If you have a little one who is superhero obsessed, chances are, you've seen or heard about Warner Bros. new movie Shazam, based on the DC Comics character. Starring Zachary Levi as the super Shazam, the film is coming out this weekend. But for many parents, the question remains, is this something that is appropriate for a younger audience? Moms got the chance to see an early screening of the film, and we have all the scoop.
Shazam is the story of Billy Batson, a teenage boy who is searching for the family he lost as a toddler. After running away from over 20 foster homes, he finds himself in a group home run two former foster kids who are now married. The other kids are a lovable group of misfits who are more willing to welcome Billy than he is willing to be welcomed. But after defending Freddie, one of his foster "brothers" in a fight against bullies, he is transported into the underground home of a centuries old wizard who finds him to be "pure of heart" and deems him "the champion." Suddenly, Billy is an adult superhero named Shazam. But at the same time, he's still just a teenage boy with a new set of baggage and no way of knowing how to navigate it.
This is probably not the movie for kids under 10. Maybe even kids under 7, if they've seen other superhero movies. While it is funny and not overly graphic, it does have some elements that younger kids might be uncomfortable with. One of the major plot points is that the villain is sent to unleash the seven deadly sins on the world. These sins are embodied by stone statues, but the statues do come to life several times.
During a scene where Dr. Sivana (the villain) releases them on his unsuspecting family members during a board meeting, it gets to be a little overwhelming. It's the first time you see them in action. In their physical form, they look like demons, with talons and multiple rows of teeth and tentacles, etc. There is no way a small kid will not at least be a little creeped out by them. And while the scene isn't insanely graphic, a character does get its head bit off by a sin before being flung out the window. Chances are a four or five-year-old might be afraid, especially if they're sensitive to that kind of thing.
Thankfully, there isn't a ton of swearing or other language. You have to keep in mind that most of the main characters are teenagers, so there may be an "f-bomb" or at one point, the character Freddie gives another character the finger. If you're a parent that swears, chances are your kid has heard worse language at home than they will in Shazam.
A lot of the funniest jokes will likely go over the heads of anyone who is under the age of maybe 12. During his meeting with the wizard version of Shazam, there is a joke about touching the wizard's staff, which understandably sounds graphic. Billy's response, "Gross," is both hilarious and on point, given the request.
Older kids and teens will definitely find Shazam entertaining, even if they're not normally into superhero movies. Usually DC Comics movies tend to be very dark and broody, and Shazam definitely isn't that. Not that it doesn't have some very serious moments, but overall, it's incredibly lighthearted. Because most of the main characters are teenagers, they talk and act like teenagers. When Billy first gets his powers, he calls a woman in her 20s "old" even though she points out, "we're the same age!"
All in all, Shazam is definitely a kid friendly movie, just not the littlest kids in your life. It may be a fun outing to take the older kids to for some special time together. But anyone under 6 or 7 wouldn't really enjoy it.
Check out Shazam starting Friday, April 5th in theaters near you!