Shazam!

Shazam!

2019, PG-13, 132 min. Directed by David F. Sandberg. Starring Zachary Levi, Mark Strong, Asher Angel, Jack Dylan Grazer, Djimon Hounsou.

REVIEWED By Matthew Monagle, Fri., April 5, 2019

Proof that the universe has a sense of humor: A week after Zack Snyder made waves by suggesting that his vision of a Batman who shoots people is the most mature take on the character, we are now being treated to Shazam!, a movie explicitly built around our childhood fascination with superheroes. One wonders how the franchise producers manage to make sense of it all.

Ever since he got separated from his mom, Billy Batson (Angel) has spent his childhood running away from one foster home after another. His latest home seems particularly frustrating; he is awkwardly pulled into a large and overly friendly family and immediately becomes the focus of Freddy (Grazer), the antisocial and superhero-obsessed middle child. But when Billy is suddenly gifted with unbelievable powers and can transform into the superhero Shazam (Levi, in a muscle suit)  –  inadvertently becoming the target of would-be supervillain Thaddeus Sivana (Strong) in the process  – he must lean on his new family’s support to save the world. Or at least downtown Philadelphia.

Shazam! is the latest in a series of course corrections for the unwieldy DC cinematic universe, and as such, filmmaker David F. Sandberg (the underwhelming 2016 horror film Lights Out) is given a fair amount of latitude to try some strange and not-altogether-unwelcome things. This is how you get a movie that introduces half its cast via a prolonged Home Alone-esque dinner sequence, but one where an entire boardroom is eaten by raging sin-demons. Surprisingly, this blend of Eighties family comedy and costumed horror holds together for the most part, even at the film’s bloated run time.

What causes the movie to wobble a bit is the performances. Early on, it becomes pretty clear that Angel and Levi are not exactly aligned in their performances. Angel’s Billy acts and feels older than Levi’s version of the character, a decision likely coming from a thoughtful place  –  that superheroes offer kids of any age a chance at carefree wish fulfillment  –  but one that the two actors never seem to internalize. Levi leans so hard into the physical comedy of Shazam that you sometimes forget the main character is one soul across two bodies. Perhaps this is another reason why Penny Marshall’s Big, a frequent touch point for this movie, works better as a comedy: You are not asked to compare performances between scenes.

As with most superhero movies, Shazam! is also as much a harbinger of sequels to come as it is a stand-alone film. This, surprisingly, is where Sandberg’s film shows the most promise. There’s a moment in the final act  –  wedged within the soupy fight scenes that are the closest thing Warner Bros. has to a house style  – where the adult Billy stops to comfort a young girl terrified by the chaos. “Close your eyes,” he says with a smile. “Everything is going to be OK.” In that moment, Shazam! understands that heroes are formed as much in the small moments as they are in the grand gestures. We’ve come a long way from a murderous Superman.

Showtimes

Mon., April 22

12:50, 2:45, 6:00, 9:15

Tue., April 23

2:45, 6:00, 9:15
AFA 12:50

Wed., April 24

12:50, 2:45, 6:00, 9:15

Mon., April 22

11:45am, 3:00, 6:15, 9:35

Tue., April 23

3:00, 6:15, 9:35
AFA 11:45am

Wed., April 24

12:05, 2:55, 6:15, 9:35

Alamo Drafthouse Slaughter Lane

5701 W. Slaughter, 512/861-7060, drafthouse.com/austin/theater/slaughter-lane

Showtimes at this venue are subject to frequent change. Please confirm daily times by phone or website.

Mon., April 22

12:00, 3:25, 6:45, 10:00

Tue., April 23

3:25, 6:45, 10:05
AFA 12:00

Wed., April 24

12:00, 3:25, 6:45, 10:05

Mon., April 22

12:40, 4:10, 7:20, 10:15

Tue., April 23

3:30, 7:00, 10:15
AFA 12:00

Wed., April 24

11:45am, 3:15, 6:00, 9:10

Alamo Drafthouse Village

2700 W. Anderson #701, 512/861-7030, www.drafthouse.com/austin/theater/village

Tuesday matinee Baby Day shows (first show of the day) are intended for parents and their children younger than 6. Showtimes at this venue are subject to frequent change. Please confirm daily times by phone or website.

Mon., April 22

11:30am, 2:45, 6:00, 9:20

Tue., April 23

3:10, 6:30, 9:45
AFA 11:55am

Wed., April 24

12:25, 3:45, 7:00, 9:15

Barton Creek Square (AMC)

2901 South Capital of Texas Hwy, 512/306-1991, www.amctheatres.com

Matinee discounts available before 4pm daily. Bring Your Baby matinees the first Tuesday of every month.

Mon., April 22

CC/DVS 10:20am, 1:20, 4:20, 7:20

Tue., April 23

CC/DVS 10:20am, 1:20, 3:40, 4:20, 7:20

Wed., April 24

CC/DVS 10:20am, 1:20, 4:20, 7:20

Thu., April 25

CC/DVS 10:40am, 1:40

Cinemark 20 and XD

N. I-35 & FM 1825, 512/989-8535

Cost for 3-D and XD shows is regular ticket price plus a premium.

Mon., April 22

1:20, 4:30, 7:40, 10:50
digital 11:55am, 1:20, 3:05, 4:30, 7:40, 9:25, 10:50

Tue., April 23

1:20, 4:30, 7:40, 10:50
digital 11:55am, 1:20, 3:05, 4:30, 6:15, 7:40, 9:25, 10:50

Wed., April 24

1:20, 4:30, 7:40, 10:50
digital 11:55am, 1:20, 3:15, 4:30, 7:40, 10:05, 10:50

Cinemark Cedar Park

1335 E. Whitestone, Cedar Park, 800/326-3264

Call theatre for complete list of movies and showtimes.

Mon., April 22

digital 9:20am, 12:50, 3:55, 7:10, 10:40

Tue., April 23

digital 12:50, 3:55, 7:10, 10:40

Wed., April 24

digital 12:50, 3:55, 7:10, 10:40

Mon., April 22

digital 11:55am, 3:15, 6:25, 9:50

Tue., April 23

digital 11:55am, 3:15, 6:25, 9:50

Wed., April 24

digital 11:55am, 3:15, 6:25, 9:50

Cinemark Round Rock

4401 N. I-35, Round Rock, 800/326-3264

Cost for 3-D shows is regular ticket price plus a $3.50 premium. Call theatre for complete March 26-28 showtimes.

Mon., April 22

digital 1:15, 4:20, 7:30, 10:35

Tue., April 23

digital 1:15, 4:20, 7:30, 10:35

Wed., April 24

digital 1:15, 4:20, 7:30, 10:35

Cinemark Southpark Meadows

9900 S. I-35, 800/326-3264

Cost for 3-D shows is regular ticket price plus a $3.50 premium.

Mon., April 22

digital 10:00am, 1:00, 4:00, 7:00, 10:05

Tue., April 23

digital 10:00am, 1:00, 4:00, 7:00, 10:05

Wed., April 24

digital 10:00am, 1:00, 4:00, 7:00, 10:05

City Lights Theatre

420 Wolf Ranch Parkway, Georgetown, 512/868-9922

Mon., April 22

12:55, 3:55, 7:05, 10:10

Tue., April 23

12:55, 3:55, 7:05, 10:10

Wed., April 24

12:55, 3:55, 7:05, 10:10

EVO Entertainment

3200 Kyle Crossing, Kyle, 512/523-9009, www.evo-entertainment.com

Mon., April 22

10:00am, 1:10, 4:20, 7:30, 10:45

Tue., April 23

10:00am, 1:10, 4:20, 7:30, 10:45

Wed., April 24

10:00am, 1:10, 4:20, 7:30, 10:45

Flix Brewhouse

2200 S. I-35, Round Rock, 512/244-3549, www.flixbrewhouse.com/round-rock

Mon., April 22

CC 12:00, 2:00, 3:30, 5:30, 7:00, 9:00

Tue., April 23

CC 12:00, 2:00, 3:30, 7:00, 9:15

Wed., April 24

CC 12:00, 2:00, 3:30, 5:30, 7:00, 9:00

Thu., April 25

CC 11:15am, 2:30

Galaxy Highland 10

6700 Middle Fiskville, 512/467-7305, www.galaxytheatres.com

No one under 18 will be allowed in the theatre on Friday or Saturday after 7pm without an adult.

Mon., April 22

CC 12:00, 1:00, 3:15, 4:10, 6:45, 7:25, 10:00, 10:30

Tue., April 23

CC 12:00, 1:00, 3:15, 4:10, 6:45, 7:25, 10:00, 10:30

Wed., April 24

CC 12:00, 2:50, 3:15, 10:00, 10:30

Gateway Theatre

9700 Stonelake, 512/416-5700

Discounts daily before 6pm. Cost for 3-D shows is regular ticket price plus a $3.50 premium.

Mon., April 22

CC/DVS 12:20, 3:30, 6:35, 9:45

Tue., April 23

CC/DVS 12:20, 3:30, 6:35, 9:45

Wed., April 24

CC/DVS 12:20, 3:30, 6:35, 9:45

Hometown Cinemas

120 MLK Jr. Industrial Blvd. W, Lockhart, 512/398-4100, www.hometowncinemas.com

Mon., April 22

12:05, 3:25, 7:05

Tue., April 23

12:05, 3:25, 7:05

Wed., April 24

12:05, 3:25, 7:05

Thu., April 25

12:05, 3:25, 7:05

iPic Theaters Austin

3225 Amy Donovan Plaza, 512/568-3400, www.ipic.com

Mon., April 22

11:15am, 2:35, 6:30, 10:00

Tue., April 23

11:15am, 2:35, 6:30, 10:00

Wed., April 24

11:15am, 2:35, 6:30, 10:00

AMC Lakeline 9

11200 Lakeline Mall Dr., Cedar Park, 512/335-4793

Discounts daily before 6pm.

Mon., April 22

3-D, CC/DVS 7:00
CC/DVS 4:00

Tue., April 23

3-D, CC/DVS 7:00
CC/DVS 4:00

Wed., April 24

3-D, CC/DVS 7:00
CC/DVS 4:00

Metropolitan

901 Little Texas, 512/447-0101

Discounts daily before 6pm. Cost for 3-D shows is regular ticket price plus a $3.50 premium.

Mon., April 22

CC/DVS 12:15, 3:25, 6:35, 9:45

Tue., April 23

CC/DVS 12:15, 3:25, 6:35, 9:45

Wed., April 24

CC/DVS 12:15, 3:25, 6:35, 9:45

Moviehouse & Eatery

8300 N. FM 620, Bldg. B, 512/501-3520, www.themoviehouse.com/trails/

Mon., April 22

11:30am, 3:00, 6:30, 9:55

Tue., April 23

11:30am, 3:00, 6:30, 9:55

Wed., April 24

12:15, 3:45, 7:00

Thu., April 25

11:30am, 3:00, 11:10

Moviehouse & Eatery - Lantana Place

7415 Southwest Parkway, Building 7, 512/572-0770, www.themoviehouse.com/lantana/

Mon., April 22

11:30am, 3:00, 6:30, 10:00

Tue., April 23

11:30am, 3:00, 6:30, 10:00

Wed., April 24

11:30am, 3:00, 6:30, 10:00

Thu., April 25

10:15am, 4:35

Schulman Theatres Lost Pines 8

1600 Chestnut St, Bastrop, 512/321-0123, www.schulmantheatres.com

Mon., April 22

9:50am, 1:00, 4:10, 7:20, 10:35

Tue., April 23

9:50am, 1:00, 4:10, 7:20, 10:35

Wed., April 24

9:50am, 1:00, 4:10, 7:20, 10:35

ShowBiz Cinemas 8 Marble Falls

2600 Hwy 281 North, Marble Falls

Call theatre for August 22-23 showtimes.

Mon., April 22

2:40, 6:30

Tue., April 23

2:40, 6:30

Wed., April 24

2:40, 6:30

Sky Cinemas

13201 US-290, 512/457-0700, www.skycinemas.com

Mon., April 22

12:00, 3:00, 4:20, 6:50, 8:30

Tue., April 23

12:00, 3:00, 4:20, 6:50, 8:30

Wed., April 24

12:00, 3:00, 4:20, 6:50, 8:30

Mon., April 22

3:45, 6:45, 10:00

Tue., April 23

3:45, 6:45, 10:00

Wed., April 24

3:45, 6:45, 9:35

Starplex 12 San Marcos

1250 Wonder World Drive, San Marcos, 512/805-8000

Mon., April 22

1:00, 4:00, 7:00, 10:00

Tue., April 23

1:00, 4:00, 7:00, 10:00

Wed., April 24

1:00, 4:00, 7:00, 10:00

Thu., April 25

1:00, 4:00, 7:00, 10:00

Westgate 11

4477 S. Lamar, 512/899-2717

Discounts daily before 6pm. Cost for 3-D shows is regular ticket price plus a $3.50 premium.

Mon., April 22

CC/DVS 1:00, 4:00, 7:20, 9:50

Tue., April 23

CC/DVS 1:00, 4:00, 7:20, 9:50

Wed., April 24

CC/DVS 1:00, 4:00, 7:20, 10:05

Thu., April 25

CC/DVS 12:00, 3:00, 7:05, 10:55

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS FILM

Shazam!, David F. Sandberg, Zachary Levi, Mark Strong, Asher Angel, Jack Dylan Grazer, Djimon Hounsou

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