None of us know what we’re doing. Hopefully, we follow our heart, and it leads us in a positive direction. We try not to overthink our options, block the doubt and fear that is forever bobbing at the surface of our conscious, and put one foot in front of the other. As we get older, and the realities of life become our responsibility solely, trusting the heart only gets harder. The appeal of wish-fulfillment fantasies like Big and Shazam! is that they remind us that our flailing has been present since the beginning, but family and friends are a tool we should never dismiss. Those without a support system will suffer. Your parents may fail you, but you need others to get your back and offer you a chance to return the favor.
Young Billy Batson (Asher Angel) is a child absent of love. He’s spent his short life bouncing from one foster home to the next. His only mission is to find the mother he lost, but we know the darkness at the end of that tunnel before he does. Sometimes Mom and Dad are not the family you need. Find the person who asks about your day and attach yourself to their inquiries. They care, dude. Hold onto that.
Billy is well on his way of constructing a hard adult exterior when he lands inside another court-appointed facility. His misery is matched by that of five other children. As hard as he might, he can’t shake their curiosity. Before he can even understand it, Billy finds himself defending fanboy foster brother Freddy (Jack Dylan Grazer) from the local bullies. While in flight from a schoolyard brawl, Billy hitches a ride on a subway car that drops him off at The Rock of Eternity rather than 5th Street. He meets a wizard (Djimon Hounsou). He says his name. He becomes the champion (Zachary Levi).
↓Shazam! Spoilers Below↓
The Wizard spent centuries looking for a person of pure heart. What makes Billy different than any other person on the planet? That is a question that plagues Dr. Thaddeus Sivana (Mark Strong), an old man who was invited to the Rock of Eternity as a child but found temptation in the very real and deadly seven sins. His rejection from that mythological realm poisoned his soul, driving a lifetime obsession to flip the script on the diety that denied him.
Sivana finds his way back to the Rock of Eternity, spits in The Wizard’s face, and takes on the mission of the seven deadly sins. They possess his body granting him strength comparable to that of the Champion and Philadelphia becomes the battleground between two warring ideologies. Age vs. Youth. Mind vs. Heart. Solitude vs. Family.
One boy cannot possibly defend the planet from the seven personifications of sin as well as Sivana’s crotchety wretch of a human. Backup is required. Billy does not need to hog The Wizard’s name for himself. He can share the love and invite his new brothers and sisters to break off a little piece of that sorcery. Together they invoke the magic word and transform into The Shazam Family.
The champions make quick work of Sivana and his sins. Using their vanity against them, Billy teases each sin from Sivana’s vessel. Envy takes a little extra work but mocking his size lights the appropriate fire. Free from their influence, Sivana is a puny weakling. Billy yanks the sinful eye from Sivana’s skull leaving him powerless and returning the deadly seven to their stoned imprisonment within the Rock of Eternity. Philadelphia celebrates The Shazam Family as heroes of pure heart.
The film ends with Billy calling the latest home he’s been placed a true home. He learns that rejection results only in loneliness and acceptance rewards with family. He helps a brother out when he appears in champion form during Freddy’s school lunch hour, and just in case his novelty has worn off, he’s brought a friend – Superman. When and how he found the time to become BFFs with the Man of Steel is a story for a sequel. Cut to credits.
In the first mid-credits sequence, we return to Sivana losing his damn mind within his jail cell. He’s frantically scrawling the magic symbols that originally brought him to the Rock of Eternity. While he’s desperate to discover a new sequence, a robotic voice echoes from the corner of his room. We properly meet Mister Mind, the little caterpillar previously seen trapped inside a glass dome in The Wizard’s Lair. Speaking through a mechanical device on his body, the little creature says, “Oh, what fun we’re going to have together. The Seven Realms are about to be ours.”
Um…wha? Supervillains don’t get much sillier than Mister Mind. He’s an old school bad guy that no one thought Warner Bros. would take seriously. However, those following the recent run of the Shazam! comic book already knows that writer and DCEU executive producer Geoff Johns is determined to keep this creepy crawly canon.
Mister Mind first appeared way back in 1946 within Captain Marvel Adventures #26 (when Fawcett Comics had the rights to the character before selling him to DC Comics and before Marvel stole the name for their purposes). He’s not actually a caterpillar but an alien worm from the planet Venus bent on Earthly domination. He relies on telekinetic abilities to control others and rallied both Nazis and The Monster Society of Evil to battle Billy Batson’s champion persona. The Monster Society of Evil are basically a bargain basement version of the Legion of Doom who are in turn bad guy Justice League wannabes.
In the most recent issues of Shazam!, written by Johns, we learn that there are seven realms of reality and Earth is merely one of them. If we’re to see a sequel, we can guess that it will involve a monstrous team-up between Sivana and Mister Mind as they plot to gain control of these various planes of existence. As Champion, Billy Batson will be forced to quash their diabolical deeds. We’re still waiting to figure out how Black Adam (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson) will mix into these shenanigans (although, we may have caught a glimpse of him during The Wizard’s Shazam history lesson). Could Superman offer assistance?
More likely, based on the second stinger, Billy Batson might find a friend in Aquaman. Here we see Freddy testing the Champion’s abilities to communicate with ocean life, or in this case, a goldfish. Billy ridicules the idea of talking to fish, but Freddy points to his Aquaman t-shirt reminding him that superhero swimmers are totally bodacious and badass. With Warner Bros. looking to branch their franchises out beyond the moody gloom of Zack Snyder’s vision, a Shazam/Aquaman crossover would go a long way in celebrating the joy of superheroes.