‘Shazam!’ Trailer: DC Found Its ‘Ant-Man’

This is not your older brother’s DC Extended Universe tone.
By  · Published on July 21st, 2018

This is not your older brother’s DC Extended Universe tone.

If you thought Wonder Woman gave the DC Extended Universe a breath of brighter air, take a look at Shazam! This is a superhero movie unlike any that DC fans have seen in ages — in live-action feature form, anyway. Seemingly more comedy than comic book blockbuster, Shazam! is obviously inspired by Big and as far as the superhero genre goes, this may be more like Ant-Man than anything in any of the big cinematic universe franchises.

Like Scott Lang in the Ant-Man movies, Shazam is a superhero who is just a kid at heart (and mind and soul and everything else but body, really) who is just shocked and elated that he gets to be a superhero. And Zachary Levi looks like a perfectly goofball actor to be DC’s Paul Rudd. The difference is that Levi’s Shazam isn’t quite as sardonic or, ironically, childish as Rudd’s Ant-Man. But Shazam! has that very light family friendly comical charm.

Check out the first trailer below.

As we see in the trailer, young orphan Billy Batson (Asher Angel) is placed in a new foster home, where he meets his new best friend, the disabled Freddy Freeman (IT‘s Jack Dylan Grazer). After helping the kid deal with some bullies, Billy finds himself transported to another world, where he encounters an old Wizard (Djimon Hounsou). Because of his strength of character, he’s given the powers of Solomon, Hercules, Atlas, Zeus, Achilles and Mercury, which form the acronym SHAZAM.

We don’t see too much of the stakes of Shazam! There’s a minor moment between Shazam and Mark Strong‘s villain, Dr. Thaddeus Sivana where the latter is literally recognized as being “like a bad guy.” And the action is limited mainly to Shazam and Freddy comedically discovering what the newly super-fied┬áBilly can do, including taking down a bunch of convenience store robbers. This movie looks charming and sort of old-fashioned compared to most DC Comics superhero movies, to which it is slightly connected. And that’s wonderful.

Shazam! arrives in theaters on April 5, 2019.

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Christopher Campbell began writing film criticism and covering film festivals for a zine called Read, back when a zine could actually get you Sundance press credentials. He's now a Senior Editor at FSR and the founding editor of our sister site Nonfics. He also regularly contributes to Fandango and Rotten Tomatoes and is the President of the Critics Choice Association's Documentary Branch.