Movie Review: SHAZAM! (4K UHD Combo Pack)

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment provided me with a free copy of the Blu-ray I reviewed in this Blog Post. The opinions I share are my own.

SHAZAM! is based on comic books published by DC Comics. The movie was directed by David F. Sandberg from a screenplay by Henry Gayden and stars Zachary Levi as the titular DC Super Hero, along with Mark Strong in the role of DC Super-Villain Dr. Thaddeus Sivana and Asher Angel as Billy Batson.Shazam! also stars Jack Dylan Grazer as Billy’s best friend and ultimate superhero enthusiast, Freddy, and Djimon Hounsou as the Wizard. The cast also includes Faithe Herman, Grace Fulton, Ian Chen, Jovan Armand, Marta Milans, Cooper Andrews and John Glover. The music is by Benjamin Wallfisch.

We all have a superhero inside us, it just takes a bit of magic to bring it out. In Billy Batson’s (Asher Angel) case, by shouting out one word—SHAZAM!—this streetwise 14-year-old foster kid can turn into the adult superhero Shazam (Zachary Levi), courtesy of an ancient wizard. Still a kid at heart—inside a ripped, godlike body—Shazam revels in this adult version of himself by doing what any teen would do with superpowers: have fun with them! Can he fly? Does he have X-ray vision? Can he shoot lightning out of his hands? Can he skip his social studies test? Shazam sets out to test the limits of his abilities with the joyful recklessness of a child. But he’ll need to master these powers quickly in order to fight the deadly forces of evil controlled by Dr. Thaddeus Sivana (Mark Strong).

Billy (Asher Angel) is a 14-year old foster kid who’s been in and out of numerous homes but when he gets placed with Victor (Cooper Andrews) and Rosa Vasquez (Marta Milans), a nice couple that runs a group home for orphans. Billy meets Freddy (Jack Dylan Grazer) who ends up becoming his best friend. There’s also Mary (Grace Fulton), Pedro (Jovan Armand), Eugene (Ian Chen) and Darla (Faithe Herman) who live with the Vasquez family. Here’s where things get really crazy for Billy because he ends up having a surprise encounter/summons from Shazam! (Djimon Hounsou), an ancient wizard who’s been searching for someone pure of heart to pass his magical powers on to and Billy is his choice. So, Billy says the word and instantly transforms into his full grown superhero alter-ego (Zachary Levi) but his new super powers take some getting used to and thankfully Freddy is there to help him. The two set out on a fun adventure to see what all the new Shazam! can do.

Of course, with great power comes great responsibility so Billy (and Freddy) have some tough lessons they have to learn along the way. Billy lets it all go to his head for a little while but Freddy isn’t so innocent because he ends up trying to use his friend to gain popularity at school. You see, Freddy gets bullied a lot so he thinks if the other kids at school sees that he knows Shazam! it will change things. What happens is, there’s also Thaddeus Sivana (Mark Strong), who’s already had a run in with the old wizard years earlier, finds his way back to the Rock of Eternity and harnesses the power of the Seven Deadly Sins. The first thing Sivana does is settle an old family score and then he moves on to a battle with Shazam! who’s still learning how to be a superhero. It takes the new hero everything he’s got to battle it out with Sivana and the Seven Deadly Sins but he figures out a way to use the wizard’s old staff to share his powers with his new siblings where they’re able to transform into their own superpowered alter-egos and help defeat the evil super villain.

The packaging comes with a slipcover/0-card. The front features the artwork you see up top and the back includes movie details, some images and list of special features. The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray disc features Dolby Vision HDR that dramatically expands the color palette and contrast range, and uses dynamic metadata to automatically optimize the picture for every screen, frame by frame. The Ultra HD Blu-ray disc also features a Dolby Atmos soundtrack remixed specifically for the home theater environment to place and move audio anywhere in the room, including overhead. To experience Dolby Atmos at home, a Dolby Atmos enabled AV receiver and additional speakers are required, or a Dolby Atmos enabled sound bar; however, Dolby Atmos soundtracks are also fully backward compatible with traditional audio configurations and legacy home entertainment equipment. Each disc is color coded. Inserting the disc, the menu screen was simple and easy to navigate. The picture and sound quality for this upgrade and were crisp and clear. I didn’t have any issues with the video and audio.

Bottom line is, Shazam! ended up being a really fun comic book movie that serves as an origin story for this electrifying comic book character. This movie shows the lighter side of the DCU and is geared more towards the kids and rightfully so because these movies are supposed to be for the younger audience after all. There were a few dark moments but thankfully things didn’t get out of whack and stay that way for too long. Aquaman has some lighter moments but the other DC movies have been kind of on the dark and gritty side, especially the Batman movies. The story for Shazam! was interesting and so were all of the characters. The story deals with handicaps, bullying, friendships and the importance of family. The cast for this one was also spot on and the actors did a great job with these wonderful characters. Zachary Levi does a near perfect job as the immature superhero who goes through some growing pains during his journey of self-discovery and Mark Strong always does a really good job as a villain. There’s a lot of action and all of the special effects for Shazam! looked really good along with the set designs and props. Speaking of set designs, I thought the fun carnival scene at the end of the movie was the perfect setup for the big showdown. David F. Sandberg follows up Lights Out and Annabelle: Creation with a light-hearted departure from the horror genre that has ended up being one of the best DCU movies to come along so far. Shazam! will be available on a 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack (plus Blu-ray and Digital) on July 16th. Remember to watch all the way through the end of the movie because there’s a mid-credit scene and an end-credit scene.

Distributor: Warner Bros. Home Entertainment

Run Time: 132 Minutes

Rated: PG-13

4K UHD Video: 2160p Ultra High-Definition 16X9 Widescreen (2.40:1)

4K UHD Audio: English Dolby Atmos / French and Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1

Blu-ray Video: 1080p High-Definition 16X9 Widescreen (2.40:1)

Blu-ray Audio: English Dolby Atmos / French and Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1

Subtitles: English SDH, French and Spanish

Special features: The extras include an exclusive motion comic, five featurettes that has interviews with some of the cast and crew, sixteen deleted and alternate scenes, a gag reel and a digital copy of the movie.

  • Superhero Hooky: Shazam! Exclusive Motion Comic (04:04)
  • The Magical World of Shazam! (27:09)
  • Super Fun Zac (03:19)
  • Carnival Scene Study (10:23)
  • Shazamily Values (06:06)
  • Who is Shazam? (05:42)
  • Deleted and Alternate Scenes (37:27)
  • Gag Reel (03:16)
  • Digital Copy
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