), whose mo­tives and back­story are for now be­ing kept un­der wraps. But first Billy and his BFF Freddy Free­man (Jack Dy­lan Grazer) must find out just what pow­ers come with the flashy (lit­er­ally, it lights up) suit. And be­fore even that, there’s a lit­tle some­thing that needs sort­ing out…

“I don’t even know how to pee in this thing!” screeches Billy to Freddy in the trailer, and it was a very real prob­lem that plagued Zachary Levi, play­ing Shazam, on set…

“Hav­ing a su­per­suit was be­yond dope,” en­thuses the 37-year-old ac­tor, who is es­sen­tially an over­grown kid him­self, while at Comic-Con. “But I needed an as­sis­tant to un­zip my crotch area to go num­ber one. And if I needed num­ber two, I had to take the whole damn thing off!”

There have, of course, been glim­mers of hu­mour and heart in the DCEU movies thus far – for all of Bat­man and Su­per­man’s glow­er­ing from frames painted in cloudy greys and stormy blues, we’ve had rays of sun­shine cour­tesy of Won­der Woman, The Flash and Aquaman

– but Shazam! bursts with brio.

“It takes place in the DCEU, so Bat­man, Won­der Woman, Su­per­man, they’re all real,” says di­rec­tor David F. Sand­berg, who’s here up­siz­ing af­ter es­tab­lish­ing his cre­den­tials with low-bud­get hor­rors Lights Out and Annabelle: Cre­ation. “And then you get char­ac­ters like Freddy, who’s a big fan of those real char­ac­ters, and an ex­pert on them. That’s fun to see.”

“It’s light-hearted and not as dark as a nor­mal su­per­hero movie would be,” grins An­gel, while Grazer cuts in to state, “A lot of peo­ple are go­ing to en­joy it.” Levi has rather more to say: his en­ergy level, 24/7, is like a kid who’s scoffed down a sweet shop. “The movie is about op­ti­mism and lev­ity and wish-ful­fil­ment, and it’s per­sonal wish-ful­fil­ment, too, as I, like all chil­dren, grew up wish­ing I could be a su­per­hero of some kind,” he starts.

“I still, to this day, dream that I might wake up and my genes have mu­tated and I can tele­port – I’m not kid­ding. Wouldn’t it be fuck­ing cool to walk through a wall? Well, if there was some­thing good on the other side. There are very few char­ac­ters in all of comic-dom who are su­per-stoked to be su­per-pow­ered; who aren’t sit­ting around, go­ing [low, de­pressed voice], ‘Oh man, I gotta save the world again.’ I’m like [high-pitched, ex­cited voice], ‘Oh my gosh, I get to save the world!’ And Billy learn­ing his pow­ers is hys­ter­i­cal.”

His eyes grow wide, his smile wider. “I get to fuck­ing fly! I mean, c’mon!”

di­rec­tor: DaviD F. SanD­BerG star­ring: Zachary Levi, aSher an­GeL, mark StronG, Jack Dy­Lan GraZer, aDam BroDy, DJi­mon hounSou

eta 5 apriL 2019

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