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Shazam!


After being burned so many times by ponderous, boring and heavy DC films (I'm talking about you BvS) I was hesitant to even give SHAZAM a chance.

I was wrong, this one's an enjoyable, perfectly cast blast.

Like "Big" with a cape, its the perfect blend of laughs, exciting actions scenes, a terrific villain with a cadre of nasty creature backup and super leads.

Asher Angel stars as Billy Batson, a young teen shuffled from foster home to foster home and not thrilled when he lands at another group home that seems a bit happy for his tastes.

Freddy is also at the home, outgoing, funny and eager to befriend him. Freddy (Jack Dylan Grazer from "It") is shocked when Billy shows up in the grown up, muscular form of Shazam, through storytelling too fun to spoil here.

Zachary Levi (Chuck, Thor: The Dark World) plays Shazam/Billy with the perfect blend of teenage awkward physicality in his new superhero body, generating big laughs as he discovers his powers.

Grazer and Levi have a great bond and both have hilarious chemistry. Their bond is tested when our terrific villain Dr. Sivana (Mark Strong) arrives on Earth, demanding that Shazam transfer all his powers to him.

Strong has always shown great comic and action chops in films like "Kingsman" and the "The Brothers Grimsby" but this is his best role, straddling the line between sharp comic timing and CGI powered menace.

Faithe Herman (This Is Us) is charming as a family-hungry young girl at the group home as is Ian Chen (Fresh Off The Boat).

As Silvana unleashes beastly versions of the Seven Deadly Sins (clever concept, well executed) the danger grows and Billy/Shazam is forced to discover a lot about himself.

The lessons are never forced, but enjoyable as hell to watch, even when you see them coming from the distance.

There are fun references to "Big", "Rocky", Tim Burton's "Batman" and "Annabelle".

The closing scene is the perfect blend of humor and good storytelling, two traits that most of the DC films have sorely lacked.

I always loved Levi as "Chuck" on the comedy/action series that ran 2007-2012 on NBC. His "fish out of water" reactions were always world class. They're even better now.

SHAZAM is laugh-out-loud funny, exciting and loaded with great action along with strong messages on the power of family.

It gets an A. Ready for Shazam 2...just say the word Captain Sparklefingers....

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