Early last year, when director David Sandberg’s Shazam! was still filming in Toronto, I got to visit the set with a few other reporters. At the time of our visit, Justice League had only recently been released, and except for Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman, the DC films were dark and not exactly fun.
But that was about to change.
If you’ve seen James Wan’s Aquaman and the trailers for Shazam!, you know DC movies have been going through a bit of a reinvention, with more focus on having a good time in the cinema and less on having every movie connect towards some big event. While some might want DC to mimic the Marvel way of doing things, I’m incredibly excited with the direction of DC, and especially future films like Shazam! and Todd Phillips standalone Joker movie.
Anyway, while on the Shazam! set, I learned a ton about the next DC movie and I’m incredibly confident when I say it’s going to be a huge hit for all involved. Not only do you have Zachary Levi looking like he’s having the time of his life playing a 14-year-old superhero, you’ve got the ultimate wish fulfillment of every kid as the storyline: what would you do if you were given superpowers? On set everyone kept comparing Shazam! to Big with superheroes, which sounded great to me.
With Shazam! arriving in theaters April 5th, I’m finally allowed to talk about what I learned…sort of. I’m still under embargo about a few key things they told us, and it’s due to everyone on set revealing most of the key twists and turns of the movie. It’s one of those tough situations where I want to be able to tell you about more of the movie, but if I did, you might feel like there are no big reveals when you’re in the theater. Just trust me when I say Shazam! looks great and you should definitely be excited to check it out.
If you want to know more, I’ve got almost twenty things to know about the movie below that won’t spoil the film. Saying that, if you want to go in spoiler-free, I’d stop reading know.
Scripted by Henry Gayden (Earth to Echo) from a story by Gayden and Darren Lemk (Goosebumps), Shazam! tells the story of a 14-year-old boy named Billy who, when he shouts the word “SHAZAM!”, can turn into an adult superhero. Asher Angel plays Billy, while Zachary Levi plays the adult Shazam. It breakout Jack Dylan Grazer plays Billy’s best friend Freddy Freeman. Shazam! also stars Djimon Hounsou, Mark Strong, Grace Fulton, Faithe Herman, Ian Chen, Jovan Armand, Cooper Andrews, and Marta Milans.
18 Things to Know:
- Shazam! takes place within the larger DC universe but has its own tone. Shazam! is more fun and more family-centric.
- We’ll see some fun nods to various pieces of the larger DC universe…
- Everyone described the film as Big with superpwers.
- When you have the power of Shazam, you get the wisdom of Solomon, strength of Hercules, stamina of Atlas, power of Zeus, courage of Achilles, and the speed and flight of Mercury… and so this is all encompassed within the one word of “Shazam.”
- The story begins in the 1970s with the Sivana family and being introduced to a young Thaddeus Sivana. Without revealing too much, what happens to him as a young boy has a profound influence on the rest of his life and absolutely shapes his future path.
- When we are introduced to Billy Batson he’s a young kid from Philadelphia who has been skipping from foster home to foster home after being separated from his mom at a young age. He is convinced that his real biological family is out there so he does not need any foster or group home family. When he arrives at a new group home he’s surprised to find they all get along and the ways they all help one another and support the larger group. In the home he meets Freddy (Jack Dylan Grazer), who is the superhero expert. He’s got a replica of a Batarang, Superman memorabilia, and tons of newspaper clippings on his wall. He knows everything there is to know about superheroes.
- When Billy ends up getting the powers of Shazam, since he doesn’t know much about superheroes, he immediately goes to Freddy to help him figure it out. There will be a very fun montage of Freddy and Shazam testing his powers.
- Dr. Sivana and Shazam will have a big fight in a toy store and mall.
- While Shazam! is an action-packed superhero movie, the core of the film is family and what that means.
- We’ll see a lot of nods towards the New 52 comic but the film will also reference the older comics as well.
- For the Doctor Sivana costume, they decided to go a lot different than the comics. In the film, the character, played by Mark Strong, is wealthy and owns a company, Sivana Industries.