There's A New Superhero On The Block, And It Will Change Your Feelings About DC Comic Movies

There is a new superhero on the block! And this one isn't like the ones that came before him. In Warner Bros. new film Shazam, based on the DC Comics character, Zachary Levi plays the titular superhero. Moms was lucky enough to see an advanced screening of the movie, so here's everything you need to know about your new favorite superhero film.

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." The seven deadly sins have been unleashed on the world, and they need to be sent back to where they can be contained. 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.

Freddie, who is a superhero enthusiast, becomes Billy's "manager," and together they try to figure out what kind of powers the unnamed superhero possesses. Along the way, they go viral with their videos of Billy's feats of strength. They also come up with a bunch of different names, including Captain Sparklefingers and Sir Zaps A-Lot. Eventually, Dr. Sivana, the villain (who's backstory starts the film) finds Billy and is determined to get his powers to truly be the all powerful. Without giving away too much, Billy's foster "siblings" end up proving themselves to truly be his family.

When you think of DC Comics movies, you're likely thinking of the Batman films, or maybe Aquaman or Justice League. They're all fairly dark in tone and nature. Shazam is nowhere near as dark as the movie's that come before it. Yes, it has more serious moments, but overall, you will find yourself laughing way more than you'd expect to at a superhero movie. Even when he's saving the world, Billy is making you laugh.

Unlike most of the previous DC Comics movies, Shazam is really funny. Part of that can be attributed to Zachary Levi's facial expressions, buy a lot of it is the dialogue. Since Billy is still a teenager, he often speaks like one, even as Shazam, which will have you laughing at his reactions to the absolute absurdity of new life. Because he's still a teenager in an adult's body, it leads to some comedy, like when he regrettably calls a woman in her 20s "old," or uses his new adult status to buy beer (which he and Freddie spit out as soon as it hits their mouths) and go into a strip club.

At the heart of the movie though, is the theme of family, both the one you are born into, and the one you choose for yourself. Teenage Billy spends most of the movie searching for the mom he lost. That's why he's run away from his foster homes 24 times, not because he's a bad kid, but because he believes so deeply in his heart that his mother is out there missing him. However, his foster brother Eugene finds his mom and he goes to see her.

In what is definitely the most emotional scene of the film, Billy's mom explains that she was just a teenager when he was born. She was overwhelmed by the overwhelming reality of motherhood at a young age. So when Billy got separated from her during a carnival, she made the difficult decision that her little boy would likely be better with the police. After telling her he has to get back to his real family, something shifts in him, and he believes it.

Billy's foster siblings become is fiercest allies in the last half of the story. Once he makes the realization of them being the souls Shazam's been talking about, they also turn into superheroes. They stick up for him when he needs it the most. Not only do they stand beside him to defeat the bad guy, but they really drive home the point that home is where your heart is, regardless of relationship.

The kids in this movie are wonderful actors. Asher Angel (one of the stars of the Disney Channel show Andi Mac), who plays Billy in his non-superhero form is superb. And Jack Dylan Grazer as Freddie is sweet and funny and dorky all rolled into one. It's no surprise that in his superhero form he's played by Adam Brody, who stole our hearts as sweet, funny dork Seth Cohen on The O.C. years ago. But our favorite is probably Faithe Herman, who plays the littlest foster sibling Darla. She is so cute it hurts.

Honestly, I was unsure of what to expect from Shazam. DC Comics movies don't have the best track record. But Shazam will definitely change your feelings. The movie is light and funny, but it knows how to hit you in just the right ways that will squeeze your heart. And the message of finding your sense of self is wonderful, as is the portrayal that there isn't one true definition of family. The fight scenes were well done and not overly gratuitous, and even though it is a fairly typical superhero story, it still feels fresh and fun. Everyone in the theater applauded at the end of the movie, and for good reason.

Check out #SHAZAM! in theaters Thursday!

Shazam is in wide release on Friday, April 5th.

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