Alarm bells started to ring when Warner Bros announced that the Shazam reviews embargo would lift on a Saturday afternoon PST.
Surely this meant that the studio had another DC dud on their hands, and they wanted the response to be released unnoticed.
Well, there was no need to worry. Because critics have reacted uproariously to Shazam, praising it for being a joyous, uplifting and all round hilarious superhero film that’s perfect for kids and adults alike.
While the Guardian’s review felt Shazam only warranted 3 out of 5 stars, it still concluded that the “mash-up of Big and Superman gave the “traditionally dour cinematic universe [a] much-needed jolt of energy.”
Meanwhile, Forbes calls it “electrifying,” Polygon insists it is “pure comic book magic,” Vox describes Shazam as “an unapologetically buyout triumph of a superhero film,” before adding that its “hilariously charming, disarming spirit is its superpower,” and Indiewire even go as far as to call it “one of the most fun superhero movies ever made.”
So far, so good. But what exactly makes Shazam such a worthwhile and enjoyable watch?
Gizmodo explains that while Shazam is a funny enough superhero film what really makes it stand-out is that hidden in this joy is a “movie about the power and importance of foster families.” Variety echoes that sentiment, praising the blockbuster for deftly walking the “line between satire and sincerity.”
AV Club believes that Shazam is at its best when Zachary Levi, who plays the older version of the titular superhero, with Asher Angel the younger Billy Batson, is on screen.
In fact, Levi receives the most praise out of all of the cast, especially for his dynamic with Jack Dylan Grazer, who stars as Freddy Freeman, Billy’s disabled foster brother who is the only person that knows he is Shazam.
Not every aspect of the film is praised. Mark Strong’s villain is labelled weak by most critics, who also acknowledged that its various backstories ultimately burden it, too.
But, clearly, the positive reviews for Shazam far outweigh the negative ones. We’ll get to see if that’s really the case when Shazam is released on April 5.